Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Bunch takes on new role as director of Counseling and Disability Services

Monday, February 18, 2019
University photo

Janice Bunch has been in the Cape Girardeau area since 2006 to pursue her goal of being a university counselor to help students to succeed and grow, especially those of a lower social status.

Bunch, a native northern Missouri, graduated in 2005 from Truman State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 2008, she received a master’s degree in community counseling from Southeast Missouri State University.

Once she received her masters, she worked for the Community Counseling Center, a community mental health center, in Cape Girardeau. There she started as a counselor and crisis worker, rotating between the two positions each week, she said. Soon after, she became an office director at the same health center, which allowed her to travel to towns in the surrounding area.

Bunch then joined the community support department at the Gibson Recovery Center, in Cape Girardeau.

She said she assisted them in developing community support while working as a community support supervisor and also as the clinic director of one of their residential programs and facilities.

Eventually, she began to work as the outpatient director, running locations in Perryville, Marble Hill, Sikeston, Charleston and Cape Girardeau.

While working at Gibson Recovery Center, she also made time to be an adjunct instructor at SEMO in the psychology department in Fall 2018. She has returned to campus as the new director of Counseling and Disability Services and as an adjunct instructor teaching drugs and behavior class this semester.

She began her duties Jan. 22 and she has hit the ground running, integrating her ideas to best support SEMO students and staff.

“I really am glad that I got to come from an outside perspective. I have been able to bring different tools and techniques that we've used,” Bunch said. “One of them is our waitlist management, I've already worked with our support staff on looking at our waitlist, finding better ways to manage it so that we can get more students in for our services.”

Bunch has a background in substance abuse treatment, which was key for the administration when working on the mental health wellness initiative.

“Being that the campus has had substance- abuse issues periodically, I feel having that background is very helpful,” Bunch said. “It allows for new ideas as counselors to connect with students doing different treatment approaches that have not been done in traditional counseling, like motivational interviewing and finding different ways to connect with students at risk.”

Another aspect of her focus for the Counseling and Disability Services is to connect more with various departments on campus and be able to take the outreach we have already and expand them to build better relationships with professors and students.

She also has plans to work with Residence Life, specifically with resident assistants. She wants to help them identify mental health problems in students and how to respond as an RA while not becoming overly involved and keeping their own mental health in check, she said.

“I’ve talked with Kendra Skinner [director of Residence Life] a lot about different ideas, training and techniques that I can bring in and share with her staff,” Bunch said.

She has done several training presentations throughout her career.

“I have presented at various conferences on different substance or subjects such as self-medicating through marijuana use,” Bunch said. “I've done a lot of presentations on motivating students, motivating clients who are struggling but also simple things like self-care and ethics and boundaries. So my hope is to be able to bring that training aspect in and to share my knowledge as well as continue to grow from everyone around me.”