Andriana Hench - TFS ‘06 - Counselor at Tandem Friends
What are you doing these days? I have my masters in Counseling and work for the Emergency Services Team at Region Ten in Charlottesville. We man the phones 24/7 for emergencies and provide support, consultations, hospital evaluations and make recommendations about involuntary treatment. We also provide crisis counseling. Often when people are in crisis things usually aren’t going well, so they are open to considering change. I love working with people at such a raw time when they might be ready to examine whether it's time to make a shift. I also work part time as a counselor at Tandem.
Any connections to your time at Tandem Friends? Well, I did my Sophomore Seminar in psychotherapy and religion, and then I dove in a little deeper with my Senior Project, which was working with VIVA on Peer Education and a program for addressing Sexual Assault and Dating Violence, so absolutely.
It feels really good to be back on campus, but as a different, better version of myself. I have a lot of memories of what it was like to be a student, which should be incredibly useful for working here as a counselor. There's an overlap of being a counselor and an alum. I can see how Tandem shaped who I am today, taught me to be flexible, tolerate the grey area, and listen to my inner voice. I use all of that now as a counselor both at Tandem, and in the community.
What do you see are the opportunities for our community of having a school counselor on campus? I think for students to know its okay to talk about what’s going on for them, and having designated people with whom to talk—and people who have training to provide appropriate support. I want to give students the vocabulary to talk about what is going on for them and how to advocate for themselves. And, I want to minimize stigma around mental health issues.