Refuge Center to share healing messages via virtual event

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Through its upcoming Live Intentionally speaker series, the Refuge Center for Counseling hopes to help ground the community during a time when many are experiencing increased anxiety. 

For the fourth annual event, set for next week, guests will be able to listen to three speakers discuss this year’s topics from different perspectives and angles.  

Amy Alexander, the executive director of the center, said that the team decided on the theme well before the COVID-19 outbreak but that it is more pertinent now than ever. 

“There came a point in time when we realized there was no way that this was going to be an event that we held in person,” she said. “We looked at delaying it and all those options, but the content felt so timely and so critical and essential that we thought we’ve got to figure out from a technology perspective how to still deliver this information to this community in the month of April.” 

As the Refuge Center team brainstormed options, it decided it will send the recorded event, featuring the same speakers covering the same topics, to those who have registered while allowing participants to engage with the content safely from their homes. 

“We already had over 250 folks signed up, so we really were like, ‘Well, these people are hungry for it,’” said Katherine Hofstetter, the center’s director of development. “We’re hoping that offering a virtual venue will even open it up to folks who wouldn’t have been able to come otherwise.” 

The two said that the goal of this free annual event is to educate and connect with the public and give back to a community that has poured much into the Refuge Center’s mission for 15 years. 

The event will feature Michael Brody-Waite, Dr. Trillion Small and Jenny Black. Brody-Waite, a CEO, entrepreneur and author, will speak about his background of overcoming addiction. On his website, he encourages listeners to “practice rigorous authenticity,” “surrender the outcome” and “do uncomfortable work” to “live mask-free.” 

Small, who teaches in the behavioral and brain sciences department at the University of Texas at Dallas, will share a message on overcoming the fear of love. Black, the founder of Media Trauma Care, will encourage listeners to spend a little less time behind a screen in the name of mental health. 

“Last year, our theme was healing through connection after trauma, and this year, we really felt a hunger for people wanting to have more tools, have more education around life after loss, after trauma, after suffering,” Hofstetter said. 

Alexander said she also hopes that this event will help spread the word that the Refuge Center is still open and accepting new clients during this difficult time. She said that the center has seen an increase in patients with anxiety and depression and wants those suffering in physical isolation to know that they don’t have to remain in emotional isolation. 

“We really consider ourselves to be on the emotional frontlines,” she said. “This is an emotional emergency room to some degree, so it’s tremendously important to us that we continue to be accessible and we remove every barrier that would prevent someone from being able to access counseling services.” 

The Refuge Center counsels on a sliding, income-based scale, offering services ranging from $25 to $120 per session and welcomes anyone in Tennessee who feels like they are outside their window of tolerance. 

For more about the organization, visit RefugeCenter.org. Live Intentionally will be emailed to registered parties the morning of April 17. While the event is free, the organization suggests a $30 donation to fund one counseling session for someone in need. Sign up for the event at refugecenter.org/liveintentionally2020.

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