Local therapist addresses student mental health during club meeting

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Courtesy of Donna Chapman

Interact club officers pose with Dr. Sandy Heinsz (second from left). She presented on the topic of student mental health, along with prosocial ways to deal with negative situations.

Adaleigh Weber, Staff Writer

Last week, the Starr’s Mill High School’s Interact Club hosted their second meeting with guest speaker and psychologist Dr. Sandy Heinsz.

“I’m not a public speaker, but I thought the topic of happiness was important,” Heinsz said. 

Heinsz talked about the adolescent age and how teenager’s brains are changing, so everything around them is changing along with them, including their personality, friend groups, relationships, and interests. She also gave advice on how to deal with negative thoughts and doubtful situations. 

“I think that students are surrounded with suicide prevention and the dark side of the profession, so I wanted to talk about something a bit more positive,” Heinsz said.

Heinsz earned a PhD in clinical psychology and trained as a child psychologist. She then went into private practice for her career as a therapist. She also worked with many outside organizations, including NATO and military personnel. 

“I used to work in children’s homes and shelters for runaway and abused children,” Heinsz said. “Gradually, I started working more with adults.”

I do know that I can work as a healing agent with them, and to encourage them to find their own strengths.”

— Dr. Sandy Heinsz

Currently, she owns an office in Peachtree City and is welcome to speak privately with individuals who are struggling mentally and seek happiness. 

“I’m trained as a humanistic psychologist, which is all about teaching people to find their own strengths, to define their values in a prosocial way, to use your voice to speak up even if someone is going to change their opinions or not,” Heinsz said. “You have an obligation to voice your opinion, and it’s all about taking responsibility for your life and directing it yourself, and making positive choices.”

Although the popular assumption about therapists is that they find their client experiences sad, Heinsz feels otherwise. 

“I’m in private practice, so I see 8-10 clients a day, and I’m extremely ADHD and I don’t medicate, so I actually find listening to people’s stories and processing with them incredibly stimulating,” Heinsz said.

Heinsz enjoys talking through and helping people find their strengths and happiness in order to feel fulfilled in their lives.  

“It’s an incredibly rewarding job,” Heinsz said. “People ask me all the time if it’s really sad, and I work with a lot of people in terrible situations, but I do know that I can work as a healing agent with them, and to encourage them to find their own strengths.”

Although Heinsz has never spoken for a school organization before, she enjoyed speaking with the students that attended the club meeting. 

“Talking with teenagers is exciting because this age group is already working towards something bigger than themselves and I find that very inspiring,” Heinsz said. “I feel like during COVID, a lot of people became very alienated, so little things like this seem very small, but they are attempts to reconnect the world and to take responsibility and to be active.”

Other Interact Club business included discussing community service opportunities, and any career interests that members are interested in. The club meets again at 8 a.m. on October 21 in room 643.