True Colors® Tips

True Colors Column Crop

Counseling and Mental Heath Center Staff: Marian Trattner, Kelsey Lammy and Katy Redd

“What is your color spectrum?” is a phrase we often hear at the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC). This question often opens up a conversation between new staff members or enhances understanding among established colleagues.

The Division adopted True Colors® at a time when CMHC was undergoing a transformation in student involvement. Historically, we had only our Student Advisory Committee, which was just one way for students to get involved with prevention and outreach. Over the years, however, it became apparent that there was a student-driven need for more opportunities. We decided to offer a course for academic credit and at the same time created a CMHC-sponsored student organization. With more students involved in our work, we quickly realized the need for a common language among our student volunteers. True Colors® is our go-to way for our student volunteers to get to know themselves and others.

Here are a few tips that we’ve learned along the way:

  • Do a True Colors® training early: True Colors® creates such rich conversations, we found it helpful to do the training as early as possible when we get started with a new group.
  • Reframing activity: We found it helpful to include a conversation about reframing in our trainings. It helps to avoid stereotypes and helps us realize that our differences can strengthen us as a group.
  • Keep the conversation going: We try to sprinkle True Colors® throughout the year—during student organization meetings or class sessions. Opening the meeting with a question such as “Let’s talk about how you called upon your blue some time this week” can be a great way to keep the True Colors® conversation going. It also helps us remember that we are a spectrum.

Katy Redd
Assistant Director for Prevention and Outreach
Counseling and Mental Health Center