Feb 022011
Authors: Jason Pohl

The wine was poured, the lights were dimmed and the candles were lit. Romance was in the air, sort of.
The 70 people in the Prospect Hilton’s ballroom were in for a treat Wednesday evening, when CSU Psychologist Dr. Michele Faris delivered a comedic presentation on a serious subject: relationships.

“We are all connected,” she explained. “Every day we are connected through the chairs we sit in and the roads we drive on. Don’t forget that.”

The CSU Alumni Association organized the presentation as part of their Spotlight CSU program that highlights new innovations and programs on campus.

For some in attendance, this was a much-needed effort to prevent yet another lonely Valentine’s Day, drinking at one of Fort Collins’ countless bars. For others, it was a chance to see how they stack up to other couples in town.

Though most of those in attendance were students that had long graduated, the topic was still relevant. And although most of the 29-slide presentation dealt with the topic of marriage, the concepts still directly affect students.

“Don’t cling,” said Faris, who has practiced psychology for more than 25 years and is currently a full-time senior staff member for the CSU Health Network. “Respecting individuality is one of the biggest things I see problems with every day among students and adults.”

This became a constant theme throughout the hour-long presentation. She was adamant about students living their own lives and getting over those “You-complete-me moments.”

Additionally, resolving conflicts as opposed to letting them build in the same circular patterns is critical, she said. Otherwise that normally preventable blow up can and will happen.

Faris reiterated that couples need to “Solve solvable problems.”

When asked what the biggest take-home message of the evening should be, Faris simply said “gratitude.”

She went on to explain the concept of Naikan, a Japanese word that can be loosely translated into self-reflection. Faris explained that to achieve gratitude, people must ask themselves three important questions: “What have I received from others? What have I given to others? What troubles and difficulties have a caused?”

Faris and followers of the Naikan method believe this is the way to truly boost happiness and ultimately gratitude.
Those in attendance were not only entertained because of the very animated stories Faris told but also because of the real-life aspect it had.

“It was fun to compare what she is saying to what I actually encounter in my day-to-day life,” said Joanne Towers, a 25-year-old biomedical sciences master’s student.

Staff writer Jason Pohl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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