Editor’s Note: at the time of publication, Dan Paredes was serving as interim director of the University Counseling Center. He is currently the Assistant Director of Clinical Services.

This week we’re doubling your Meet A Deac pleasure. Longtime readers of the Daily Deac know I am a big fan of self-care and making sure you are attending to your emotional wellbeing. As such, I’m an unabashed fan of the University Counseling Center. Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Dan Paredes of the UCC.

Dan Paredes of the University Counseling CenterThanks again for doing this, Dan. Tell me your title and how long you’ve been at Wake.
Interim Director, University Counseling Center. I’ve been at Wake about five years.

I know we share a grad school in common in the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, but I am not sure about the rest of your educational journey…?
For undergrad I went to the University of California at San Diego; I was a psychology major with a history minor. I got my doctorate at UNC-Greensboro in counseling and counselor education.

So what is your role in the UCC (in normal times)?
I manage a team of therapists who provide direct clinical service to all students, engage in prevention/capacity building, train future therapists, and provide special support to claimants and respondents in Title IX cases. I also maintain a small clinical caseload of my own.

Talk to me about how COVID has changed your work. What are some of the challenges?
The transition to telehealth was a big one, as well as staying abreast of regulatory limitations; this has been a major focal point since March. We have had to find ways to continue to deliver mental health care in a safe way. And not having an answer for how long we need to tolerate the discomfort-grief-loneliness of COVID has certainly been a huge challenge.

What do you miss most about normal times on campus?
Seeing students milling about; random times where I’d get a shout-out from a student while I was on my way to a meeting elsewhere on campus.

If you happened to meet a student milling about and had an opportunity to offer them advice, what would that be?
There is a pocket of social support for most everybody – and it will evolve. The same people that you turn to at the beginning of your time at Wake might not be the same core of friends when you graduate.

As a counselor, you know better than I do that families play an integral role in their students’ experiences. What advice would you give family members if they asked?
Invite your student to branch out from campus (in COVID-appropriate ways of course). We have wonderful outdoor activities (hiking, biking, running, fishing, hunting); arts and music; and interesting places to visit once travel is safer (Asheville comes to mind).

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
As trite as it might sound, the people. I love working with folks who are dedicated and creative in implementing best practices to support our students.

Now we’ve arrived at the quick-hit, lightning round questions:

The Great Influenza book coverBooks you’re reading now: The Great Influenza by John Barry and The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik album coverFavorite band or musician: Jack Johnson, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite movies: The Hunt for Red October, Field of Dreams

Websites you frequent: reuters.com, economist.com, chronicle.com, thedrive.com, bringatrailer.com, espn.com

Introvert or extrovert: introvert

What is the first thing you will do post-pandemic when we can live normal lives again? Visit extended family.

I always love these questions, because now I know some new things about you (I had no idea you are a car person!). Thanks for being willing to share yourself with us in Meet A Deac!

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

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