Health and Wellness Services to host seminar for FHSU couples

Tiger Media Network

Fort Hays State University’s Health and Wellness Services is hosting an educational seminar next week for students who are dating, engaged and married. FHSU Mental Health Counselor Patrick McGinnis will be the primary speaker of the session, offering guidance and resources to couples on campus. 

McGinnis has over 20 years of experience in marriage counseling and said dating today differs from what it was nearly two decades ago. He mentions a wide range of what is considered dating in today’s culture, from the talking stage to friends with benefits. 

“It’s a little clearer for us to talk to couples that say they’re in a committed relationship, engaged or in a marriage,” McGinnis said. “Directing it more towards couples that have already made some commitment makes it easier for us to address communication and expectations in a relationship because some are more clear in the dating world.”

Leading the discussion alongside McGinnis will be Adria Girard, a graduate assistant on the Student Accessibility Services Committee at FHSU, who lists a variety of tactics that can benefit attending couples in the long run.

“Giving people the opportunity to be educated, develop communication skills, setting boundaries, advocating for themselves in their relationship as well as a strong foundation going out of college because it is a tough dating culture,” Girard said.

Other topics planned for discussion include attachment style, healthy habits, and dealing with finances and intimacy issues. McGinnis said the focus of discussions can vary depending on what couples in attendance are struggling with the most.

FHSU student Ariana Garcia has witnessed and experienced unhealthy relationships during her time in college and advises the importance of communication in that stage of life. 

“If you’re worried that you’re significant other isn’t going to spend as much time with you because of school, bring that up before you get upset with them,” Garcia said. “You both need to understand that you have academic goals and it shouldn’t bring conflict into your relationship”

Garcia also warns of long-term consequences for academic careers if certain issues aren’t resolved. Relationship problems she experienced include communication issues, lack of trust, differing goals and pacing of where the relationship is heading. 

Garcia acknowledges the positive impact that seeking guidance had on her by reaching out to others who are also in relationships. 

“We openly talked about similar situations we have been through and what we have done to help ourselves in those settings, then we applied it to our own relationships,” she said.

McGinnis explains the goal of getting couples together is to improve relationships while connecting couples to each other, bringing a sense that nobody is alone in their struggles. 

“Part of what we are at Health and Wellness is to improve health and wellness,” McGinnis said. “We want to improve health and wellness in married, engaged and committed couples.”

The seminar will be at 4:30 p.m. on September 26 on the third floor of Fischli-Wills in the training kitchen. Meetings will continue every other week starting October 6. For more information or to sign up, contact McGinnis at or Girard at