Healthy mind, body, and soul

New small groups provide insight and conversation about healthy self-care

The Walla Walla University Counseling and Testing Center has started two new self-care small groups this year, one for women and one for men. The groups are lead by Michelle Naden, director of the WWU Counseling and Testing Center, and Troy Davis, WWU counselor. Naden leads a group in the women’s residence hall with Kate Ruud, women’s residence hall chaplain,  and Mary Million, master of social work student. Davis leads a group in the men’s residence hall with Zach Hoffer, men’s residence hall chaplain, and Nicolas LeClair, master of social work student.

Each group meets once each week. The meetings start with one of the leaders introducing a theme, however meetings are organized in such a way that participants can share and discuss other insights together as well.

Naden said while there were many reasons the Counseling and Testing Center staff were inspired to start groups particularly for the purpose of learning healthy self-care, one key reason was the large number of students seeking help at the Counseling Center last year. Naden said that facilitating a group session that was easily accessible for students was also a priority.

“One of the primary goals,” Naden said, “is to cultivate connection.” Naden and Davis both said that anxiety and depression is a lot more widespread than people often realize, and they see benefits for students to learn skills together in a community that they can use down the road.

“We introduce several ways of responding to stress with self-care,” Naden said. The groups discuss and practice different techniques to calm both the brain and body. One important factor in these self-care groups is that they are meant not only to provide healthy skills that students can use their whole life, but they are also meant to be fun and engaging.

Davis said that the group he leads has been discussing how self-care doesn’t necessarily mean only taking care of ourselves, but how it often means practicing gratitude and looking out for others.

If students missed signing up for a group during fall quarter, it is not too late. The self-care groups start fresh every quarter. To learn more or to sign up for next quarter, contact Naden or Davis at the Counseling and Testing Center.

Posted Nov. 15, 2018

A male student walks across campus on a fall day.
Part of healthy self-care is being as kind to yourself as you are to others.