CAPS virtual healing session pillows the mind

By Gustavo Castillo, Feb. 9, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona’s Counseling and Psychological Services hosted its first virtual event of the semester, “Rest is a Radical Practice,” on Jan. 25. As part of the semester-long “Healing Spaces” series, the program aims to offer support by helping the campus community feel cared for and mentally restored.

According to CAPS Director Nancy Robles, the program’s main goal is “to provide students, faculty and staff with trauma-informed and culturally affirming healing spaces that foster resilience, rejuvenation, well-being and self and community care.”

The virtual healing spaces are also intended to help students cope with ethnic and racial trauma, pandemic-related stress, anxiety, depression and lack of rest. Although the program is not considered to be therapy, the therapeutic activities from the event can significantly benefit students’ overall well-being, according to Robles.

To improve the quality of the series, CAPS collaborated with an external partner that provides expert facilitators specializing in trauma-informed yoga movement and meditation.

With an option to keep cameras on or off, host La Shonda Coleman, associate dean of student affairs at Pepperdine University and expert in restful healing, welcomed students into the meditation session where they were encouraged to focus on their bodies’ need for rest.

With soft drumbeats and bells playing in the background alongside the host’s calm demeanor, the event demonstrated a peaceful transition from meditating to practicing mindfulness to journaling.

Participant Maria Ruiz, an educational opportunity program counselor, shared that she has not been sleeping well and wanted to participate in the event to seek tips to practice.

“The facilitator’s suggestion to journal was perfect timing because I did get to finish journaling and write down affirmations that I will look to when I need a reminder in weeks to come,” Ruiz said. “My overall experience was very good. Going into it, I told myself to just listen and breathe to focus on what was going to be said. I appreciated the calm voice and positive direction the facilitator provided.”

Similarly, Mizuki Takahashi, a fourth-year architecture student, attended the session to practice self-care amid the pandemic.

“I decided to attend because my major can be demanding and stressful at times. I had a very busy lifestyle until the pandemic hit,” Takahashi said. “Now that I have more time than usual, I decided to focus on myself and get the care I have been needing for years.”

As part of its telehealth mental health services, CAPS is offering the virtual healing sessions from 7 to 7:45 p.m., purposely scheduled to end the day on a positive note.

For more information on the “Healing Spaces” series, visit the myBar events page or its website at

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