MSU's Counseling and Psychiatric Services, or CAPS, created a monthly program celebrating women and femmes of color to provide space where expression is encouraged, discussed, and uplifted. This program, called Replenish, is not a source of therapy, but can serve as such through discussions, relationships and support.
“It’s a space where you’re not graded, not prepared, and to just be yourself," CAPS psychologist Yvonne Connelly said. "That is the beauty of it. We have a specific topic, but we touch on it and it depends on the groups needs. We also have lunch so we have time to talk and literally take the mask off to eat. We also use expressive art in terms of vision boards and yoga.”
Replenish has three more events this semester on Feb. 17, March 17 and April 14. Every event falls on a Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Connelly helped create the Replenish program with fellow psychologists Markie Silverman, Olivia Scott and Jessica Mitchell-Corsino.
“We started this base because all of us are passionate about creating more inclusive spaces that center belonging and community care amongst marginalized groups,” Scott said. “On a personal note, just realizing a lot of these spaces didn’t exist in my institution when I was in undergrad and grad school. So, just noticing the lack (of spaces) and the need, which is a big piece of why I wanted to be a part of this.”
Replenish holds discussions about specific care an individual needs and other topics like mental health, relationship, beauty standards, culture and more. Silverman said meetings are flexible and participants might practice self-compassion, movement, expression through art, relationships and empowerment.
“We have fun together and join in great conversations together,” Silverman said. “We’re not stuck to one particular topic. We open up the conversation for whatever thinks is relevant or prevalent at the moment. Some people have described it as being able to take a mask off or low pressure to code-switch as a person of color. It is a time to authentically be yourself, engage in dialogue, laugh, and connect with each other.”