Welcome to the Wellness Center


The first thing I’ve noticed each time I’ve stepped into the Wellness Center on the NVU-Johnson campus is the quiet, an intentional hush offset only by the white noise of the sound machines which line the halls and protect the privacy of students meeting with counselors behind closed doors. The second thing that always strikes me is how comfortable I feel there, just wandering open rooms, like the Relaxation Room and the Light Therapy Room. In my experience, the Wellness Center is an incredible tool to reduce stress, combat that familiar collegiate feeling of being overwhelmed, and connect to a therapeutic network. If you have not yet been to the Wellness Center, you might be wondering what you should expect if you go, and how you can best make use of their array of services. The following will hopefully provide you with most of the information you need.

Located in the lower level of Senators South, the Wellness Center might be best known for the counseling services they provide. Kathleen McCarthy, Director of the Center, shares that around 15 percent of the total student population currently engages in counseling there. The staff, which includes two professional licensed clinicians and three graduate clinical counseling interns, offers a variety of consultation and counseling services. Stress management and wellness consultations are available, as well as individual, couple, and group counseling are among the confidential and free services offered. If you are interested in scheduling a time to meet with a counselor, you can call the Wellness Center at 802.635.1265. Initial appointments are 25 minutes long and consecutive appointments last 45 minutes.

Calling to set up an appointment is not your only option. The Wellness Center offers walk-in hours Monday through Friday. During these hours you can walk-in without calling ahead and have a 25-minute appointment with the first available counselor. These walk-in visits can be used for anything you like: a one-time chat for an emergency need, a check-in about something you’ve discussed before, to set up counseling for the future, or something else.

When you walk in during these hours you will be greeted by the receptionist at the front door. If you need to wait before speaking to someone the waiting room has truly comfortable couches and chairs and a slightly bohemian vibe, which is helpful in tamping down any anxiety that might flare up before a therapy session. The walk-in hours are Monday 11-12, Tuesday 11-12 and 1-2, Wednesday 11-12 and 1-2, Thursday 11-12 and 1-2 and Friday 11-12. Of course, counseling services aren’t all that you can find at the Wellness Center. I strongly encourage you to check out their Relaxation and Light Therapy Rooms, which need no appointment. In these rooms, you can find an assortment of relaxing sounds, sights, and tools including aromatherapy, Himalayan salt lamps, sand trays, meditations, and art therapy along with some others.

There is also light therapy (an incredible asset during the wintertime in Vermont, especially for those who live with seasonal depression and other mood disorders) and biofeedback, a highly effective, research-based treatment for anxiety and stress. All of these tools are left out to explore at your own pace of discovery. No one is watching to make sure you do it right, though there are people down the hall if you want some help. You are free to move from one thing to the next until you find what works for you, or until your curiosity is satisfied. The seating is comfortable, the art on the walls is intriguing, and there are pamphlets on just about every wellness and health topic one might easily think of. Oh, and condoms. There are lots of condoms.

In addition to all of this, the Wellness Center also offers regular visits from a therapy dog, just for snuggles. Those visits, along with upcoming workshops and presentations are announced on their Facebook page which can be found under “Northern Vermont University – Johnson Wellness Center.”

If you haven’t yet made the time to explore our on-campus Wellness Center, make a date with yourself to do so. If you feel more comfortable, bring a friend. Infuse the beginning of this semester with some exploration of new self-care modalities, and bring a little peace and warmth into the middle of what is now a long and cold winter.
Remember, the Center is staffed Monday through Friday while classes are in session. You can reach them by phone at 802.635.1265, and walk-in hours for counseling are Monday 11-12, Tuesday 11-12 and 1-2, Wednesday 11-12, and 1-2, Thursday 11-12 and 1-2, and Friday 11-12.