Upcoming Workshop: Making Friends With Your Body

Hopefully, you’ve started noticing some of the flyers around campus for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week this week. This year’s theme is: “I Had No Idea…”

In my role as a CAPS counselor, I talk to many students who feel like they have “no idea” how to balance their desire for a healthy body image (as well as a healthy body!) with the many competing and mixed messages they get from media, peers, family, and other sources. If that sounds like you, or if you’d just like to get a better perspective on your body image issues in general, CAPS would like to invite you to a fun and interactive workshop this Friday. From the facilitator:

“Making Friends with your Body:  Developing a Healthy Appetite and Image at UCSC”

Facilitated by Susan J. Gulbe Walsh, Ph.D. and Diana Elwyn, MFT

When:  Friday, 2/28, from 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Mural Room at the Health Center
Come join us for a psycho-educational and experiential workshop focused on helping students gain perspective on body image issues.  Expressive arts activities, visualizations, journaling, and lost of handouts will assist us in exploring eating and body image issues, as well as develop an understanding of how these issues relate to the culture at UCSC.

All are welcome. For more information or to request disability related accommodations, please call (831) 459-2628.


The New Normal

When body shame and disordered eating become normal, how do we fight for our health?

As a psychologist who talks with dozens of college students every week, I’m disheartened to see firsthand just how common issues with body image and eating are. Of course, given the immense urgency American culture places on being thin, young, and beautiful, it’s no surprise that these issues cause an immense amount of distress. Among the many questions that I ask students during a first appointment, I always ask “Do you have any concerns about your body image or your eating today?” Frequently, and especially (but definitely not exclusively!) from women, the answer that comes back is, “Yes, but no more than normal.”


We live in a place and time where obsessing about that illusive thigh gap or “perfect” number on the scale has become normal. But in this case, “normal” does not mean “healthy.” Body shame damages our self-image, hurts our relationships and sex lives, and can cause a great deal of mental and emotional suffering. It can keep us from going places and doing things we want to do – like taking a dance class we’ve always wanted to try, or asking out a crush. And of course, body shame is at the root of eating disorders that can cause terrible damage to our health and can even cost lives.    Continue reading

Meet Dr. Julia Ragen, Staff Psychologist

CAPS can’t seem to get rid of Dr. Julia Ragen, who completed her postdoc here last Spring. And we couldn’t be happier!
Julia Ragen, Psy. D.

Julia Ragen, Psy.D.

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC? 

I started at CAPS August 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow…and have pretty much refused to leave.  Lucky for me, CAPS required an interim pair of hands to chip in, and I got to stick around. This year my office is located at Kresge College.  I provide individual, couple and group counseling as well as outreach, consultation, and crisis services. Continue reading

Meet Susie Martinez, Doctoral Intern

As an intern in our APA-accredited program, Susie is in the final stages of her advanced training to become a psychologist, and is only a few short months away from her degree. Not only does she provide CAPS with valuable clinical services, she brings enthusiasm and approachability to our staff, as well as an awesome sense of humor. This week, Meet the CAPS Staff is pleased to feature this fantastic addition to the CAPS team!

CAPS Doctoral Intern

Susie Martinez, MS

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am one of the new faces at CAPS. I am a doctoral intern and I will be working with the UCSC students in individual and group counseling.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is seeing “AHA” moments. I have the amazing privilege of witnessing young students’ moments of, “Wow, I can do this!” or “I am so much greater than I ever gave myself credit for.” It is truly inspiring to see young people motivated and driven to change — bettering themselves and their community.

Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.

I am hoping to become more and more familiar with the campus because I know very little about the cool spots. Same goes for the city of Santa Cruz. Growing up in central Texas I didn’t have easy access to the beach, so being just a few minutes from the beach is pretty amazing. I could definitely get used to it.

What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?

I love to spend time with family and friends when possible. I always say that hugs are my favorite type of self-care. Now that I am away from home it has been difficult to do that, but it means a lot of phone time, Skype, and e-mails. I have now adopted running on the beach…mostly because it makes me seem really health-conscious and “cool” when I tell my Texas friends I run on the beach. Nothing is more relaxing to me than being outdoors on a beautiful sunny day- walking, running, climbing, or just sitting reading a book.

What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?

I wish I knew that I wasn’t the only one. There were several times that I wondered if anyone else was experiencing the same doubts, home sickness, fear, anxiety, etc. I wish I had known that many of us were probably in the same boat.