Emily Kern Hebert
June 8, 2016 | Business
Licensed professional counselors Mary Kathryn Rodrigue and Katie Fetzer are going beyond the office to make a big impact with young women struggling with body image and self-esteem issues.
Rodrigue and Fetzer, co-owners of The Wellness Studio, recently organized workshops for young women in both high school and college to address these issues and others, as well as the challenges that have emerged in an age when social media plays such a large role in their lives. The workshops are intended to empower young women to stop defining themselves by their physical appearance while also encouraging responsible social media usage.
Fetzer and Rodrigue hope more organizations will reach out to them for help.
“So many girls define themselves by their social media accounts,” Fetzer says. “We wanted to give them the tools to make it be something positive.”
The pro-bono presentation to St. Scholastica Academy, an all-girls high school in Covington, was entitled, “Define Your Selfie: A Girl’s Guide To Positive Body Image, Empowerment … And Their Inner Beyoncé.” The counselors teamed up with a photographer, a social media expert and others to be as relevant and credible as possible.
Rodrigue and Fetzer prepared a similar workshop entitled “MISS-guided” for incoming freshmen at LSU’s Tri-Delta sorority. It was so well received that the sorority asked the counselors to present again to the entire chapter.
Initially, Fetzer and Rodrigue planned to offer a “Define Your Selfie” workshop to the sorority. But the counselors later decided to broaden the talk to include advice on finding one’s passion, as well as address some of the obstacles that can derail an individual along life’s journey.
“We’ve always let it happen organically—where the need is, where we can be effective,” Rodrigue says of the presentations.
Social media can impact a young woman’s self-dialogue, Fetzer says. For example, she says, when a friend’s post gets more likes on Facebook, that can affect how a person defines their self-worth or self-esteem.
“Some girls are more mentally strong or healthy, so it may not affect them in that way,” she says. “But it certainly can.”
Rodrigue says one of the goals of the presentations is for young women to be able to look at social media with that awareness in mind. In the presentation to the college-aged women, Fetzer says she and Rodrigue talked about the end of adolescence, changes in family and friend relationships, choosing a college major, entering the workforce after graduation and marriage. Another goal of the presentations is to remove stigmas surrounding mental health issues.
“Things pull you in different directions, and all of a sudden you’re on a dark path,” Fetzer says. “Are you going to major in this because all of your friends are? Are you holding on to a relationship because you’re afraid of letting go?”
Rodrigue and Fetzer also want to give back to the community. The pair enjoys customizing their presentations, and the goal is always to create something meaningful for the audience, Rodrigue says.
“We know as counselors, it’s up to us to get the message out—we’re here to help,” Fetzer says.
For more information, visit The Wellness Studio online at www.surprisinglywell.com.
—Emily Kern Hebert