Kelsey Menehan found her way to Saybrook University through the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM). Kelsey completed her education and training to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. She then began working with cancer patients and the families of kids with cancer. Shortly into her career she began wondering what else she could offer to ease the suffering of families and individuals undergoing cancer treatment. Kelsey has always been interested in spirituality, and perhaps that is a hint of what attracted her to the CMBM.
While Kelsey can’t recall the exact path that led her to the CMBM 19 years ago, she was the among the first group of people to be trained in the center’s Mind-Body Skills Group model. At that time the CMBM was in the inaugural phases of development and Kelsey was invited to become a faculty member. She began to train other professionals to use the model in their settings, while continuing to lead her own mind-body skills groups.
Kelsey is a member of the CMBM Global Trauma Relief team and has led mind-body skills groups in Kosovo, Israel, and Gaza, experiences that led to deep personal transformation. While working in post-war zones and teaching people skills to transcend the violence that they experienced, Kelsey felt pushed to the edge of her comfort zone—but in a good way. It was during the international trips that she came to understand her capacity to release her own needs for the good of another person. Kelsey learned to be in the present moment for others who are suffering, a great insight into uncovering the depth of her capacity for love.
Kelsey reflects that she is grateful to have found the CMBM because she enjoys being among kindred spirits who share the passion for mind-body medicine. Kelsey’s ability to walk into the present with another person is an asset when mentoring students at Saybrook School of Mind Body Medicine.
Kelsey also loves to sing. She has participated in choruses in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, her current home, and has gone on two choral tours in Europe. Singing is a mind-body skill that has attracted much research, and she is currently gathering those findings for a special magazine issue on “Singing and Wellness” for Chorus America, the association of choral groups in the US. Kelsey notes that current research shows that singing enhances the immune response and is beneficial for people with an array of specific illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and stroke. She commented on her love of music: “The overall impact of choral singing for me is—joy!”
Kelsey’s current professional endeavors include collaborating with another CMBM training graduate in leading mind-body skills groups for women post-cancer treatment and in training volunteers — at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Oakland, Calif. The Women’s Center’s mission is to create opportunities for women with cancer to improve their quality of life through education, supportive services and practical assistance.
In addition, Kelsey is interesting in developing mind-body skills retreats for people who do not have access to this type of help. Although she does not yet have a plan, Kelsey is dedicated to finding a way to reach marginalized groups.
Kelsey is currently mentoring five master’s students for the School of Mind-Body Medicine, each with diverse interests and passions. She assists these students to plan their academic course sequences, but also to uncover and create their paths in life. The depth of her skills and experience are sure to be an asset to the Saybrook community.