These past few weeks at Northwestern have been heavy, laden with grief, confusion and pain. These feelings can be difficult to navigate, but NW offers resources and people to help, including Dr. Sally Edman, director of counseling services.
As a psychologist on campus, Edman and the rest of the Wellness Center staff provide a wide array of services to students who have emotional or relational concerns.
Individual therapy is one way Edman reaches out and connects with students. There’s not always an immediate fix to a student’s problem, but Edman’s job is to learn their story, walk with them through their pain and offer ways to help them cope with the situation.
“[Individual therapy] is a process of getting to know someone’s problem area but also learning enough about who they are and the circumstances of their life so we can work together in looking for ways to improve the situation,” Edman said. “Depending on the problem, we can really get it fixed up, while other situations involve diving into how best the situation can be handled.”
Outside of spending one-on-one time with students, Edman speaks at various Ngage events and in chapel. Overall, her goal is to be a light on campus and in the lives of the many students she interacts with.
Edman also helps students with their anxiety regarding an academic path – something she has personally experienced.
She went into college with an undeclared major and took classes in a variety of subjects. After two years, she decided on psychology.
As she was finishing her bachelor’s degree, she realized that she truly loved the study of psychology and wanted to pursue a master’s degree and Ph.D. in that field.
Even though it took longer than she had hoped, Edman found a field she felt passionate about and one where she could clearly make a difference. She knows what it feels like to not have a clear path in mind and feels a lot of grace for students who can relate.
Edman recognizes three areas of her job that she enjoys most: hearing people’s stories, breaking down a problem and adhering to NW’s mission.
When hearing people’s stories, she appreciates every student’s unique path in life.
“I love getting to know Northwestern students and hearing about their lives because everybody’s path is so different,” Edman said. “I think that’s a real gift that they share their stories with me.”
When helping students break down a problem, her analytical side starts to reveal itself. There is something about untangling a situation alongside a student that gives her a sense of satisfaction.
Lastly, Edman loves her job because she genuinely admires NW’s mission.
“We are kind of unusual as a Christian college that is faithful to the Gospel, takes a high view of scripture, but isn’t scared to ask questions,” Edman said.
She really appreciates being part of a team with a mission that she can get behind wholeheartedly. Making students a priority in a faith-based atmosphere is something that Edman values, and it is something that NW proudly offers.
If students are interested in further getting to know Edman or would appreciate looking into her counseling services, they can find her office in the Wellness Center of the Rowenhorst Student Center.