Lara Touckley

MA Counseling, specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?

Right after I graduate, I hope to work in a hospital setting or an NGO, then move to an agency. When I’m well established and financially capable, I plan on having a private practice. I am interested in working with children and/or at risk youth for now, however I am open to other possibilities. Wherever I end up working and whomever I end up working with, my primary goal is to help guide people as best I can. 

When did you begin your program, and when do you anticipate completing it?

I began my program fall 2014 and will graduate spring 2017. 

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

I was browsing the Internet, searching for Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs in specific states and came across SOLES. As soon as I saw the website, I fell in love. Not only is the campus gorgeous, but also the program itself allows for self-development in many various areas. As one of my professors said, “We offer you a buffet of knowledge, you try a little bit of everything but then it’s your job to go back for more.” And so far, I give this restaurant a five-star rating.

Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?

Since I’m interested in working with children in the future, I volunteered at an institute where I looked after some children for a couple of hours a week. Additionally, I volunteered in some events held by the San Diego Center for Children and Polinsky Children’s Center. I’m constantly looking at different opportunities for involvement. I’m hoping that I can get experience working with other populations in order to broaden my horizons and get a feel for what working with various clients might be like. Additionally, recently, I took on a project with Dr. Ronn Johnson, helping him in one of his research projects.

Which class has impacted you the most? Why?

All of the courses I’ve taken thus far have impacted me as a future counselor. However, I found Human Development with Dr. Erika Cameron very eye opening. The course itself might have been the reason for that, but Dr. Cameron’s classes were filled with activities and journal reflections that definitely aided my self-development. By the end of the course I found myself making connections and became much more aware of myself and how I came to be who I am today.

Are there specific SOLES faculty, staff or administrators you feel have contributed significantly to your success? How have they helped?

There are several faculty members who I feel have contributed much to my academic success. Dr. Ann Garland, my academic advisor, has always been available to answer my questions. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has been more than happy to answer my questions and include me in conference and research opportunities.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students?

Professors want you to understand and do well. The more interested you are in the subject, the more dedicated you will be and the better you will do. And if you’re uncertain about what population you want to work with or where you want to work post-graduation, then rest assure - you're not the only one! To some extent we’re all a little unsure, but that’s why it’s important to volunteer and get involved - to determine for yourself what suits you best.