MA Counseling, specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?
Once I graduate I plan to start the 3,000 licensing hours towards being a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). I want to work with infants and children ages 0-5; parents with prenatal or postnatal anxiety, stress and mood disorders; and parenting classes. With the ever-changing environment we live in, there is a breakdown of support systems. I want to work with these populations to promote optimal development, healthy living and assist in overcoming stigma and building coping mechanisms to deal with life’s pressures.
When did you begin your program, and when do you anticipate completing it?
I started the program Fall 2014, and I anticipate finishing it Summer 2017. As an international student I need to keep up my full-time status, taking the full-time track.
How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?
I did a lot of research on master’s in counseling programs which prepares students for the LPCC. SOLES kept coming up as a great quality program with amazing professors. SOLES really cares about students and their career endeavors!
What is your background? For example, where are you from, where else have you earned a degree, and where have you worked?
My background is non-traditional. I graduated with a BA in Classical Studies from the University of Reading in the UK in 2009; I then worked in London in the merchandising department of a luxury fashion brand. After a few years, I decided that I wanted to work with people, empowering them to achieve optimal well being. So I set about changing my career path by completing a one-year post baccalaureate certificate program at UC Berkeley. I also used this time to gain a wide variety of volunteering experiences (from children to seniors and everything in between) to find out what populations I was interested in working with. Once I had completed my certificate I applied for the CMHC program at USD.
Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time or part-time, and what do you do?
I volunteer weekly at a pre-school to get first-hand experience and really be immersed in the development of young children (both typical and atypical development). I was selected (1 out of 100) across the US to volunteer at the American Counseling Association Conference and Exposition in Orlando, FL in March 2015. It is my first conference and I am very excited to be able to volunteer! On the weekends I take Play Therapy classes, as I want to tailor my training to the populations I'm interested in working with in the future. I am also the first year CMHC representative for the SOLES Graduate Student Association (SGSA), which is a great resource for SOLES students. The SGSA unites SOLES students and also connects with the greater USD campus, building connections and a sense of community.
How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?
I did not think it would be possible to learn so much in six months. My classes and professors have been fantastic! SOLES has impacted my career goals by giving me the best education possible to be able to pursue licensure as a professional clinical counselor. My professors have continuing real-world experiences, which makes them fascinating to learn from as we know we are getting up-to-date learning and training from the field. Additionally, we have the opportunity to work on research projects and attend conferences and trainings for professional development. SOLES also has guest speakers that come to talk to us about the field of counseling and what to expect once we graduate.