Tamar Cassell

MA Counseling, specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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

Post-graduation, I plan to begin my hours of supervision to get licensed as a mental health counselor in the state of California. It is my goal to work in smaller community agencies that specialize in mood disorders. After I obtain licensure, it is my dream to open a private practice, while also consulting at hospitals and conducting group therapy with children and adolescents. 

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

I started the program Fall 2014, and will graduate Spring 2017. 

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

Originally, I heard about SOLES through an Internet search of CACREP accredited counseling programs. I was attracted to the international component of the program and how the coursework and practicum were structured over a three-year period. After I was accepted, I visited San Diego for the first time and observed a positive psychology course and research group. The students were extremely welcoming, and were also really passionate about the course material and the interventions and research that they were working on. When I left that weekend, I knew that SOLES was the program for me, and I could not be happier with my decision. 

What is your background? For example, where are you from, where else have you earned a degree, and where have you worked?

I earned my BA in Psychology from American University in Washington, D.C. During my undergraduate studies, I volunteered at a psychiatric hospital nearby, and was also an online hotline volunteer and advocate for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). After graduation, I began working at a non-profit organization for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in D.C. These experiences and opportunities were extremely fulfilling in different ways, and solidified my desire to pursue a career in counseling. 

Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time or part-time, and what do you do?

I am currently working part-time, and also volunteering once a week. In my part-time position, I dog walk and pet sit for a woman in the Navy. I also volunteer for Center for Community Solutions (CCS), a non-profit social service agency that specializes in preventing and healing domestic violence and sexual assault. With CCS, I answer incoming hotline phone calls, and also volunteer in one of their residential shelters for domestic violence survivors. 

How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?

In each of my classes thus far, there has been a strong emphasis on multicultural counseling and diversity. This aspect of my SOLES education has taught me how to be an effective counselor when working with all different populations, and that not every therapeutic approach will work with every client. Furthermore, the community of SOLES is also very diverse, and I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to learn about other cultures and perspectives through my colleagues, classmates, and professors. 

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

Be willing to take risks. I was terrified to move across the country without friends or family nearby, but the network that I found within SOLES and the San Diego community has been extremely supportive and uplifting, and I feel as though I’ve truly been able to grow as a person in the short period of time that I’ve been here. I look forward to what lies ahead!