Rachel Varga

MA Marital and Family Therapy

Rachel Varga

Manchester, England

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

I began the program in the Fall of 2015 and expect to graduate in the Spring of 2017.

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

I hope to fulflll my hours towards licensure in a hospital setting working wtih people who suffer from severe mental illnesses. I have found myself gravitating more towards this population throughout my studies here at USD and feel like this is the next step for me working towards licensure.

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

I knew I wanted to pursue a Marital and Family Therapy career path and after researching the available programs, USD became my number one choice. The faculty, international experience, and practicum sites all drew me to the program and I could not imagine myself going to graduate school anywhere else. I am very happy and fortunate that it worked out.

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

I am originally from a little town called Oldham in the north of England. I was involved in the arts and theater for many years and attended acting school at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City after high school. After getting married and starting a family, I decided to go back to school at Arizona State and get a BA in psychology, minoring in family and human development. The human experience and condition have alwasy fascinated me and moving into the mental health field from acting became the logical next step for me in my journey through life.

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

I currently attend school and continue to raise my two children who are 13 and 8.

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

As a merit scholar I got the opportunity to work with faculty on various academic projects and the reviewer selection process for The Family Systems and Health Journal. This was a great chance to build relationships with professionals in the mental health field. I also enjoyed reading the various articles submitted for review as this gave me an opportunity to learn about other topics that we do not study in school.

Have you completed an international experience? What did you do?

I recently went to Prague and Vienna for my international experience and had a great time. It was a wonderful chance to get first-hand experience with mental health at an international level. Spending more time with classmates also enhanced this experience.

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

Through the program here, my choice to pursue family therapy as a career has certainly been strengthened. I love looking at the individual through a systematic lens and the training I am getting here just keeps increasing my interest in the family system.

Which class has impacted you the most? Why?

I would have to say the Family Therapy Theories classes have had the most impact so far. Learning about the evolution of family therapy itself is fascinating and I very much enjoy the appreciation that comes with studying the different theories and how they can impact individuals and families.

What are your plans for after graduation? What is your dream job?

After graduation I would like to get a job in a hospital setting working with the severely mentally ill. After I have completed the requirements for licensure my dream job would be to have my own private practice, while also doing volunteer work with the LGBT and severely mentally ill communities.