What have you done that you are proud of?
I began the Master of Arts in Counseling program at LMU after almost eighteen years of being a full-time mom to five children. Once my youngest entered kindergarten, I knew I wanted to re-enter the workforce. Although counseling seemed like a complete shift from my undergraduate studies in pre-law, I found that my ability to listen compassionately, understand, and help problem solve transferred quite well into becoming a helping professional. I was more than a little apprehensive about returning to school after such a long absence, but taking the leap and seeing it through, with the support of amazing professors, advisors, and my family, is definitely one of the accomplishments I am most proud of. LMU afforded me the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of well-respected experts in the field and obtain hands-on experiences to prepare me for the workplace.
How has your work made an impact on your community, school, agency, classroom, clients or students?
After earning my M.A. degree and registering as a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern with the Board of Behavioral Sciences, I began working as a therapist at one of Southern California's largest community mental health organizations. In our division, we treat adolescents who have been identified as being either at risk, needing treatment, or recovering from substance use disorders.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates this impact?
Working with adolescents has been both challenging and rewarding. I love that I am able to combine my classroom training with my own experience as a mother to establish a connection with my clients. I realize that my office might be one of the only places where they receive encouragement and praise, so I am conscious of bringing that into every session. It is important to me that I provide an environment where young people feel safe, respected, and not judged. I especially enjoy this population because I know they are at a critical point of development where they truly can go either way and the right guidance can set them in the direction of a healthy and productive adulthood.
My future goal is to have a private practice that specializes in treating teens and adults who are facing addiction and other challenges. I am grateful to have had such an enriching experience studying at LMU, and I am confident that the time I spent there has provided me with lifelong contacts, training, and tools that will help me continue with the mission of "helping others and changing lives."