What first interested you in counseling psychology?
- I can recall my time in high school was when I first started gaining interest in mental health care. I was raised in a very small community and there was a considerable amount of negative ideas about counseling and mental illness. Due to this, I was interested in learning more about mental illnesses and the stigma that was so prevalent in my community.
What did you learn in your undergraduate career that contributed to your current knowledge?
- I cannot say enough good things about my time at UWGB.
- I majored in Psychology but also studied Public Administration emphasizing in Nonprofit Management. I had this unique balance of learning about the human experience and how to navigate the public and nonprofit sectors. I recall taking a counseling class with Dr. Vespia that first had me thinking about pursuing the profession. I think my undergraduate education really set a solid foundation for my master’s in many different ways.
- I learned how to advocate for myself and ask for help when I needed it which proved to be extremely beneficial in graduate school. As I think a little deeper, during my time in Green Bay I came to understand the importance of community. I still take that with me today.
- Not only relying on other counselors and mental health professionals for support, but being knowledgeable about community resources. I’m in this field to help and if I can’t directly help someone, I want to point them in a direction of where they can receive that help. This was instilled in a lot of different areas through my undergraduate education.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring counseling psychologists?
- Ask questions and make connections! Reach out to counselors and other professionals, ask about their grad school experiences, what they like or dislike about their job, what they wish they had known going into it.
- One thing to know is that it’s a long process. After two years in graduate school, there’s an additional two years before you’re licensed – and that can be a tricky space to navigate. It’s worth it, but it’s tricky.
- Although it can be challenging in many different ways, being a therapist is such a beautiful gift. I share a space with someone who opens up and allows me to hear their story, their struggles, their triumphs. I am continually reminded of the determination and resilience of humans – and that is a really wonderful thing.
For more information specifically on Graduate School see what advice Gretchen has about graduate school related to counseling psychology.