Life After the Program
Gwyn Fallbrooke, CMHC Graduate, 2015
A little more than a year after graduating from the CMHC track in the Counseling department, I find myself finally arriving at the career destination I had been envisioning for the past twelve years. At the beginning of my second year in the SSU Counseling Program, I began a two-year traineeship/internship at the Women’s Therapy Center in Berkeley. In September 2016 I graduated from that program and began a private practice internship in the East Bay.
I continue to feel grateful for how deeply and consistently supported I felt by the faculty and my classmates during the program, especially given that I was working 20-30 hours a week in addition to commuting from Berkeley to attend school full time. The program’s rigorous demands were mitigated, in my case, by a stellar cohort who ranged widely in age and experience, yet came to the program with a touching earnestness that allowed us to risk and grow together in ways I have rarely encountered in other academic settings. The core faculty also showed an astounding devotion to their students. Structurally, I could not have asked for a more thoughtful and supportive introduction to clinical work than the program’s sequence of experiential courses. The respect and encouragement I felt throughout my two years at SSU contributed enormously to helping me develop the courage to launch into this profession.
Currently I’m working full-time in my private practice internship, having just left the day job that supported me through graduate school and my first internship year. I work from a relational psychodynamic orientation that is also informed by intersectional feminist, somatic, mindfulness, and transpersonal perspectives as well as an emphasis on social justice. My practice focuses on serving clients who identify as queer, trans/gender-nonconforming, sexual outsiders (poly/kink/BDSM), and POC (people of color). SSU’s program gave me a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for building my areas of expertise, as well as a great deal of encouragement in finding my place within the profession.
Gina Barsanti, CMHC Graduate, 2015
Sonoma State’s MA in Counseling, CMHC program has greatly shaped me into the therapist that I am growing into every single day. The supportive nature of the faculty and the close-knit cohort model truly allowed me to be vulnerable, supported, and challenged throughout my education. Not only did I grow as a clinician, but also as a friend, family member and partner. The skills you develop in this program will stay with you throughout your career and more importantly throughout your personal life and relationships. I am currently working as a MFT/PCC Intern at the Child Parent Institute in Santa Rosa. CPI provides counseling to low-income children, teens and their families. During my second-year in the program, I did my Traineeship at Petaluma City Schools providing non-directive Play Therapy to students K-6. During this year, I developed a passion for working with children and I feel very fortunate that I was able to continue following that passion post-graduation at CPI. My future career goal is to be a licensed clinician providing services in schools as well as opening a private practice. Thanks to the Sonoma State Counseling Program, I feel prepared and excited to continue to grow, be challenged, and be impacted by the amazing individuals and families we come across along the way.
CMHC Gradute, 2014
As a student who enrolled in the Masters in Counseling program at Sonoma State not even three months after finishing undergrad, I was still in those late, frontal-lobe forming years and was unsure of how I was going to use my degree. I knew I wanted to continue my education within the realm of Psychology, and going to school was something I had done my entire life. I may not have gone down the "traditional" path of a post-MA in Counseling student, but the MFT/LPCC program at SSU has given me an invaluable skillset.
My original plan coming into the MFT/LPCC program was to graduate with my degree, complete my training hours and help those who battle addiction through safe pregnancies. Throughout my time in the program, my interests shifted and I reconnected with my passion for the intersection between Psychology and Law. During the later part of SSU's MA program, I applied for and was accepted into a traineeship/internship at a local police agency where I assisted with their Diversion Program for first-time juvenile offenders. I enjoyed the experience for many reasons, but during my second year at the placement, I began to feel distance from my work.
One of the best things the MA in Counseling program gave me was the opportunity to grow personally and to do so in a safe environment surrounded by a supportive cohort and collective of instructors. It was because of this
environment that I was able to identify the internal struggle I felt during my internship at the police department. I knew something wasn't right, I wasn't on the right path for me; I highly doubt I would have been able to recognize this without the personal and professional development I gained over two years in the MA in Counseling program.
I graduated and completed my MA in Counseling degree in Spring of 2014. By Spring of 2015 I was sworn in as Deputy for a local law enforcement agency. Like I said, not the "typical" path. However, without my extensive training in Mental Health Counseling and educational background in Psychology, my job would be exponentially more difficult. It's not uncommon knowledge that law enforcement interacts with mental health on an increasingly regular basis in our country. I honestly believe that more individuals in the field of law enforcement need to come from the "atypical" path I emerged into my career from. I owe a great deal to the MA in Counseling program at SSU: to the instructors who gave me an invaluable knowledge bank that keeps me safe on the job and also allows me to keep others safe; to the cohort that supported me through not only two years of sweat, tears and hard work, but also through a scary transition to a different field of work; and to the mental health staff on campus that helped cultivate the person I grew to be over the course of the MA program.
Clearly, I feel I've gained a lot in life because of my involvement in SSU's MA in Counseling program. The only thing I would have liked to have heard long before graduation was that it's okay if you graduate with this wonderful degree and don't become a therapist right away. Or maybe you don't become a therapist until 20 years after you graduate as a second career. Or maybe you take knowledge as power, never become a therapist, but do other amazing things in the world as an agent of change with your degree. SSU's MA in Counseling program hasn't made me a great therapist (yet?), but it's provided me with the skillset to do my job with pride, compassion and a healthy appreciation for the ability to manage group dynamics!
Megan McClelland, PPS Graduate, 2013
My experience in the Masters in Counseling Program at Sonoma State University was wonderful! I enjoyed all of my classes, peers, and professors so much and feel I was given all the tools and resources to be successful as a school counselor. The professors were always available in person, by phone or email when consultation was needed and helped with advising on challenging situations. I was given the opportunity to practice the things that I used at my school sites during my various internships. Many of the classes directly related to the work that I am doing now.
I started my career at San Rafael High School which was an amazing experience and taught me even more on being a high school counselor. I had the opportunity to work with many different populations – including newcomers, special education students, and high achieving students and participated in many parent night events. I am currently in my third year as Lead High School counselor at Petaluma High School. I love my current site, counseling team, and overall school culture and spirit! High school counseling is my dream career and I have Sonoma State University to thank for that! Christopher Bowers, CMHC, 2012
I graduated the SSU Masters in Counseling program 4 years ago. The internship I had with SOS counseling led me to working for Sonoma County Behavioral Health on the Mobile Support Team, a team of counselors who respond with law enforcement to calls involving people having a mental health crisis. Several months later I was transferred to the Community Intervention Program at SCBH where I was placed at several services agencies in the community to be available for mental health assessment and intervention. The ability to be in the community and not have to hope the client shows at the office reaffirmed my belief that must “meet people where they are at”, sometimes literally. I gained important experience in working with people with severe and persistent mental health struggles. This experience serves me in my current position as social worker on an HIV medical team at West County Health Centers.
Since graduation I’ve realized that I’ve learned far more through work and volunteer experiences as well as my own research than I learned in the program. The program gave me a familiar nomenclature, a cultural currency of sorts, to be able to work in the field of community mental health. It did not however teach me what to do when a client struggles for his very life against an addiction to methamphetamines. Nor did it teach me how to respond emotionally to a client committing suicide or another client threatening to kill me. Nor did it teach me what to do when socio-political forces create a housing crisis that leave me completely unable to do the job I’ve been asked to do (help people find housing). There is great value in these experiences. I feel I am becoming a better clinician while also learning the limitations of the field. So much of what this work involves is socially determined and the lives of the people we work with are not simply products of good or bad choices, but also consequences of economic policy, trauma, racism and beauracratic institutionalism. In order for me to feel good about the work I do, I have found I must continue to go beyond the simple individual appointments and assessments and call into question the very institutions designed to help us. I have found that his takes a continued hunger for learning, a humility to adjust my practices to what I learn, and the audacity to question what is considered “normal” or even “beneficial”.
I have also found that things taught in the program come to life once working. For example, the emphasis in the program on self-care and boundaries has become a central meditation in my daily work. People need help. And sometimes that need can reach deep into you and burrow. You can feel their need in your sleep, in your exhaustion, in eager, well-meaning heart. And then on top of that, the institutional barriers to getting that help also exhaust and hurt you, as privileged as you are to be in the position of helper and not in need yourself. Until you are in need of help. I have found that I do need help to get through this difficult work. I need the same love and support, flexibility and kindness that I am expected to give to clients. Without getting that, what have I got to give?
Patricia Ann Clark, MFT Graduate, 2013
My two years in grad school at Sonoma State were among the most exciting years of my life. I learned from some of the best and brightest professors, and their lessons continue to guide me in my clinical work. As an older student coming to the program in midlife after a lengthy first career, I had been apprehensive that I wouldn’t fit in or be accepted by students or faculty. However, nothing was further from the truth. If anything, the opposite was true and I felt that the extra life experience I brought to the table was appreciated and respected. Early in the program I realized that I wanted to work with trauma survivors blending seemingly contradictory cognitive-behavioral and Narrative therapy interventions, and at every step my goals and my approach were honored and supported by my adviser and my professors. The program’s stance wasn’t, “This is how we are going to mold you,” it was more like, “Tell us what kind of clinician you want to be so we can give you the tools you need to get there.” I’m now in my 4th year as an MFT Intern with a local agency, continuing to work with trauma survivors and continuing to build on the learning I acquired and skills I developed as a student. I’ve passed my first licensing exam and should complete my hours in 2017. The journey hasn’t always been easy but it has always been rewarding. I love my new career! Applying to Sonoma State’s counseling program to pursue my dream of becoming a therapist stands as the best life decision I ever made.
Will Wysocki, MFT Graduate, 2012
I reflect upon my educational experience and training in the Counseling Department at SSU with the utmost sentiment and fond memories. I can't believe it's been four years since I graduated from the Program! I couldn't imagine being where I am today, as a pre-doctoral counseling psychology intern at a Big Ten school, without paying homage to the outstanding training I received studying under the faculty and staff in SSU's Counseling Department. The relationships I developed with faculty at SSU have been unparalleled in my overall career as a student and new professional. I found the faculty to be highly engaged and supportive even throughout my struggles to feel confident and competent. While I took the long road to pursuing a doctorate in counseling psychology, by first entering the terminal Master of Arts in Counseling (Marriage and Family Therapy) Program at SSU, I would not trade my time at SSU for that of a direct admit doctoral program. The Faculty's support provided me with the developmental mentorship to build my confidence as a new and rather shaky trainee. The confidence I developed as a result of the relationships I had with faculty enabled me to believe in myself, both personally and professionally, which led me to construct new goals from my shifting sense of self. I would be remiss to fail to acknowledge what I gained from my training in the Department as my time at SSU was the cornerstone to my development as a practitioner-scholar.
Brad La Bass, MFT Graduate, 2010
I was fortunate to have spent 2 years in the SSU Counseling Departments MFT program. Being in a cohort of other students who were hilariously funny, caring, and selfless helped make things much easier than they actually were. Since graduating from Sonoma State’s Masters in counseling program in 2010, I have accomplished more than I could have imagined. After graduation I continued to work as a Caseworker at Hanna Boys Center as an Intern, all the while watching my 3000 hours dwindle down to zero left. In 2012, I was graciously asked by SSU Professor Julie Shulman to assist on a recurring basis in her Couples class. People who I know in that class still give me grief when I see them about how bad a client I was. I became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in May 2013, something I really never thought would happen. Without the support of my family, colleagues, and all the professors in the Counseling program, none of this would be possible. In 2015 I became the Admissions Director at Hanna Boys Center, and continue expand my abilities to help the families and clients I see. Over the past year I have been trained in Trauma Informed practices by Dr. Robert Macy, which has been a tremendous experience. I am also in the process of being certified in EMDR under the supervision of Dr. Roger Solomon. I thank all the SSU Professors for their dedication to helping me navigate to where I am today. Don’t forget to take care of yourself first!
Brian Jensen, MFT Graduate, 1999
I began attending the Counseling Department at Sonoma State University after first attending another graduate program that I was disappointed in. The Counseling Department at Sonoma State University not only provided a first class education in the field of Counseling, but it also provided an extremely solid experiential foundation to become a counselor! I learned how to be present with many different people and their experiences that they had brought. Additionally, my peers were just a delight to work with, developing some lifelong friendships, growing as a person, and the professors have remained favorites of mine!
After graduating the Counseling Department in 1999, I was hired as a Counselor at the College of Marin, blending Academic, Career, and Personal Counseling with students. In the Community College System, Counselors are members of the faculty, and at the time I was hired at College of Marin there were five counselors on staff who were graduates of the SSU Counseling Department! Also, taking core courses (as an MFT student, then known as MFCC), with PPS fellow peers, helped me to understand school environments, working with populations and the public, plus institutional policies and procedures, another enormous benefit; I became fully prepared to work in the Community College System.
I continued on with my studies, completing a Ph.D. in Psychology in 2003 and receiving my MFT license that same year. Two years later, I became a full-time Counselor for Columbia College in Sonora, CA, near Yosemite, and became a tenured faculty member in 2009. I work primarily with students in our EOPS Program, Disabled Students program, and Veterans,
and teach Guidance and Psychology courses. However, my heart also lies in working with clients in Private Practice since 2003. My main emphasis or focus is on Trauma and Grief, as well as general concerns and challenges.
During my experience in the Counseling Department, I learned that the program was accredited by a special accreditation known as CACREP. Graduating from a CACREP accredited program allowed me to sit for the National Counseling Certification, which was in the works towards developing a National License. Eventually, I took a very brief Gap Exam and became licensed as a Professional Clinical Counselor. Now, I feel so fortunate to be in a position to pass on the wonderful mentoring that I received from SSU, supervising an outstanding Intern from a fellow California State University, Counseling program (Stanislaus) who is becoming an LPCC and Community College Counselor.
Finally, words cannot describe the enormous gratitude that I have for the Counseling Department, but here goes: if it wasn't for the first class educational and experiential foundations, and even more important personal growth that I received in the Counseling Department at Sonoma State University, I would not have developed the skills necessary to work in a College setting, become a licensed therapist, or continue on with my education!
Scott Laskey, PPS Graduate, 2009
This has been an incredible year. I feel insanely lucky to be where I am today (currently on summer vacation in Taiwan). I of course would not be here without the help of my friends, family, and those who have purposely or incidentally guided me down this path.
So first and foremost, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and take the leap into the unknown. Over the past year I have felt fear, excitement, loneliness, pride, growth, and incredible joy. The people I have encountered have made this a priceless experience. I have met some amazing teachers in Dubai who have opened my eyes to the endless opportunities while working abroad. I have met many magical children who day in and day out were able to put a smile on my face. The diversity of both the staff and students is unlike anywhere else on the planet. We have over 70 nationalities represented at Dubai American Academy! They have taught me a great deal, not only in the professional arena, but also on a personal level. I have done things and gone places that I had never dreamt of before. Oh the places you’ll go is absolutely correct. Greece, Oman, Spain, France, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Thailand, Taiwan – check, check, check. Ride a camel, dune bashing, see the tallest and second tallest buildings in the world, snowboard in an indoor ski resort, go to the World Cup, go on an African safari, wrestle with lion cubs – check, check, check. How can someone do this on a teacher’s salary? Insane!
One of my best friends in Dubai left Canada for Taiwan 11 years ago after he finished college. He wanted to travel abroad and hoped that teaching English would fund his travels. With no credential, no money, and no contract, he set out into the unknown. Like me, it was very difficult at first. Feeling homesick and a bit nervous that maybe I made a mistake in taking that leap of faith. Having to adjust to the different climate, customs, faux pas, and not knowing where to go to buy specific things can be pretty draining. However, after a few months go by, a rhythm develops. Confidence builds and suddenly I am no longer an outcast, but someone who is able to go with the flow along with everyone else. A foreign country is no longer foreign. It feels comfortable. It begins to be known as a home away from home. My friend spent ten years teaching English to children and adults in Taiwan. He fell in love with the country, the people, and the friends that surrounded him. When he knew that he needed a change, he set out for a new adventure in Dubai. He just finished his first year teaching grade 3 and now has his teaching credential and Master’s in Education. Teaching abroad is truly a gift.
When I first came to Dubai I was not quite sure I would make it. I felt young, inexperienced, osolated, and a bit naive. In completing my first year as a professional, I feel wiser, more confident, and excited for what lays ahead. Oh the place you'll go!
Manisha Hall, PPS Graduate, 2007
With handing in the last assignments, completing finals, internship hours, and the much rehearsed presentations, a sense of relief and great exhaustion takes over my entire self. The reality of officially obtaining graduate status from the Masters Program in Counseling, here at SSU, quickly sinks in.
My original plan of attack was to get an internship within a district in which I could later see myself working, and in the end, this had worked to my advantage. To my relief, upon graduation I could relax throughout the entire summer, knowing that I had a job in place for the upcoming school year of '07-'08.
While working at Sonoma Valley High, I have come to realize how my internship experiences have guided me in successfully transitioning into my role as a High School Counselor, with much confidence and vision for the direction in which I wish to tread. In attempting to follow the ASCA model, while aligning myself with the overall school mission, I find myself with much energy, and enthusiasm, which my colleagues, administrators, parents, and students alike thrive.
I truly know that I have a gift to offer, the gift of a mentor, a knowledgeable resource, and a heart of gold. I sincerely care about each and every one of my students, and in them I see characteristics that exemplify vulnerability yet strength; uncertainty yet underlying goals, which for many have yet to be discovered; lost, yet many will eventually find themselves, within the larger population; a will, hope and vision of their individual future endeavors. I am so grateful, and honored to be a part of their lives, to witness such transitions, and to be able to guide my students toward their individual successes. Going to work, each and every day, is a delight as I know that I have the potential, and opportunity to aid in such changes. I have arrived!
Matt Eustice, PPS Graduate, 2007
The Masters in Counseling Program at Sonoma State University has provided me with multiple employment opportunities. Through this program, I gained a firm base of knowledge to build upon. I created a working portfolio, which helped me secure a position at a local high school.
I also developed the skills necessary to adapt to the complex environment of a school setting. I appreciated the opportunity to network and collaborate with others in the field. My current success is greatly due to the experiences I had in graduate school.
Darci Kosmal, MFT Graduate, 2007
I always enjoyed being a grad student in the Counseling Department, but I didn't realize how much the program meant to me until I hear myself boasting about "my counseling program" and why it was/is so great. Maybe I am biased, but I do feel it was a perfect fit for me.
I think with the supporting faculty and the coolest fellow grad students around, I was able to create a nice little bubble to survive some of the difficult grad school moments. I had to compartmentalize my life to survive my crazy schedule, and this little bubble turned out to be my refuge in many ways.
Because I had already had an educational background, I thought to apply for the PPS degree, but I decided to apply for the MFT program. I thought the MFT would provide more job opportunities, and if not, maybe it would serve as some form of personal therapy (there is something therapeutic about this experience, in some odd way). I eventually graduated and did find many new encouraging job opportunities, however they all believed in a ridiculous work schedule. I needed to return to the educational work force and enjoy a saner, European work style (aka summer vacation). Most American institutions have this crazy idea of two weeks vacation or maybe three if you have some seniority, so I began remembering why I initially wanted a PPS degree. Perhaps I am of an odd species who really enjoyed my previous high school teaching experience, so my new plan was to be a high school counselor. Some schools want the official PPS, but a MFT-oriented degree may suffice for some school settings, and some experience always helps. I found the job I was looking for, and I am happy to say that I am still very pleased with all the decisions I have made thus far.
Point of story, I felt very prepared for the job market with our curriculum and internship experiences, and I have a job that utilizes the knowledge I attained and the experiences I was witness to. If I could do it commuting from the east bay to SSU, pregnant and eventually parenting three kids, and working part time, you can too. Sometimes (ok, many times) I felt as though I was flailing about, but it must've worked, because I think I made it to where I was hoping to land. Suerte con todo!
Dylan Ross, MFT Graduate, 2006
Prior to beginning my studies in the Masters in Counseling program at Sonoma State University, I was working in a social work-related capacity with high-risk youth in a wilderness setting. Here I learned that if I was going to be effective in my work then I would require the clinical skills necessary to address the special needs of populations similar to this.
My two-year experience in the Masters in Counseling at Sonoma State provided me with the clinical training that I needed to continue my work as a therapist in the healing profession. Sonoma State's program is unique with its small class size, its dedicated faculty, and its holistic approach to treating the whole person. The cohort of students that shared in my training experience, coupled with my professors challenged me to develop both personally and professionally. One of the program's many gifts is its community.The program's milieu provided a safe and supportive environment where I developed as a therapist. The friendships I made with my fellow peers and now colleagues, continue to fuel me as I work in the community.
Since graduating in 2006 I have gained a position working for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco within their Chemical Dependency Recovery Program. Here I work with a high level of acuteness and often with dually diagnosed individuals. I call upon my skills gained at Sonoma State daily, providing crisis counseling, individual and group therapy to chemically dependent individuals. While working as a professional in this field I continue to meet others who have also attended the Masters in Counseling program at Sonoma State University. I am often am struck by the unique demeanor of a fellow graduate. The therapists that this program helps develop and individuals that it attracts are compassionate, hold a holistic approach to their work, and are dedicated to the healing profession. I am grateful for the learning experience that I had while in the program and would recommend it to anyone interested in this rewarding field.
Emilie Cate, MFT Graduate, 2004
My original career goals as a student in the Masters in Counseling (Marriage and Family Therapy program) were to become a licenced MFT and private practitioner after graduation in 2004. However, as I continued to take classes and talk with my professors in the Counseling Department, I discovered a strong interest in the integration of academic theory and research into practice and intervention.
Relatively quickly, my goals expanded beyond practitioner training to include doctoral study and hopefully a university-based academic and counseling career. With superior mentorship and guidance from the faculty at SSU, I applied to doctoral programs. I am about to enter my fourth year in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at the University of Oregon. In this time, I have completed several additional years of practicum training; fulfilled additional course requirements that supplement my education at SSU; been involved as a research assistant on several projects; presented at several national conferences; and I will be completing my dissertation research on adoption and transracial adoption issues in counselor training programs. I am also currently employed as an instructor and supervisor of undergraduate students at the University of Oregon, and a crisis counselor at our local community college. In two years I will earn my Ph.D., and although it has been hard work, I am endlessly grateful for the training and mentorship I received at SSU. I often reflect on how well the quality of education, training and mentorship prepared me to pursue a doctoral degree and a future career as a licensed psychologist.
Matt Moore, PPS Graduate, 2004
The Masters in Counseling Program at Sonoma gave me the opportunity to develop professional relationships with future colleagues, exposed me to the breadth of professional experience available in the field of counseling, and helped me to hone in on my ideal professional environment.
Now in my fourth year as a high school counselor at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, I am very much enjoying the dynamic and always-challenging nature of my position; whether facilitating student-teacher communication, working with administration to address systemic concerns/deficits, helping individual students with the travails of adolescence, working with administration and parents to bring in much-needed programs, advising parents about preparation for college or other post-secondary options (ad infinitum!), I feel very satisfied with my decision to become a school counselor, and with the preparation afforded me by the faculty at Sonoma.
Anne Marie Sebastiani, PPS Graduate, 2003
Life after SSU program for me includes working as a school counselor in a dual immersion elementary school here in Sonoma. I was hired full time in 2004 and implemented/ran a comprehensive counseling program. I took time off in 2005 because of pregnancy and having twin babies- who are now 20 months.
I worked half the year in 2006 as a high school counselor under ab1802. It was a very cool experience because it's completely different than elementary school. This year (2007/2008) I decided to only work 2 days a week back at my original site- Flowery Elementary, and continue strengthening the counseling program. I job share w/another counselor and it's perfect for my life situation right now, b/c I want to be with my kids but keep my foot in the counseling/educational world. I would love any students to observe me/my school too!
Zoe Lockert, MA, MFTI MFT Graduate, 2003
I graduated from Sonoma State University in 2003 with my Master's in Counseling. I am raising four sons. It was challenging studying around them during graduate school. One of my sons attended the preschool on-site at SSU which was a gift for me as a student.
The pre-school made it easier to go to school and complete my internship hours at Sutter VNA & Hospice. Since my graduation, I have been earning my MFT Hours in a private practice setting.
Currently, I specialize in infertility counseling and infant and pregnancy loss in my private practice. I facilitate a support group for couples participating in IVF treatment for infertility and provide individual support for couples in my private practice as well. People going through the challenges of infertility can be very isolated and having a place to talk about their feelings can help alleviate some of the pain and anxiety regarding treatment choices.
I also work with couples seeking ovum donation. Choosing to build a family by using egg donation needs careful consideration as well as time to explore the many issues and feelings involved in this decision. Egg donation can be a wonderful option for many families. I provide a supportive environment that allows recipients and donors to explore a fuller range of the feelings and issues regarding this hopeful, but complex family building option.
Brian Jensen, MFT Graduate, 1999
I began my studies in the Counseling Department in 1997, after first attending another graduate school, which I was very disappointed in. The Counseling Department at Sonoma state University provided me with not only a first class education in the field of counseling, but it also provided me with a solid experiential foundation to be a counselor!
I learned how to be present with many different people and the situations that they brought.
In addition, my peers were just a pleasure to spend time with, building some life long friendships, and there are some instructors who have remained favorites of mine. Currently, I work as a community college counselor and Instructor (at the community college level, counselors are faculty) teaching course in Effective Study Habits, Group Process, and Alternative Therapies. I work with students for academic, career, or personal situations, and I enjoy the combination. Also, five of the counselors on our staff graduated the Counseling Department at SSU.I plan to take my oral exams for my MFT license in Oct 2002 and open a private practice at the beginning of next year. The areas I focus on are Somatics (mind-body connection), Sandplay therapy and Bereavement, especially for people who have lost loved one to suicide.
In addition, I continued on in my education and have just about completed my dissertation for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Finally, if it wasn't for the first class educational and experiential foundation that I received in the counseling department at Sonoma State University, I would not have developed the skills necessary to work in a college setting, attain a psychotherapist license or continue on with my education.
Jo Anne Bressick, Graduated May, 2001
I look back and think, "I can't believe that I really went to school to do school counseling and I am actually doing it! Life after the Counseling program is really stimulating and sometimes lonely.
Going through the program was fun, social and hard work. There was so much support and a sense of cameraderie I doubt I will find in the workplace! That is not to discount the benefits of the real work. There's the paycheck and the professional status, there's personal growth and partnership with fellow workers. But, I can't help thinking that even with all that good stuff there is a part of me that would still love to be sitting in an unattractive looking room, eating and talking with people I have learned so much from, people I have so very much in common with. I will always miss a part of what I had during the Grad program. Working as an elementary school counselor feels different than I thought it would. As I said to someone earlier this week, "there is no way anyone could ever get bored or tired of doing this work, it holds variety and balance. There are very serious moments mixed with very silly moments. I am so utterly gratified when I see improvement in people's situations and very frustrated when I don't. This type of work is so me! I waited a long time to be able to say that.