Hometown: Seattle, WA
Degree: MS in Marriage and Family Therapy
During my junior year as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I decided to embark on a mission trip to Jerusalem to work in a rehabilitation center for children. As a pre-medicine student, I was expecting the trip to draw me toward the children’s physical ailments, but instead it clarified my passion for psychology. Struck by the relationships between the mothers and their children who had physical limitations, I decided to finish a degree in psychology and pursue a career in mental health therapy.
In the search for a graduate school, SPU’s MS in Marriage and Family Therapy program kept piquing my interest. The program’s systems approach attracted me; the method of understanding people resonated deeply within my own belief system. After meeting with professors, observing a class, and speaking with alumni about their experiences, I decided that I would enroll in the program.
In conjunction with my studies, I was able to take part in clinical internships that helped me discover what groups of people I felt called to help. As a collegiate athlete at the University of Washington, I had struggled with an eating disorder. Consequentially, I was cautious about helping those who were struggling with food and body concerns. Ultimately, these clinical internships offered me confidence in my full recovery, and I was able to realize the incredible impact I could have on young people who were struggling with something I could relate to.
Additionally, the students and faculty I came into contact with in the program have had a lasting impression on me. Dr. William Collins’ authenticity was refreshing, and I could feel that he was deeply invested in my academic career. The professors motivate students to approach their own experiences in a way that is encouraging and empowering. The confidence they exhibit in developing their students as clinicians is truly evident.
Since graduation, I have worked in the SPU Counseling Center and had a successful private practice for eight years. In 2012, I opened an eating disorder clinic in Seattle, where I am the clinical director. Eleven years after completing the Marriage and Family Therapy program, I would still choose SPU as the foundation for my learning.