Alumni Voices

Anita Adjetey (Class of 2010), School Counselor
School Counselor, Harrisonburg City Schools, Harrisonburg, Virginia

As a professional counselor, one must abide by all the professional ethical principles and standards that apply to this particular profession. EMU’s counseling program contributed to my understanding of the professional ethical principles. Graduating from EMU’s program has made me realize that my philosophy correlates with the concept of what counseling stands for, ethical responsibilities, and its role for the client/students.

Through the rigorous counseling courses, the MAC program helped me to develop an Identity and a philosophy that I apply to my practice in the profession. I have vowed to listen, meet individuals where they are, and accept the incongruence that working with clients/ students may bring. I use person-centered techniques and the integrative approach to therapy as a strength to help provide the foundation for relationship with clients/students.

Establishing authentic relationships with my cohorts was an amazing journey. I recognized that an open relationship between students produced a positive effect in the classroom and the level of acceptance. We were able to challenge each other and learn from our experiences. I appreciated the small group class size/room and the hands on assistance from faculty.

Lisa Ianitelli (Class of 2013), MA, LLPC, CAADC Development Plan
Jail Diversion Specialist – Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse, Services of St Joseph County in Centreville, Michigan

Jail Diversion is a system devised to keep those who have a Serious Mental Illness, Serious Emotional Disturbance, or a Developmental Disability out of jail or once incarcerated to get them out of jail to receive treatment/services they need

From triads and dyads, to verbatims and case studies, from expressives and journaling, to groups and trainings, all of what EMU Master of Arts Counseling program has given me has made me who I am today. I am proud to say that through my experiences of this graduate program, I feel comfortable to sit with clients, I am confident to advocate during treatment review, and I am courageous enough to work in this difficult environment with this challenging population that I am beyond passionate to help.

During this program I was a mother, a wife, a student, an intern, a mental health worker and 500 miles away from my family. I have to say it was difficult at times and I had many thoughts of giving up. But my cohort, my EMU professors, my practicum/internship supervisor, my employer, and most importantly my friends and family gave me tremendous support, empathy, and the push that I needed to complete the program because they knew my goals and my passions. I want to thank all of those whose support impacted me positively and helped me along in my journey.

My counselor identity was developed through the experiential piece of the program. I learned how to sit with clients, how to establish rapport and build a therapeutic relationship while implementing those skills by practicing with colleagues, professors, and with my clients at my internship/practicum sites. The use of role playing, video/audio tapings and reviews, and the hands-on experiences made me more comfortable with myself, so I am able to meet the client where they are.

I can confidently say that overall, completing EMU’s Master of Arts Counseling program has made me more aware about myself through my work in counselor development and practical experiences. The space that EMU provided was warm, welcoming, and well utilized through our smaller class sizes, supervision and instruction space, and one on one supportive meetings with instructors.

Andrew Johnston (Class of 2012), Counselor in private practice
Counselor in private practice, Next Step Counseling, and Greenville Relationship Institute, LLC, Greenville, SC

When I selected EMU’s graduate counseling program in 2010, I did not know how terms like “experiential,” “expressive,” or “affective attunement” factored into the work of counseling. I was lucky to choose a program that sits on the forefront of emotion-based work, as it has given me tools and skills that create effective change in my clients. Having started my own private practice that focuses on couples counseling and working with men, I have come to value EMU’s particular approach to counselor training even more.

I experienced the EMU program as a combination of challenge and enjoyment. The focus on developing the “self as counselor” means that I was not able to retain a comfortable distance from the material. We were invited to engage personally with our training—to process and discover our own psychological limitations, strengths, and injuries in order to improve our ability to be present for others. I ended up looking through the luggage I brought with me, so to speak. In my work now, as I encounter that luggage again (which happens frequently), I’m thankful to have first examined that territory in the safer environment of graduate school.

I found my classmates enjoyable, and the faculty to be approachable, knowledgeable, and willing to invest themselves in my development as a counselor. I’m grateful for the training I received there on many levels, and would choose EMU again given the chance.

Jen Kratz (Class of 2014), Psychosocial Rehabilitation Advocate
Resident in Counseling

Psychosocial Rehabilitation Advocate, Resident in Counseling, Harrisonburg-Rockingham CSB, Harrisonburg, Virginia

During my three years at EMU I had opportunity to explore both my personal and counselor identity through various classroom assignments and encouraged self-work. I feel as though my counselor identity was truly developed through individual work on integrating the intersections of my personal identity to help formulate a more confident and compassionate leader, which carried into my relationships and work as a counselor.

EMU prepared me for working in this field by encouraging personal growth and exploration along with providing vast amounts of experiential learning opportunities which helped develop the skills needed for a career in mental health. EMU’s emphasis on experiential learning helped develop skills, knowledge and confidence to promote a more solid foundation when working with community mental health clients.

EMU was the right environment for me, especially when considering much of the work was working with exploring the uncomfortable, stepping outside of my comfort zone and practicing new skills. What contributed to this environment feeling safe was an intimate class size, which fostered caring relationships with both peers and faculty. I truly appreciated the faculty presence in that they were approachable, dependable and caring for each individual student as they traveled this journey. EMU faculty are especially caring and nurturing regarding individual interests and challenges which promotes additional self-growth.

Brian Williams (Class of 2014), Trauma Therapist
Trauma Therapist, Child Safe, Fort Collins, Colorado

EMU faculty and staff provided me with a great deal of support during my time in the MA in counseling program. The professors were instrumental in my growth as a counselor and a person. My time in the program allowed me to learn theory and practice as well as grow into the kind of person who can be a successful counselor. I feel that I gained a comprehensive understanding of counseling theory and technique that was well balanced with the self-discovery and personal growth that allows me to be a strong support for my clients.

I am still on the journey of discovering some aspects of my counselor identity and I think that is a good thing. The knowledge I gained at EMU was comprehensive and eclectic. I feel competent as a counselor wearing many different hats as a result. I continue to discover my strengths and adapt to my client’s needs. One thing that I learned for sure in my time at EMU is that for me the relationship built between the client and the therapist in paramount in creating healthy change for those we serve.

I really loved the program! The faculty are amazing and always willing to go above and beyond to help students. My classmates were amazing teachers as well and I learned a great deal from them and loved watching us all grow together.

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