Archive for the 'Counseling and Human Services' Category

Reflections of a Middle School Counselor

downloadBy Sabrina Bartels

When people ask me what it was like being a first year counselor, I often mention that there are some things grad school never prepares you for: that first, super awkward conversation about hygiene; the first time you have to call Child Protective Services about the abuse of one of your students; the patience you must show every time a kiddo tells you that another student is looking at them in a funny way … AGAIN. In some ways, working in a middle school is “baptism by fire” – you just have to jump in, do it, and reflect afterwards. The things you hear, the things you see – some of those things you really don’t know how to respond until you are in the middle of the situation.

For me, I also experienced a bit of a culture shock in my first job. I went to a parochial school for my elementary and middle school years. My entire 8th grade class was 15 students, the majority of whom I had gone to school with since kindergarten or first grade. All of our parents knew each other, since they volunteered at different school events together. Things changed slightly when I went to public high school, but in different ways. Sure, my graduating class was bigger (I think we were around 230 kids for my senior class,) but it was smaller than a lot of other schools. The city I went to high school in also has a very quaint feeling to it (I often tell people it was like living in the movie Pleasantville.) I loved it, and thrived there, but it still gave me a nice sense of security. I would say that it wasn’t until college that I began having classes with multiple students of different ethnic backgrounds, or was greatly exposed to people who didn’t have the same upbringing as I did.

So you can imagine my naivety (and shock) going into West Allis, which is a much more diverse area. There are some students at my school who are shouldering adult burdens that I can’t even imagine tackling when I was in middle school, much less now as an adult. Their strength and resilience are just amazing.

This past August, our school district asked Dr. Christopher Emdin, author and professor at Columbia University, to give a keynote to start the school year. Listening to him, I wish he had been there my first year of counseling. Not only is he a phenomenal speaker, he tackles the subject of urban education with humor, common sense, and empathy.

If you are a first-year educator, please do this: get a copy of Dr. Emdin’s book called “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too.” Read it. It will change your life and how you work as an educator, regardless of where you work. I promise you. And if you ever get a chance to hear him give a talk, please do it. He is wonderful.

I love his book “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood …”, and the chapter I found most prolific (for me) is called “Code Switching.” Dr. Emdin notes that not every student in every classroom feels validated for who he or she is. Some students come to school and can successfully navigate between their “home” culture and their “school” culture because they are very similar. I think about my own upbringing – my rules at home were pretty similar to what they were at school: work hard, listen to adults, ask questions, things like that. This is very different from some of my students. I remember one of my students telling me that school wasn’t important because it wasn’t teaching him about real life. When I asked what he meant by that, he explained that school was not going to teach him how to care for his younger siblings, stay safe in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood in Milwaukee, or help his parents with their financial struggles. To him, school was a barrier, an inconvenience that took him away from his real goals in life: get out of his neighborhood, help his parents, and look out for the little kids. I had never heard this before.

The idea with code switching is helping students consciously realize when they need to “code switch” from their home mode to school mode. It also invites teachers to learn the slang and culture of each of their students. Dr. Emdin gives a great example of his book: having students imagine themselves at the local park, watching people play basketball. Then invite the students to talk the way they would with their friends. Encourage them to use this as the “privileged” language in class for a while. After this, ask students to imagine themselves at a fancy Ivy League school with manicured lawns and meeting with the adults at this school. How would students speak then? What does that privileged language sound like?

I always like when my students come into my office using slang, even when I don’t know what it means. First of all, it is a great bonding opportunity with students – they can teach an adult some of the up-and-coming slang that is popular. (Of course, when I use these around my nieces, they roll their eyes at me and tell me I don’t sound cool …) Secondly, this gives me the chance to see where my kiddos are coming from. I remember one student telling me that the slang she used was directly from her family, who were all from a certain city in Mexico. She told me all about how the slang her family used was different from her close friend’s family, who was also from Mexico, but a different city. And the added bonus of staying up to date with the cool new terms? When I hear kids using certain slang in the halls, I can figure out what they’re saying and (for the most part) whether it’s a compliment or not.

A lot of Dr. Emdin’s book is geared towards teachers (I do not co-teach a class, for example), but I would argue that every educator could learn something from it. He has great insight on camaraderie and courage, which I also took some advice from, and think every educator – administrator, counselor, and teacher – could benefit from reading. It makes you reflect on your practice and how you can grow from it. I’m not saying that it will prepare you for everything (again, you will NEVER know what it’s like to have some conversations with students until that opportunity presents itself,) but it will give you a good heads-up about working in a more urban environment and what you can do to help build relationships with your students. I will definitely be using some of his tips and ideas with my new 6th grade class that just started at the middle school. I look forward to sharing how this works with them!

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Emdin, I encourage you to check out his website!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Kat McConnell

This fall, we are continuing our series getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Kat McConnell, one of our doctoral students in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department!

katmccI was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. My family (including four little sisters!) still live in St. Louis, so I like to get home to visit fairly often. After getting my BA in Psychology and Sociology at Maryville University in St. Louis, I moved to Muncie, IN in 2016 to get my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Ball State University, and then I moved up here to Milwaukee last summer to start my PhD in Counseling Psych at Marquette!

I love the opportunity to engage in research with faculty and fellow students. I am a part of the Culture and Well-Being Lab at Marquette, and I’ve had the chance to present our research at a couple of conventions with them in the past year, which is both a lot of fun and a great learning experience. This year I will be starting a practicum at the Milwaukee VA that I’m very excited about! I’ll be doing a palliative care rotation, working with patients living with serious illness, and their families.

When I was looking for doctoral programs, my main priorities were finding a program somewhere in the Midwest, so that I can be somewhat close to home, and finding a program with a welcoming, inclusive academic culture. I found both of those in the Counseling Psychology (COPS) program at Marquette. The College of Education and the COPS program cultivate a collaborative and supportive environment that I felt at home in from my first interview.

When the weather is nice, I love to be outside. Milwaukee has so many fun outdoor festivals and beautiful parks to hang out at during the summer. When it’s colder, I love to indulge in local theater, go to the movies, or curl up on my couch with a good book or Netflix show. And any time of the year, you can find me camped out at my favorite Colectivo, which is my go-to  homework/research spot!

I’m passionate about the areas of serious illness and death/grief, with attention to diverse and underrepresented populations. I’ve had the opportunity to work in these areas as a chaplaincy intern in my masters program, and look forward to learning more this year with my VA practicum in palliative care. Although serious illness and death can be an emotionally taxing area, I also find it to be one of tremendous potential for personal growth. I find it a privilege to go on the journey of making meaning out of difficult circumstances and personal loss with clients. My hope is to continue to work in an integrated healthcare setting after graduation, as well as staying engaged in research on how we can better support diverse clients facing illness, loss, and stigma in the health care field(s).

 

Racism On Our College Campuses: What Can We Do About It?

This post is excerpted from a post written by Dr. Ryan C. Warner (Class of 2019) that originally appeared on gradPSYCHblog.com as a part of the series, “CARED Perspectives,” developed by the APAGS Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Posts in this series  discuss current events and how these events relate to graduate students in psychology. If you are interested in reading more, please see Dr. Warner’s full piece and follow him on Twitter!

RCP_9005By Ryan C. Warner

Similar to the rest of society, colleges and universities are not immune to racial discrimination. With “Blackface” party incidents and “noose” hangings making news at numerous universities all over the country, racially underrepresented students face challenges beyond the academic scope of tests, papers, and projects.

As a current graduate student of color who has attended various predominantly white universities, I can attest to the fact that racial discrimination can be displayed covertly (e.g., microaggressions) or overtly. These incidences have a profound impact of an individual’s well-being, and can impact their retention and life satisfaction. But the main question is, “what can we do about it?”

At the individual level, we need to all stand up to racial injustice when it occurs. Silence is compliance and only encourages and enhances racial injustice in the world. Individuals of all backgrounds and skin colors should point out bigotry when they see it, which will ultimately create social awareness and bring light to these issues.

At the institutional level, university leaders should make systemic changes to enhance inclusivity for students of color. One example may include requiring that all students, faculty, and staff attend diversity training focusing on racial equality and inclusion. Additionally, ensuring that campuses have a bias incident report system in place can offer a resource for students to document their experiences of racial microaggressions, which may assist with providing evidence that these incidences do in fact exist. This documentation may be useful with further presenting evidence for the need of diversity resources and inclusivity programming.

For additional resources please visit:

Dr. Ryan Warner is a graduate of the College of Education’s Counselor Education Counseling Psychology doctoral program

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Mac Goertz

We are continuing getting to know our students this fall! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on our blog series. Read on to meet Mac Goertz, a counseling psychology doctoral student.

IMG_3300I’ll be entering into my third year in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program this year. While I have some remaining coursework, my main focus is now with clinical training and research.

Currently I’m training at two different practicum sites— I provide individual psychotherapy to patients in an integrated primary care setting at the Behavioral Medicine Primary Care Psychology Clinic at MCW/ Froedtert Hospital, and I conduct integrated psych testing with kids and adults at Psychological Assessment Services, LLC.

I very much enjoy working with Dr. Lisa Edwards in the Culture and Well-Being Lab. Over the past two years the lab has focused on a community-engaged research initiative called Proyecto Mamá, which seeks to assess the perinatal mental health experiences of Latina moms in the Milwaukee area using qualitative and asset-mapping research methods. The project is funded by a Marquette University Women and Girls of Color grant and is paving the way for future projects within the community, including Círculo de Mamás, a support group for Latina moms that we are developing at Sixteenth Street Clinic.

In my own research I’m curious about factors that promote critical consciousness around issues of race and racism. In particular, I want to know what helps White people become more racially aware and engaged. I want to know what moves Whites to engage in anti-racist work and how we can be better at doing this. In my own journey, I’ve had mentors that have been transformative in helping me to engage with race and consider my own racial attitudes, in particular through the IC-Race Lab (Immigration, Critical Race, and Cultural Equity Lab) in Chicago, IL. Thus, I’m interested in studying the potentially meaningful role of mentorship in promoting racial consciousness among White students.

I moved to Milwaukee in 2017 from Chicago, IL where I worked in addictions counseling in the West Loop of Chicago for a few years. In 2015 I received a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in Latinx Mental Health from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Before Chicago I lived in St. Augustine, FL where I attended Flagler College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Both of my parents grew up in small towns in the Midwestern U.S and followed lifelong careers overseas. I was born in Maseru, Lesotho before our family moved to Swaziland, Uganda, and eventually Vanuatu in the South Pacific. In the 7th grade I attended a small Bahá’i boarding school in Vancouver Island, British Columbia where I remained through high school. I have two older brothers—and now two sister-in-laws! Family is foundational in my journey—they are the “strength to my sword arm,” as my mother would say.

The work of Dr. Lisa Edwards and the Culture and Well-Being Lab motivated me to apply to the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at Marquette. Dr. Edwards is a phenomenal force with an inspiring history of research in the areas of multicultural counseling, positive psychology, and Latinx psychology. She is also a mom—something that has been really important for me to see role modeled in academia.

I love the outdoors. Wisconsin has some incredible places to camp and hike. I’m a big fan of the Oak Leaf Trail where I enjoy walking my dog in the morning and evenings. I also love to hunt for antiques and oddities—I come from a long line of women with a talent for collecting and curating old and new. It’s important to me that my living and working space feel like me and where I come from. Mannequins, taxidermy, old farm tools, family quilts, and house plants line the walls of my home and the Airbnb apartment I manage.

Dr. Joseph L. White will forever be a guiding light in my journey. Considered the Godfather of Black Psychology, Dr. White was a change maker who revolutionized how we think about multicultural, strengths-based psychology today. His life and wisdom inspire me to keep moving forward and remind me that I have a responsibility to use my platform and privileges to work toward equity, healing and liberation.

The other force that inspires my work is my grandfather, Horace C. Walters. He was the last of his generation that I got to know and I recognize his story as so important to who I am. His life has taught me about love and family, about the importance of kindness and being true to conviction. I strive to honor him in the values I live by and the changes I fight for.

 

MUSCLES Impressions: How Interdisciplinary Summer Camp Benefits Students of All Ages

RCP_4677By Dr. Bill Henk, Dean of the College of Education

My visit to the MUSCLES camp this summer left me thoroughly impressed. There was obviously effective collaboration between the Speech and Language Therapy students and our Elementary Education majors, in terms of assessment, planning, and instruction for the children with Autism Spectrum Disorder being served. And the collaboration extended to their faculty mentors in planning and supervision.

In particular, it was gratifying to witness our Education majors implement best pedagogical and management practices with such fidelity and impact. Their ability to continually monitor and adapt to the individual social and academic needs and strengths of the kids was striking.

Likewise, it was commendable that all Marquette students, including the psychology and biomedical science majors who participated, clearly recognized the gifts of inclusion of a diverse group of children drawn from varying socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. A major takeaway for me, given the increasing number of school-age kids on the Spectrum, is that there would be value in all Education majors learning more about teaching them, and for that matter, how to engage the full range of parents of kids with special needs.

Marquette offers a summer camp addressing literacy and social communication skills for children on the spectrum, aged 6-11. The MUSCLES (Marquette University Summer Communication, Literacy, and Enhanced Socialization) camp occurs during three weeks in summer. Contact MUSCLES at mary.carlson@marquette.edu, or doris.walker-dalhouse@marquette.edu for information about the camp.

Getting to Know Our Faculty: Meet Dr. Alie Kriofske Mainella

The College of Education is excited to continue allowing our readers to better know its faculty, staff and studentsDr. Alie Kriofske Maniella joins our faculty in the department of Counselor Education Counseling Psychology this fall. Read on to get to know her better!

alie-k-m-2019I was born in Milwaukee and lived in the lower level of a duplex on 68th and Center. When I was a little girl, I made five goals for myself that have stuck with me all my life: to join the peace corps, fall in love, make a record of music, write a book, and interact with a monkey. I have the last two left. When I got a little older, I decided I’d love to be a university professor and am so glad to get to realize that dream at Marquette University.

I have been working with people with disabilities since I finished my undergraduate degree and continued that work when I joined the peace corps after college. I have a partner named Tad (there’s the falling in love goal checked) who is a writer and two kids. My son Coen is 15 years old and my daughter Lucy is 11. We love travelling and music (Coen is named for Leonard Cohen and Lucy for Lucinda Williams). We just got a dog. His name is Petey, and he’s a beagle mix and a very tenderhearted dog.

I have always loved school, particularly when writing was involved. I was involved in the creative writing program at UW Milwaukee in my undergrad and love to write short stories in my free time. I was a Trinity Fellow here at Marquette University while I got my Master’s Degree and fell in love with the culture here. I am so happy to be back.

Aside from creative writing, I also am a musician; I write songs (there’s the make a record of my music task on my list, though it was a CD that I made in 2002). I also play the guitar and the ukulele; you can find me playing and singing on my front porch and various farmers markets, street festivals and open mic nights.

I am passionate about disability rights, sexual health education and the mixing of these two topics. I love talking to parents about how to talk to their kids about sexual health and willingly dole out advice to anyone who has questions, so feel free to stop by my office in the Schroeder Complex if you have been asked a hard question by a young person in your life and aren’t sure how to phrase the answer! I’m inspired by so many who have worked in the various intersecting fields that I work in:

  • Beatrice Wright for her pioneering work in framing disability as a positive challenge,
  • Ed Roberts for his advocacy for himself and others in the creation of Independent Living Centers in the US,
  • Sonya Renee Taylor for her poetry, art and activism in self love, and
  • of course Dr. Ruth.

I feel tremendously grateful for being invited to work, teach and research at Marquette University in the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology department in the College of Education.

Behind Every Military Weapon System Should be Someone Advocating for Her/Him

This post originally appeared on Dr. Darnell Durrah’s blog. About the author: Dr. Darnell A. Durrah Jr, is a licensed counseling psychologist current serving the men and women of the US Army. At the end of the day, he is most proud of just being a kid from Compton!

US_Navy_030513-N-5576W-002_Antwone_Fisher_speaks_to_Sailors_gathered_in_Naval_Station_Great_Lakes'_Ross_AuditoriumBehind every weapon used to protect the innocent is a woman/man that took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….

We might not agree with every political decision, but they (we) took an oath!

One of my favorite Denzel Washington movies is Antwone Fisher.

Prior to becoming a licensed counseling psychologist, I was a master level therapist. I’ve always used the phrase “whowillcryforthelittleboy

Now, I’ve always taken that as who will advocate for those that can’t or don’t know how to advocate for themselves

As an Army psychologist I will be here to ensure Soldiers are advocated for.

I’ll advocate for evidenced based treatment. I’ll advocate for transparency in treatment as it applies to military regulation. I will advocate to ensure ready resilient resources are provided in a timely manner. I’ll advocate for the privacy of your protected health information

I’ll also inform you that psychological treatment is a sign of strength, courage, and hope! I’ll let you know that if your symptoms (not you as a person) meet criteria for a diagnosis, I’ll explain that with compassion, care, and concern. I will also let you know that treatment works. I’ll let you know the new normal is possible

Lastly, those that are concerned about PTSD, I’ll discuss with you all about PTSG #PostTraumaticGrowth.

Dr. Darnell Durrah graduated in 2014 with a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the College of Education


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