Posts Tagged 'Clinical Mental Health'

Getting to Know Our Students: Leslie Alton

This year, we are spending time 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 Leslie, one of our current graduate students!

IMG_1990My name is Leslie Alton, and I am a second year in the Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. I grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Barrington, went to undergrad at Ohio Wesleyan University, and then made my way to Milwaukee. I moved to Milwaukee in the summer of 2017, and its charm has been growing on me ever since. My favorite educational experience is the internship that I have been able to do as a part of the program. My placement is at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in the Counseling Services working with the students on myriad issues/concerns. I love using what I learn in the classroom and applying it to my work at internship, as well as growing into the skills and feeling more confident as a counselor.

With graduation in May, I am excited to enter the workforce and start my career as a counselor. I was drawn to Marquette because of the people I met. While a lot of schools have good programs to offer, the people I came across during the interview process and faculty I spoke to are what set apart Marquette from other programs. When I am not busy with everything school wise, one of my favorite hobbies is rollerblading, and I would suggest that anyone who is interested in rollerblading prioritizes learning how to stop! The inspiration that I have for the field of counseling stems from all of the internships that I have had since the beginning of college. At each internship I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of people who have the drive and passion to make a difference in the lives of others, and I hope to do the same!


Building a Foundation in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

As the academic year closes, students in the College of Education’s Masters Degree programs are wrapping up extensive research and consultant projects — read on to learn more about their work!

First-year students in Masters Degree programs have a steep learning curve. They are adjusting to an increased workload and higher expectations than their undergraduate experiences while sometimes learning a new city and environment. It’s essential to build a strong foundation for their academic and professional careers. As part of this process, students in the College of Education’s “Foundations of Clinical Mental Health” course are working on skills that will translate to the next level both before and after graduation. Dr. Jennifer Cook’s students research a designated population of society, its perceptions by society and popular culture, and at the end of the semester, present their findings to an audience of peers and community members.

This particular project occurs in four phases. In Phase One, students write a proposal. As background, students may work with a partner or on their own, the choice is up to them. Students who work together typically do so based on subject interest. They identify the population they will investigate for the entire project, conduct a preliminary literature review (to ensure the topic is viable from a counseling literature perspective), and state their personal and professional motivations for their chosen population.

In Phase Two, students examine both popular culture and scholarly literature perspectives of their chosen population. For the popular culture piece, they evaluate multiple media forms (e.g., movies, TV, Facebook, Twitter, memes, informal surveys, blogs). For the scholarly literature, they are required to examine six domains (e.g., evidenced based practices, common diagnoses, utilization of wellness and prevention services), while they integrate the impact of multiple cultural identities and social justice needs/implications. To conclude Phase Two, they compare and contrast popular culture and the scholarly literature, and draw reasonable conclusions how both impact clients, counselors, counseling treatment, and counseling outcomes.

During Phase Three, students interview at least one counseling clinician who works with their chosen population. They have to devise their own interview questions, many of which come from what they learned during Phase Two and the questions that arose for them. In all phases, students reflect on their own process and how it is shaping them as a counselor. Phase Four is the poster presentation. Students create a poster that captures their largest learnings throughout the project; they are responsible for designing the poster and deciding what to include. At the end of the semester, all students present their research in front of an audience of faculty, staff, and community members.

For Dr. Cook, there are a couple of advantages to students’ work and outcomes: “first and foremost, it gives student the opportunity to educate others and advocate for the population they researched.” If each year students and the audience can take away new information about topics that they hadn’t previously considered, she considers it a win. In addition, Dr. Cook notes that students “get to practice professional skills, like public speaking, having professional conversations, and displaying the most important information people need to know (posters are common at our professional conferences).” As students’ confidence increases and anxiety related to presenting decreases, she sees another benefit as “counselors are called on to present to lay people and professionals pretty regularly, so it’s excellent to expose them to doing it early so they know they can.”

Overall, this project is beneficial because it challenges students to view populations from multiple angles, to understand more about the reasons why people can’t or won’t seek mental health treatment, and to understand the realities of working with their chosen population.

This semester, students chose to focus on the following populations:

  • Adolescents with Substance Use Disorder
  • Latinos with Anxiety Disorder
  • Children who Witness Intimate Partner Violence
  • Personality and Eating Disorders
  • Adolescents who Experience Trauma
  • Women and Sex Issues
  • Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
  • Adolescents with addiction
  • African American Adolescent Males
  • Refugees with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Young women with Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Interested in learning more about the College of Education’s graduate programs in Counselor Education and Counseling Education? Visit us online!

Introductions & Supervisors: An internship in addiction counseling

By Micah Russell — How do you start a first post?  I asked myself this question before sitting down to write.

However, after an unfruitful brainstorming session, I decided to cop out and start it with that exact question.  But honestly, with so much going on in my life lately, where do I begin?

I suppose I can give the setup.  My name is Micah Russell, and I am a graduate student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Addictions.

I am currently attending summer session classes (only two, thank goodness) and working at the United Community Center (UCC), my internship site.  There, I deal primarily with clients who are addicted to or dependent on alcohol or drugs.  Clients come for a variety of reasons, including family, self-motivation, the legal system, etc.  However, each one comes seeking help.

The internship experience has been wonderful so far and my coworkers have graciously offered any help I need.  I can’t explain enough how rewarding it’s been to work in that community.  I’m still a novice in the field, but I definitely look forward to becoming more of an expert by the end of my internship experience.  Other than that, in my spare time I like to watch movies, collect comics, and do other creative things.  In fact, this last weekend I participated in the 48 Hour Film Project, which was exciting and tiring.

But enough about me, it’s time to get onto the real topic: my supervisor.

As part of my internship experience, I was given a supervisor who would meet with me weekly to review my cases and help facilitate my growth.  Now, it has been known to happen from time to time that the personalities of the intern and the supervisor do not exactly match, which causes some unsatisfying outcomes.  However, out of pure luck, I believe that I have received an excellent supervisor who not only meets my needs, but pushes me to become more.  My supervisor is named Dino.

Dino’s an interesting guy.  He’s moved across the country from California to New York, he’s worked on legislature for Wisconsin counseling, he’s an advocate for Hispanics with addictions, and he even has some time left over for music.  Dino seems to have this aura about him.  He is cool, calm, and collected.  He never seems to get bogged down.  And though he does not impose himself on others, each client seems to respect him.

Whenever I walk into Dino’s office to ask a quick question, I walk out with a new pearl of knowledge.  It’s no wonder he’s done so much in his career.  I know so little and can learn so much and I can’t wait to find out more!  I wish I could say more, but I feel like I’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg.

Alright, now it’s time for my first test of the summer!  Wish me luck!


Micah Russell is currently a Master’s level graduate student at Marquette University studying Clincial Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in addictions.  As part of his program, Micah works at the United Community Center in the Human Services department.  In his free time, Micah likes watching movies, recording music, and spending time with friends.

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