“I cringed a little as sand and gravel found its way into my shoes, and silently I wished I had not chosen to wear heels that day. I was accompanying a coworker in an attempt to catch up to a man who, minutes before, had stormed out of our clinic after making veiled suicidal remarks. As we drew nearer to him we were able to catch his attention and speak further about what was upsetting him. He then agreed to return to the clinic to talk in more depth about his potential needs and learn more about the available services.
“Since graduating with my M.A. in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling in 2011, I have begun working as a pre-licensed therapist with the Tulare County Mental Health Department. Our clinic provides specialty mental health treatment to adults living with severe and persistent mental illness. I have participated in specialized training in the Wellness and Recovery treatment model as well as in a regional mental health leadership training program sponsored by the University of California, Davis. I am proud to be a member of a great team of mental health professionals and amazing peer volunteers in one of the most innovative county-sponsored mental health programs in the state of California. While some days in this line of work are less than predictable, I often find the sense of reward equal to the daily challenge. And at the end of each day, I return home to my husband of 11 years, and our son and daughter.
“I continue to be in awe of the ways my seminary education has helped equip me not only for my vocation and calling, but for so much of life. This past year I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer and have walked—and sometimes stormed—through a recovery process of my own. I continue to walk that journey. Lessons learned, relationships formed, and character forged through my years at seminary have been vital to my personal and professional wellbeing. And while I feel well-equipped for my journey, I have also learned to keep going even when wearing the wrong pair of shoes.”
By Liz Mason
2011 M.A. in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling