California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University
MA in Marital and Family Therapy
San Diego Campus
Adjunct Mental Health Counselor at San Diego City College and Grossmont College
Q: How did your Alliant experience contribute to your career growth?
A: I felt pretty prepared for my new career path as an MFT after graduating from Alliant because I had a great group of faculty within my program. They were transparent about the challenges barriers in our industry, and each professor had a unique experience that aided in having much needed classroom discussions. They were approachable when me or my peers had specific questions or curiosities about being professionals and we’re more than welcome to break down anything the best they could to help us understand the different concepts. I also think my practicum experience was a huge part of how successful I am right now. Without that practicum experience, I wouldn't have been as confident in my therapeutic skills as I am today. Alliant is COAMFTE accredited so the requirements are a little more rigorous compared to non-accredited programs. And once I graduated it was apparent that I had more experience compared to my peers who graduated from other programs.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?
A: What I most enjoy about being a therapist is knowing that I can work in many different settings. Currently, I work for both San Diego City College and Grossmont College as an Adjunct Mental Health Counselor and being in the educational setting I get to put people on to what mental health truly encompasses. And as a Black male therapist, I get to help break a systemic barrier to accessing mental health services as well as increasing awareness of those important stigmas that keep many people of color from getting the support they truly need, and most times want.
Q: What inspires you to make a positive difference in the world?
A: One student told me that I was a unicorn because she had never seen a Black male therapist. And hearing comments like that motivates me to keep doing what I'm doing and to continue finding more ways to help others while still earning a decent income to make sure my family is taken care of. My inspiration primarily stems from working with youth who are in that transitional stage of becoming more independent and are beginning their adult lives. I wish I had more awareness of my own mental health as a teenager, so I’ve been giving my time pro Bono and paid to help youth in that stage address what needs to be addressed so they can move forward with more awareness of themselves and confidence that they will be great as independent adults.
Q: Any advice you have for current students.
A: Somehow, your tuition was paid for so take advantage of what you paid for by using all those resources. My biggest resource was my cohort, we had a Facebook chat where we would ask questions, vent about the goods and bads of the semester, and share e-books in case someone couldn't afford it. We had each other's back, and still do as professionals. The Marine vet in me would say keep pushing it out. This academic journey with the long study nights, unreasonable assignments from professors, and the challenge of balancing school with everything else going on in your life sometimes gets frustrating but you got this. At the same time, I'd encourage you all to also have grace for yourself, and rest if things get overwhelming. If you feel comfortable let your professors know and most times they will adjust some things to support your individual needs. Lastly, stay motivated on why you are on the path that you're on. Even though the path may be rough right now, don't lose sight of your end goal!