Meet Ryan: Counseling psychology

"One reason I chose counseling at WMU is the program's emphasis on multicultural and issues of diversity."

  • What do you like about the WMU counseling center?

    Lots of things.The technology that they have that allows you to get accurate feedback about how you are performing. The different rooms for accommodating groups and individuals. And just the culture of the clinic, there is a very supportive staff who's always seeking to get feedback from us as therapists about how we can best be supported.

  • What is the process like for the clients you serve in the clinic?

    The typical client process is that clients call the center, indicate what type of service they are seeking and then after schedule their intake. And during that intake they clarify what their concerns are and how we can best serve them. Lastly, they would be matched with a therapist and then they can come in and start receiving services.

  • What methods have you used with your clients?

    I've used supervision methods and that basically entails supervising another counselor in training as a learning skill, so helping them with their skill development. In addition to that, I've also provided services related to group counseling skills, so co-leading with another member and helping people process interpersonal concerns and/or stress management concerns.

  • Do you prefer working with individual clients or with group sessions?

    I would probably say I do prefer working with individuals. I'm better mainly because I feel like I can put more resources into one person and I can go a lot more in-depth with one individual compared to the group space, where a lot of my time and attention needs to be divided up amongst members.

  • Do you work with children or families?

    So there is the opportunity for me to do that later in my training. Prior to coming to Western I did work with those populations, but as it stands right now in my practicum I will have the opportunity to work with children and families in the future.

  • Why WMU?

    So one of my biggest reasons for choosing counseling psychology at Western is the program's emphasis on multicultural and issues of diversity. And I think that's reflected through the diversity within the faculty members. The emphasis on specific courses that you take to really ground you as a health service psychologist with a multicultural lens. And I think that this becomes really important as our societies become more multiracial and diverse. I feel like the program is well suited to equip us with the skills, knowledge and practices to meet the needs of a diverse population.

  • What was your journey like coming to WMU?

    So my path was when I was living abroad in Asia, in South Korea for two years as an English teacher. What I found was that it wasn't teaching English per se, that really intrigued me. It was more so interacting and having therapeutic relationships with other people. From then, that became the catalyst for me to further explore and actualize how I could become a professional helper.

    That led to me doing three years at the University of District of Columbia, where I obtained my master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. And along that journey, I received a lot of impactful mentorship from other black male Ph.D. recipients. So their support, combined with my experiences of doing community mental health therapy in D.C., kind of informed me about the range of influence that I could have. And considering that there's a huge history of black men in the psychology field that gave me the inspiration and motivation to pursue my doctorate in counseling psychology.

  • What is your career goal?

    My ultimate goal is to become a faculty member, a licensed psychologist, and then also a researcher. So I really would like to do research related to best practices for reducing burnout, traumatization and more for therapists that identify as black.

Counseling psychology at WMU

Western Michigan University's doctoral program in counseling psychology began in 1978 and is currently based on a scientist-practitioner model.

The Counseling Psychology Doctoral program resides in the College of Education and Human Development in the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. The program's philosophy holds that theory, research and practice are interdependent and complementary. The curriculum and practical experiences are designed to ensure professional competency in all three dimensions and to facilitate their integration. The counseling psychology program’s student admissions, outcomes and other data are provided to help potential doctoral students make an informed decision. Program graduates are typically employed in a variety of settings including academic departments, university counseling centers, community mental health agencies, hospitals and independent practices.

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