RMU’s counseling department celebrated their first ever cohort of graduates at the August 2022 commencement ceremony. The cohort included 14 graduates receiving degrees from clinical mental health counseling to school counseling.
The counseling program itself is still relatively new having started out two years ago with one group of 17 students, just before the COVID-19 outbreak. However, despite the pandemic and other obstacles, the program has seen rapid growth and success, producing graduates who treasure their time in the program and who are exceptionally equipped for success in the counseling profession.
Brittney Pasquale-Hansen, a graduate of the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSH) program, enrolled with the hope to be a help to struggling people everywhere. “I wanted to be someone who actively helps those in need,” she said. “Starting school during the pandemic just made sense. I saw the world in a crisis, not just one of physical threats, but one of mental concern as well. I am grateful that I can be a safe space for people and do my part in making the world a better place.”
Alicia Kelly, who completed her Master of Science in School Counseling (MSC) degree, is using her newly developed skills and knowledge to begin an honorable career of service. “I’ve always been interested in the helping professions; however, throughout my undergraduate degree, I realized how much I wanted to combine my interest in education with psychology and mental health. This program has allowed me to become a practicing school counselor and has jump started my career in this helping profession,” Kelly said. “I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this program, and the lessons I’ve learned throughout these two years will be with me forever.”
In addition to the graduates themselves, RMU’s counseling faculty also congratulates the cohort and looks forward to future graduate cohorts and a growing counseling program. Verl Pope, Ed.D., LPC, CMHC, NCC, CCMHC, ACS, Professor of Counseling and Program Director Chair stated, “The counseling faculty are extremely pleased with our first graduating class of Professional Counselors, and we have great confidence that they will provide a significant positive contribution to the mental health of school students and members of our communities.”
This first cohort of graduates has not only opened doors for themselves, but also for the counseling program as a whole, specifically in terms of accreditation requirements. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), for example, can only grant accreditation to programs after there have been graduates of those programs. With the first graduate cohort of counseling students heading out into the healthcare field, RMU’s counseling department is looking forward to its upcoming site visit by the CACREP and the possibility of accreditation.
“We want to be a premier counseling program in the state of Utah,” Pope said. “Each year we have added more students.”
The counseling program will begin its Fall 2022 semester with a new cohort of 40 students, cohort eight, and a total enrollment of 145 students.
For more information on RMU’s counseling programs click here.