K-State graduation year: 2002
Degree: BS in family studies and human services
Other degree received: MS in marriage and family therapy, Friends University
Current employer: Currently self-employed and has owned a private practice, Walker Counseling Services, LLC, since 2005.
Position: Owner and therapist at Walker Counseling Services, LLC
How many times did you change your major during college?
Describe the process of choosing your major:
I started K-State as a major in nutrition and exercise science, changed to interior design, and finally ended up in family studies. I completed the assessments available at the Academic and Career Information Center and always knew I wanted to work with people.
In looking over the classes required for family studies, each one looked like a class I would take voluntarily! It was a simple switch, and for me it was easy to give up all the time I spent in studio as an interior design major!
What activities/organizations were you involved in while in college?
Kappa Alpha Theta
Leadership Studies ambassador
Mortar Board National Honorary
Enhanced University Experience instructor
K-State Open House Entertainment Committee
Did you complete an internship or have related work experience prior to receiving your job?
Upon graduating from K-State I entered graduate school at Friends University and obtained a master's degree in family therapy. Upon getting my first job after graduate schooI, I completed three separate internships, which were invaluable in providing a foundation to build my experience.
Describe the process of finding your first job:
My first job as a therapist began with answering an ad for a contract therapist position at a local agency, which I found in the career builder section of the newspaper. I submitted an application and resume and was invited for a first interview. I met the director, and we seemed to hit it off. It was January, and following the interview the director stated she would like to hire me but really preferred someone with more experience. I understood but left feeling discouraged about how I was going to acquire the experience without a job.
At the time I was also in the initial stages of opening a private practice. I continued that endeavor and gradually built up a clientele. In July of that same year I received a phone call from the director I had interviewed with months back and who now offered me another contract therapist position.
Fortunately, I was able to work at the agency part time as a contract therapist while at the same time building my own practice. I remained employed at the agency for ten months before I submitted my resignation to work full time at Walker Counseling Services, LLC.
Briefly describe a typical day at your job:
I arrive at the office, greet my receptionist, go through the mail, and briefly review the schedule for the day. On a given day I will meet with five to seven different clients who are in various stages of the treatment process. I listen to their concerns, field their questions, and create behavioral interventions in hope of initiating the change the particular client has set out to achieve.
I also take phone calls and answer e-mails throughout the day in between scheduled sessions from potential or current clients needing to schedule or change appointments, as well as from physicians or co-therapists who may be collaborating on a particular case.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The best part of my job is knowing I am making a difference in someone’s life.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Being ready and available to face whatever challenge awaits me hour by hour is certainly challenging. Working with human beings can be complicated. Not every intervention is going to work in every situation. It’s important to be creative and flexible while remaining attuned to the specific needs of the client.
What advice would you give someone interested in your field?
Pursue a job you would be willing to do for free. Being a therapist is incredibly rewarding because people are depending on you to help them change but it can be exhausting. Understand your limitations and work to arrive at a good balance between work and play!