Each new opportunity in our lives presents new choices. For Sara Najm, her path started with an undergraduate degree in global studies, which led to studying abroad in India. Her experience in India ignited a desire to work with immigrants, which led to a stint with AmeriCorps and a graduate degree in youth development. While in that program, she interned with an organization for homeless and runaway youth.
"When I would meet with adolescents and their families,” she remembers, “I always felt I wanted to be more knowledgeable about mental health and how it impacts families. Many of those families were struggling with addiction as well.”
The Perfect Fit
“When I heard about the IBH program and looked into it further, it just felt right.... I could see how the dual licensure would both benefit clients and make me marketable as an employee.”
While she originally wanted to work with youth, she is currently an on-call counselor for adults at NUWAY. “I like working in an outpatient setting and see myself staying with this kind of work for a while... I love that I get to meet all the clients from various groups and try out different psychoeducation pieces and techniques across a huge cross-section of people.”
She also appreciates the ability to work part-time so she can be with her four-year-old and five-month-old children.
Najm is looking forward to gaining more experience in a mental health-focused clinic for her next internship. She would also like to explore potentially working for herself within a group of clinicians doing private practice.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing
“I took these courses back-to-back on the same day and thought that was a really effective way to learn. Jennifer Weigelt is a great teacher and has really interesting work experience and client stories. She taught me to come from a place of curiosity with clients and that has really stuck with me. Now that I’m working as a counselor, I want to go back and take both of those courses over again!”
Human Lifespan Development
“Amie DeHarpporte clearly loves her field and brought so much passion to her teaching. Both Amie and Jennifer taught me what Carl Rogers meant to have ‘unconditional positive regard’ for clients and work with them as human beings living life the best way they know how, given the way they grew up and what has happened to them along the way.”
Pro Tip for Students
“Do your homework and see if the field is a fit for you. Before applying to the program I took an introduction to counseling course. I also talked to current and past IBH students. I attended a couple of information sessions and talked with faculty. In hindsight I would have benefited from shadowing a counselor and observing a group therapy session. Getting a full picture of what it means to commit to a grad program and work in the field will help you make a decision!”