Scott Brownlee was in an enviable position. He grew up in a nice suburb of Minneapolis, had a successful career, a wife, two kids, and a dog.
But after selling residential real estate for 25 years, he was ready for a career shift, something that spoke to him on a deeper level. “I was drawn to the Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) because of its strong focus on co-occurring disorders, the fact it was a master’s program, and the reputation of the U.”
“Being a mental health therapist was the only job I would change careers for.”
Brownlee already had the foundational background to enter this field, with an undergraduate degree in sociology, and for personal reasons, knew it was time for a midlife shakeup.
“Once I entered the program,” Brownlee says, “I fell in love with the concepts and information being taught, so it was easy to stay engaged. The instructors were great and my fellow students were tremendous to work with.”
Staying motivated was never a factor for Brownlee. If anything, he had to learn to slow down. “I wanted to finish the program in three years, but felt that pace was hard to keep up, so I decided to finish in four. That allowed me to stay sane and not get overwhelmed.”
The goal of becoming a counselor, however, was worth the time management and commitment. “Being a mental health therapist was the only job I would change careers for.” But, he continues, he knew it was important to “find balance... since many of us are working full- or part-time already.”
So was he actually able to change careers? Yes. Even before he officially graduates this May. “I've been hired at my current clinic, Alltyr, where I’m finishing up my practicum hours. I'll be there Monday through Thursday working alongside two other therapists (who are also IBH grads) and the staff psychiatrists.”
One of the key components of the IBH program is the hands-on training students receive that helps prepare them to work confidently with their own clients. “We were able to have a lot of contact with real patients in the classes held at St. Joseph's Hospital, meaning we got actual clinical experience.”
But, Brownlee recalls, his real estate career did have its benefits. “I spent most Saturdays and many Sundays hunkered down at my real estate office. It was quiet there—no kids or dogs.”
Tip for Future Students
"Go slow and don't sweat it if you need to take some time off or add a semester."