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Minds in motion | Kirby Christian: Practical experience in counseling education

Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) online student Kirby Christian describes why practical experience is an integral component to counseling education at The Chicago School.

When Kirby told a supervisor that she was going to enroll in the online CMHC program, her supervisor asked, “How can you engage in a social learning experience and develop appropriate counseling skills through an online system?”

Kirby found that The Chicago School addresses this concern through a unique combination of online learning and practical application—including clinical practice sessions, residency, and field experiences. “I realize that CMHC has provided and prepared a system that facilitates my professional success through practical application,” she says. “In my first clinical practice experience, we met with a classmate and professor online and went through a number of activities, practice sessions, learning our basic counseling skills. It really prepared me for residency.”
She discussed her practicum work with Breakthrough Ministries on the South Side of Chicago. And how she was able to help a homeless woman by bonding with her over the game Candy Crush—using the levels in the game to help the woman figure out the next steps in her own life to help her move forward. “It brought such a level of self-awareness and self-reflection—I had no choice but to strengthen my personal/professional development,” she says.

Remarking on the dedication of the CMHC department, Kirby talked about the help that she received when tragedy struck her home life. Her husband was in a terrible accident and was out of work for four months. During that time, she had to take care of her family. With her drive and the support of the faculty and fellow students, she felt empowered to complete the program. “They empowered me; they really did. And, I’m extremely grateful for everything,” Kirby says.

 About Minds in Motion

Exemplifying The Chicago School’s Engaged Professional Model of Education, Minds in Motion offers students, alumni, faculty, and leaders a platform to explore turning theory into practice.


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