Experiences and Reflections from Program Faculty and Alumni
"It was my privilege to spent two weeks in Cambridge, England in May 2016. The University there consists of thirty-one separate colleges, some of which date back to the thirteenth century. I was especially intrigued by a tradition first established at Gonville and Caius College (featured in the outstanding 1981 movie "Chariots of Fire”). Newly matriculated students first enter the college through the Gate of Humility. As they mature in their understanding of “education for responsible action”, they are permitted to enter through the gate of Virtue (Character). If they are fortunate enough to complete their studies, they are permitted to enter through the Gate of Honor (Knowledge). Graduates are allowed to return to their college at any time the remainder of their adulthood. Needless to say, it reminded me of what Wheaton College could be when it is at its best.
A substantial body of research clearly indicates that the impact of higher education can be accurately measured both short-term and long-term (cf. Steven Garber’s “The Fabric of Faithfulness”). The impact of positive interactions with professors and peers appear to be especially powerful, closely followed by “disciplined reflection” in difficult and demanding times. When I think about why a Wheaton education can potentially be so powerful, I know it is often a function of access to authentic and credible role models, the power of a healthy and supportive community, and the challenge of learning to think carefully, critically and courageously.
May it be said of our community of faith and learning this coming year that we were good stewards of our minds, bodies and spirits – and that we did this well for 'Christ and His Kingdom'."
"You will leave this program sadder, but wiser".
I distinctly remember these piercing words that a professor spoke over us the first semester of my time in the CMHC program. At the beginning, I thought them to be rather bleak and perhaps not the most encouraging pep talk that I had received. I mean, who really wants to become "sadder"? However, after completing the program and graduating, I have a deeper understanding of what he meant by this phrase.
Wheaton has prepared me emotionally, spiritually, vocationally, and mentally for the counseling profession. At times, this meant doing the hard work required in the program of personal therapy, group therapy, and often learning how to engage well with other people's pain.
The CMHC program is committed to shaping the whole person and providing students with excellent clinical training as well as rich spiritual practice and guidance. I became well versed in my ability to engage on a diagnostic level and apply empirically validated interventions to my work with clients. The professors that I engaged with on a weekly basis cared deeply about my holistic growth. They both educated us on a clinical level and yet showed interest in how we were doing in our personal lives. I was deeply shaped by the experience of the cohort. With this model, we were able to take classes and walk through life together for two years.
During the program, I was able to develop a niche and work toward my vision of doing therapy with adolescents. The professors support students' ideas and visions for what they felt called to do. This was such a gift. I left Wheaton with a deep sense of gratitude and a confidence that I had been well prepared for my work as a clinical mental health counselor.
"As an international student from China, I was both excited and anxious when I arrived at Wheaton College. While I felt privileged to be surrounded by my great cohort and faculty, I was concerned if I could graduate from the program due to my language and cultural challenges. However, I soon found myself respected, valued and cared for in class and in community. This nurturing environment at Wheaton allowed me to explore myself deeply and grow professionally. The professors modeled the power of therapeutic relationship and the meaning of multicultural counseling.
Also, my burden for the underserved grew during my years at Wheaton, inspired by the mission of the program and the lives of the faculty. My practicum and internship site also gave me exposure to marginalized populations. With the love I received from Christ and the community, I hope to bring all that I have learned back to China in the near future."
"From the moment I stepped onto campus as a perspective student, I was greeted by administrative staff and faculty who were fully present with me and took the time to understand and discuss my needs and concerns regarding the CMHC program and the application process. Throughout the past two years in the program, I have been taught and mentored by passionate faculty who went above and beyond their requirements and my expectations simply because they care about their students. I have gleaned invaluable knowledge from personal and professional experiences shared by my professors, and I have been challenged to think compassionately and holistically about both my clients and the world in which I live.
The knowledge and skills that I have acquired in the CMHC program have equipped me to become a servant-practitioner-scholar both professionally in my role as a counselor at a nonprofit organization and academically as I pursue my PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. Yet, with all of this, the greatest reward that Wheaton College has afforded me is the priceless gift of long-lasting relationships with peers and faculty in the CMHC program. The love and support that I experienced with the members of my cohort and my professors was truly remarkable and just another reason why Wheaton College is a truly unique and special place that will always be dear to my heart."
"My time at Wheaton's Graduate school in the CMHC program can be summed up in one word: transformational. I am a different person now because of this program; the training I received, the friendships I made, the professional relationships I developed helped change me into the counselor that I am today. These three factors combined are what I admire most about the CMHC program at Wheaton College and are the things that I consider most important in the development of a professional counselor.
In particular, the training we received was extremely practical whilst also highly technical. I felt extremely competent and confident in my skills by the end of my time in the program, and the professors in that program went above and beyond to help prepare me for the field of counseling--particularly from a Christian perspective--that I do not believe I could have found anywhere else."