Identity and Mental Health Counseling

Identity and Mental Health Counseling


I probably started painting when I was
like three or four years old, and the reason I paint, it’s always been an
outlet for stress and a way to relax and sort of just kind of get grounded again,
centered, and since I think so much about identity, it’s such a cool way to sort of
channel what I want to express about myself or my feelings or something there
in that moment. I can put it on paper and kind of have this thing to reflect on
later and say, “Oh, I wonder what was going through my mind then.” So, in talking about
painting, it’s this clear metaphor for counseling, but at the same time, I really
see it as this sort of way of looking at identity. Everyone will bring in a
different painting if you tell them to go home and paint a flower, but if you
have the same person painting a couple different paintings day by day, there’s
some connective trend that sort of is their expression of themselves. So, you
can always sort of see this little bit of “Hey, I know who made that.” I really see
painting as this thing that helps me and understanding my studies, and studying
racial identity with Dr. Holmes at the Lynch School. It’s sort of this thing
that kind of lets me stay creative and thinking about all these really complex
topics and these things that are being studied. I had the opportunity to work
with the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Recent Culture and they’ve
been a source of support, both academically and just personally
throughout the process, but it’s a place where I’m really not only learning from
one of like the most theorists and racial identity in the world, but also
working with other students who are doing research in the same areas and
really learning from my peers as well as the faculty, and it’s sort of this like
microcosm of the kind of support academically and personally that I get
within the mental health counseling program, more generally within Lynch
School, where the faculty are supportive, my classmates are supportive and
engaging and challenging me intellectually, and also have practicum
opportunities that just the BC name takes you so far, and they have so many
relationships with wonderful training sites, so that I know that I’m really
getting that field training that helps me apply everything I learned in classes,
and that’s really why I’m here. It just is the best place for me to grow as a
student and as a clinician, and as you know, a scholar and researcher.

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