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Navigating the Depths of Mental Health and Wellness Grad School

Embarking on the Mental Health and Wellness grad school journey has been a profound experience filled with many emotions and insights. As I delve into the initial stage of my professional preparation, I reflect on the courses that have shaped my understanding and the unique challenges and rewards of this transformative journey. This personal essay aims to encapsulate my reactions and reflections on the first stage of my Mental Health and Wellness grad school experience, unravelling the depths of learning, rewards, surprises, disappointments, concerns, and ambitions that have marked this transformative period.

It all began with a journey through the fundamental theories that unlock the mysteries of “Human Growth and Development” throughout the entire lifespan. The first step was understanding the little moments that lead to us. This course gave me a flashlight to see how biology and culture mix from conception to death. It showed me how they are two very separate things, but they have a dance together that can make or break someone. As I traversed this dance, I learned to think for myself about evidence-based knowledge, a skill that will be vital later in my life when I need to put what I learned here into action (Nah, 2021). But that is not all; it also taught me that even though it does not seem like it, we all have a lot in common with each other and those before us. All these people share one universal thing” Aging.” With aging comes trials and tribulations no one wants to think about, but change is inevitable. The way we handle it is up to us.

Taking an in-depth look at “Individual Counseling: Theory and Process,” was an incredibly transformative part of my academic journey. This exploration opened my mind and helped me create new avenues of understanding, uncovering the layers of human psychology and emotional health. When I put the theories to practice with children, teenagers, and adults that is when it got interesting. Going through their social and emotional development made me face a lot of challenges and revelations. Seeing it work in real life scenarios where different age groups come with different considerations and complexities was exciting (Singh et al., 2020). Mixing things up with neuroscience gave me a modernized outlook on things, it let me see the physiological markers of someone’s mental health. With all this information everything seemed smooth sailing until I actually had to start using this knowledge for real-life interventions. Though it was a rough road, I managed to find my commitment and resilience needed to master the art of applying counseling theories into people’s lives.

Small group laboratory experiences are fun and hands-on. They teach how to be a great counselor. With simulations that feel like real life and micro-counseling, they cover everything you will need. There is no better way to learn counseling other than actually doing it (Perryman et al., 2021). What good is theoretical knowledge if you do not know how to put it into action? All the activities and tasks they give us make sure that we remember everything we have learned. From interviews to counseling sessions, their goal is to sharpen your communication skills for any occasion. It might seem like a lot of work but trust me, it is worth it. The toolset you leave with will benefit you in any counseling setting. And being able to navigate through these professional interactions gives you an extra layer of confidence.

Navigating the many paths of “Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness,” This course introduced me to the complex world of mental health and wellness interventions. It offers a comprehensive list of strategies that are intended to improve mental health while also promoting overall well-being. The utilization of advanced research and diverse treatment models gave me a unique take on mental health care, going far beyond what is traditionally been done. Instead of just focusing on the illness, it recognized that there is more to mental health than meets the eye. In fact, it made a point to say that mental health should be thought about as part of someone’s optimal psychological and physical development. But what I really took from this course and what has been bugging me since then is how we are all so connected, society has chosen to view “wellness” through such a limited lens (McHenry et al., 2022). Classifying things like “wellness,” “health,” and “illness” only through singular lenses of gender and age, instead of having an open mind. And while a holistic approach might have been enough for some people, this class did not stop there, it then went on to explore pathological outcomes from things like resilience, hope, wisdom, and spirituality. Which made me realize that the human experience is driven by external factors rather than internal ones.

In conclusion, looking back on the first stage of my Mental Health and Wellness grad school journey, it is filled with challenges, rewards, and lessons that have all grown me. This personal essay is about capturing that transformative time. I acknowledge the tough times but also celebrate the triumphs that lead to creating a better path for me professionally. Getting a hold or myself and learning what I did was so valuable and I can now go on to help others do the same. My commitment burns bright. It is fueling a deep drive in me to continue growing as a mental health professional for the purpose of helping people achieve their best selves.


McHenry, L. K., Beasley, L., Zakrajsek, R. A., & Hardin, R. (2022). Mental performance and mental health services in sport: A call for interprofessional competence and collaboration. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 36(4), 520-528.

Nah, A. M. (2021). Navigating mental and emotional wellbeing in risky forms of human rights activism. Social Movement Studies, 20(1), 20-35.

Perryman, T., Sandefur, C., & Morris, C. T. (2021). Developing interpersonal and counseling skills through mixed-reality simulation in communication sciences and disorders. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(2), 416-428.

Singh, A. A., Appling, B., & Trepal, H. (2020). Using the multicultural and social justice counseling competencies to decolonize counseling practice: The important roles of theory, power, and action. Journal of Counseling & Development, 98(3), 261-271.


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