Considering a career as a counselor? You may be wondering if SEU’s MS in Professional Counseling program will prepare you for and equip you with the tools to succeed in this field. To help you answer these questions and more, we sat down with two alumnae of the program to see where they are now and how this degree prepared them for career success.
Anastasia Brokas (class of ‘17) is a licensed marriage and family therapist who runs her own practice, AB Counseling, which specializes in females from middle school age and into their 30s. When asked about how the MS in Professional Counseling prepared her for her current role, Brokas enthusiastically jumps in, “I always tell people that the master’s in Professional Counseling changed my life. Not only was it the material, but it was the professors who really shaped who I am today.”
Brokas further explains, “They prepared me personally by ensuring that I was confident in what I’m doing. Beyond my classwork, my professors taught me how to take care of myself while caring for others, how to connect with people, and how to conduct effective research. More importantly, however, they helped me understand that pursuing counseling is a calling.”
Lindsey Hilligoss (class of ’20), another recent alumna of the program, is already making strides in living out her calling as a counselor. After finishing up her degree at SEU, she launched into her career and opened her counseling practice, Coalescence Counseling. Similar to Brokas, she sees teen girls and young adults aged 13–30 at her offices in Lakeland and Tampa.
Hilligoss shares that there are several aspects of the master’s program that prepared her for success in her current practice, specifically the integration of faith and counseling. “My professors did a great job at helping us understand how faith and ethics interact and how to navigate the rules of various counseling agencies. They also built a solid foundation of what it looks like to integrate faith into your counseling practice, no matter which environment you are in.”
Conversations around mental health are becoming more prevalent in daily life, social media, and the news, so the degree content has evolved to help students address that change. “It’s amazing how mental health is becoming part of the conversation now — you go on TikTok or Instagram, and people are sharing their personal mental health journeys,” says Brokas. “With that being said, I think it’s important to understand the science and reality of what mental health and mental illnesses are, because there are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions that have grown out of this new awareness,” Brokas explains. “This allows counselors to teach from a place of knowledge instead of assumption.”
Hilligoss agrees and adds, “One of my biggest takeaways from completing the program at SEU was the hands-on counseling skills we learned. While other programs were more geared towards clinical psychology or even social work, the MS of Professional Counseling equipped us with the skills needed specifically in counseling through role-plays and other hands-on learning techniques.”
For more information about how the MS in Professional Counseling can help launch you into a rewarding career in counseling, check out this page!
By Madi Schaaf, Student Writer