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Graduate Profile: Growing to Graduate

This field changes you. It makes you grow, and as you continue to grow, you should trust your path. It will show you the way.

For someone who believes that relationships are the key to living our best lives, it’s no wonder Emily Gibson fell in love with the psychology class she took when she started college. A decade later, after raising children, working full-time and earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Governors State University, Gibson will receive her Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in marriage couple and family counseling from GSU in May, ready to begin her career as a therapist. “It’s exactly what I was meant to do,” she said. “We’re social animals. The relationships we long for, whether through blood or the family we choose, are what make us happy.”

GSU Newsroom: What brought you to GSU?

Gibson: I started when my kids were small. I wanted a career, not just a job, so I enrolled at Joliet Junior College. I loved my psychology class so I transferred to GSU and got my BA. We were told we needed a master’s degree to do clinical work. Counseling spoke to me; it’s exactly what I was meant to do. So I stayed at GSU for my master’s, with a concentration on marriage couple and family counseling. I never even thought about leaving. I had a very, very good experience. I looked up to the professors. They were great mentors. People at GSU were supportive in every way.

GSU Newsroom: What are some of the highlights from your time at GSU?

Gibson: The course on counseling LGBTQ persons taught by Dr. Christienne Dyslin was an elective that I took the first semester it was offered, and that’s an area of passionate interest for me because it’s such a vulnerable population. Counselors don’t often get training in this area, so I jumped on the opportunity. I appreciated that Dr. Dyslin took the time to create the course and I’m so glad it’s still being offered.

GSU Newsroom: Who were some of the professors that shaped your experiences and your future?

Gibson: Dr. Shawn Patrick was my internship supervisor for the first semester, and she was profoundly impactful. She pushes you and makes you think, guiding you through a case and helping you with ways to work with clients. Dr. Ileana Ungureanu was my second semester internship supervisor. Both she and Dr. Patrick are brilliant in their field and really helped me figure out the theory I’ll use to treat clients. Dr. Ungureanu was especially helpful and supportive when COVID-19 hit because we had to use telehealth, which is the technology you use to communicate with clients that are HIPPA compliant.

When we started hearing about the coronavirus, I stopped seeing any clients with underlying health conditions or little kids because I didn’t want to put anyone at risk. I appreciate the fact that GSU required us to take a telehealth training course because now I’m certified.

GSU Newsroom: What’s next after graduation?

Gibson: I’ve started looking for a job in counseling and I’m still working as a manager for Applied Behavioral Analysis, a company that helps kids who are on the autism spectrum. I’m glad to have a job right now, but I want to open my own practice. I’m still applying for my licensure. And I’m settling into the idea that for the first time in about 10 years, I’m not going to be a student any more. It’s been a very, very long road!

GSU Newsroom: What advice would you give current and future GSU students?

Gibson: For those in counseling, be prepared to do some personal work. We all have our own issues and even biases that we may not realize we have, and those will come to light and you’ll be challenged. This field changes you. It makes you grow, and as you continue to grow, you should trust your path. It will show you the way.