College of Arts and Sciences

Meet Counseling Students

Ariel Virk ’20

Family/Child Therapy and Trauma Counseling

One thing I love about Arcadia’s counseling program is its’ emphasis on understanding cultural competency and reaching people where were they are. I am very passionate about different cultures and being able to help them in any way I can. Of all the other programs, Arcadia’s stood out because they combined counseling courses alongside cultural aspects and ethical issues.  No other program tailored counseling and cultural understanding as both equally important.

Two professors that I believe have had an impact on me would Dr. Bartoli and Dr. Cathy Lee.  They have both took the time to work alongside me when I needed help.  They were personally the kindest and warmest teachers I have ever met.  They have encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone to increase my counseling skills.
The most memorable lesson I have experienced from Arcadia’s counseling program would be through my multicultural competency counseling class.  Growing up I had a difficult understanding my racial identity. I identify as biracial cisgender female.  I often felt awkward talking about biracial identity and struggled with becoming comfortable seeing as I had bad experiences in regards to people not accepting me because of the way I looked.  During this, class I became increasingly aware that I was not the only individual that struggled with this.  I felt very accepted and celebrated to be a biracial individual.  This class helped me overcome my hesitation with fully accepting my racial identity.

Arcadia’s counseling program helped me overcome my hesitation to put myself out there and speak in public.  I become more confident with understanding that I will make mistakes because I am human.  But I also gained confidence with my counseling skills and more comfortable with my racial identity.  I have been learning more about areas in which I need to improve on without being shamed but rather encouraged to self-explore way I can improve my counseling skills.  All the classes so far in which I have taken have helped me flourish as a human being and as a aspiring counselor.

Chelsea Hallas '19

 Child & family therapy and Trauma 

Although every professor at Arcadia has impacted my life significantly, Dr.Morrow has impacted my life greatly over my time spent in this program. Dr.Morrow always encouraged and pushed me to pursue my dreams and to make them a reality. I had one dream to write a psychoeducational children's book and with his help I was able to pursue that dream and make it into a special project Arcadia offers. I have also been impacted significantly by the other students in my classes. The collaboration between us is something I have never experienced before.

You may just be one person, but everything you do counts. Tackling an issue like mental health advocacy may seem daunting, but you have to start somewhere. Starting those small conversations and speaking up for what is right even if its to only one other person, is valuable.

Ive found the multicultural and self-awareness labs, as well as my trauma classes and learning to be trauma-informed to be extremely powerful. Knowing yourself is just as important as knowing your clients. Being trauma informed changes your whole world view. You see and experience people and potential clients on a deeper level than you would have before.

Cindy Beadle '20

Trauma Counseling
Currently employed at JEVS Human Services as a Program Manager

During orientation and date of interview for the program, the staff and professors at Arcadia made me feel apart of their family and community. The classes at Arcadia are predominantly small and close-knit that students are able to learn from one another and professor without any issues. The class sizes allows students to learn from their professors more effectively and to allow professors to know students on a personal level as well - and not just a letter grade or name on their attendance sheet. I appreciate the staff and professors at Arcadia a lot for their dedication, support, and compassion for students throughout the two years I have been here. One of the biggest factors that made me choose Arcadia aside from the professors and staff is the feedback system Arcadia's counseling program has - this feedback program allows me to learn about my strengths while learning about my areas of growth as well in a constructive and respective manner.

Dr. Bartoli and Dr. Gillem - both professors have made a significant impact in my life since I have started at Arcadia. When I first started at Arcadia, I was extremely hesitant to voice my thoughts or opinions, to make mistakes, to make mistakes especially in class, and to assert my confidence altogether. Both Dr. Bartoli and Dr. Gillem took the time out of their day to talk to me about this and since then, I believe that my perspective has changed drastically. I have learned that it is okay to not be perfect, it is okay to make mistakes, and it is okay to be uncomfortable because Arcadia is a safe place to make mistakes and the only way we can all learn is to be uncomfortable throughout the way.

One of the most memorable lessons I have learned is actually from this semester in my Trauma, Advocacy, and Social Justice course. Throughout the course of this semester, we learned about advocacy and about the trauma that different populations experiences. One of the most important lessons that came up for me is - no matter how little we think our contributions make to advocacy and social justice, it all makes a difference. Not only so but this course has pushed my interest in working with minority populations especially Asian American populations within my work as a future clinician. Minority populations have so many barriers, obstacles, and systematic oppression - their voices need to be heard as well and this course has motivated me to do more work within this realm.

Arcadia has prepared me for my future work as a clinician by teaching about the applications of skills, and theories but hands-on learning as well with roleplays, practicum, and internship. Arcadia has prepared us well to learn about the most evidenced based and multi-cultural sensitive interventions as well after formulating a conceptualization of a client. Arcadia's heavy emphasis on multiculturism allows us to work more effectively with a widespread of different cultures and demographics. Arcadia's feedback program allows us all to grow as individuals and as future clinicians as well.

Kate Higgins '19

Dual concentration in Community Public Health and Child and Family

In one of my initial course planning progression meetings with Carol Lyman, I commented on how long it would take me to complete my degree. She responded by saying that getting a master’s in counseling is different than other graduate programs because you are not simply learning theories and applying a set a skills. Rather than learning how to be a counselor, students become counselors. This conversation and the distinction between the two has been a salient feature in my education. I remind myself that this process requires a dedication to not only learning more about the field of counseling, but also learning more on myself and how to benefit those I reach. Participation in multicultural labs have deepened my understanding of my personal beliefs, assumptions, and vulnerabilities to question how that might impact my experience in a counseling session.

The most memorable lesson I have learned from Arcadia’s counseling program is developing a willingness and openness to receive feedback. In an academic culture that values grades and accolades, Arcadia has taught me that acknowledging and embracing areas of improvement is an essential and lasting component to becoming a counselor. Feedback is given not only by our professors, but our peers as well as well. Gracefulness in receiving feedback is routinely demonstrated by our professors who ask us what we think is going well and what needs improvement in our courses. This symbiotic relationship allows Arcadia’s program to continually evolve and grow in a meaningful way.

Not only have a learned from my professors, I also learn from my classmates. Arcadia’s dedication to creating culturally competent counselors is reflected in the students they thoughtfully choose to admit. Each student has unique insights and experiences that expand our understanding of the human experience.  The small class sizes create trusting learning communities where people can share their unique beliefs, challenges, and experiences which deepen our capacity to show others empathy and unconditional positive regard.

Initially when I decided to apply for Arcadia’s counseling program, my goal was to work as a counselor for specifically for college athletes. Now that I am nearing completion of my degree, I have shifted my focus to child and family therapy. Arcadia has prepared me for working as a professional counselor because it has taught me to follow my own intellectual curiosity to become an authentically motivated and enthusiastic counselor.

Arcadia has taught me that no counselors are perfect and that everyone, even the most experienced clinicians, admit to making mistakes. Professors that are open and honest with the inherent humanness of counseling has prepared me to accept that as a professional I will always have room to grow and to never expect to have all of the answers. Rather, I will continually seek out new information to be the most effective counselor for clients.

Lisa Cole '19

Child and Family Therapy 

Currently employed at Silver Springs Martin Luther School and my position is a Mental Health Worker

While searching for a program, I had strong preferences for my success. The class sizes at my undergraduate university were very small and I enjoyed being able to have one on one experiences with my professors and classmates. I felt that this made my ungraduated experience much more personal and more importantly, I built strong relationships with everyone in my program. After doing research, I learned that Arcadia’s class sizes were small. During my interview, I felt a sense of community and togetherness among the professors who I interviewed with. Lastly, learning of Arcadia’s counseling program and their huge focus on multiculturalism and coming from a university where this wasn’t addressed, was the icing on the cake!

The Self-Awareness Lab was the activity/lab that impacted me the most. It was an experience that I am so grateful for, because not many people are able to experience it. Although extremely uncomfortable and intense at times, it was a learning experience that I will never forget. We were able to come together as colleagues in the field and discuss our differences, as well as talk about things that weren’t so pleasant. Despite these challenges, we all got through the lab successfully and walked away understanding that we are all different, but serve a great purpose in this world. That purpose is to become great counselors in the field, while working through differences or challenges that we may face in our settings.

The most memorable lessons that I’ve learned from Arcadia’s counseling program is that it’s okay to make a mistake and that it’s important to know yourself. Throughout this program, we’ve had multiple counseling role plays and opportunities to expand on our own experience and how we can tie them into our careers as counselors. I remember my first time doing a role play and I was so nervous! Thankfully, my professors reassured me that this is the time to mess up and that I wasn’t there to be a perfect counselor, but one who knew herself and one who was able to relate to clients to create meaningful therapeutic relationships.

 Arcadia is preparing me for working as a professional counselor by offering me the best professors, with limitless knowledge of the field. With this world changing every minute, it’s important to have leaders who are aware of the changes. The professors are not only aware of the changes, but they are equipping me with the tools to keep up with everything, so that my time as an Arcadia graduate student and a counselor will be meaningful. I also believe Arcadia puts an emphasis on multiculturalism, which I think is very important to become an effective counselor in any setting. This emphasis has helped me understand who I am as a person, my experiences, where I need growth and how I can continue to blossom as a counselor. In addition, I’m learning about the differences of every person, which is such a beautiful thing when diving into diversity as well as being a woman of color. I am so excited to continue my amazing experience at Arcadia University!

Marissa Adamczyk '19

Child and Family, Trauma 

Currently employed at School-based behavior support at Child Guidance Resource Centers

I knew Arcadia’s Counseling program was the right fit for me when I instantly felt a sense of community and support from the faculty and students. I was also drawn to the program because of its professional development opportunities and concentrations, which have allowed to focus more in-depth on my populations of interest.

The knowledge and guidance I’ve received from Dr. Morrow and within his child and adolescent counseling courses in particular have been invaluable, as they have allowed me to learn about and apply evidence-based practice before I begin internship. Specifically, being offered a “tool kit” full of resources for therapy has increased a sense of confidence in my ability to become a competent counselor. The ability to explore my interests within the field by participating in outside trainings and workshops has been impactful as well.

 Arcadia’s Counseling program has taught me not only to trust my judgment, but to learn and grow from my experiences, good or bad. Most importantly, I learned how important it is to care for myself so I am better able to help others. The program has prepared me to become a professional counselor by teaching evidence-based treatment approaches while emphasizing the need to be flexible by adapting treatment to each unique client I encounter. The ability to practice through role plays and receiving feedback without fear of “failure” have been critical in my development as a competent counselor. Most importantly, I will carry with me the program’s emphasis of building rapport with clients as the foundation for facilitating change.

Marissa Sharp '19

Mental Health Counseling

During my undergraduate studies I was able to gain a lot of research experience with individuals across the life span. While I enjoyed the research being conducted, I found that what I loved most was the interactions I had with the people we were studying. In addition, I was interested in how my research was able to inform practice.

I chose Arcadia's counseling program because of it's multicultural curriculum and the mentoring opportunities with faculty. While I applied to and was accepted by multiple schools, there was no doubt in my mind that Arcadia would be the place for me. When I attended my interview for acceptance I learned how dedicated the faculty was to each of their students and knew that I would be provided with the resources necessary to reach my goals.

Dr. Morrow has been an outstanding faculty mentor. With the long term goal of obtaining my PhD in mind, Dr. Morrow helped me plan ahead and make necessary preparations. This included giving me the opportunity to revisit my first love of research and to making my first publication as a coauthor. The faculty at Arcadia truly wants to see their students excel.

Arcadia's counseling program has taught me that I as a person will never stop evolving and how important it is to be self aware. I have gained a huge appreciation for feedback and understand how incredibly valuable it is. Arcadia University is teaching me how to provide evidenced based counseling to diverse populations in culturally sensitive ways. I have learned how valuable and necessary feedback and self care are for the counselor, and the importance of being able to tailor interventions for individual clients.

Stephanie Leather '20

Trauma Concentration

My entire life has been about service. I was raised in a family where it was instilled in us from a young age that helping others was simply an essential part of life. I’ve been a problem solver since I was a child and so it only seemed natural to enter a field that allowed me to cultivate the skills I already have.

There is a very limited number of accredited Trauma programs in the country and I had loved Arcadia when I toured for undergrad. I met with Dr. Bartoli after my initial interest was peaked and within minutes if speaking to her, I was hooked. The multicultural aspects, small program and concentration were incredible, however, seeing how invested and excited she was speaking about the program she has worked to hard to create was infectious.

Dr. Bartoli has created a program that is par none. The trauma studies concentration is her passionate creation and it is obvious that she’s poured her soul into it. Her ability to support her students’ growth both personally and academically are truly inspiring. You can go to her office for concerns about school or your life in general and will leave feeling like you have a better control over it all than when you started. She is able to guide you without ever making you feel judged and truly wants what is best for each individual student.

Your world view changes when you stop asking what’s wrong with you and begin asking what’s happened to you? When you begin to consider the latter, the former seems quite harsh. Only looking at the person in front of you and neglecting the world according to them doesn’t allow you to fully grasp their story.

Dr. Bartoli asked me in my yearly advisor meeting if there was anything covered in the program thus far that went against my beliefs. I told her that everything did and it was the best possible thing. I am so much more self aware and willing to lean into controversy. I’m willing to go against those around me in defense of those unable to stand up for themselves. Perhaps most importantly, I have begun to look at the whole picture. Arcadia isn’t training me to be a better professional counselor. This program is training me to be a better human.