CIIS Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Bryant, Community Mental Health ’12


One of the things I’d like to ask is how
each of you came to be in the field and what brought you to become a therapist? Well I
am a graduate of the Community Mental Health program here at CIIS. It was really
the youth from my own community that inspired me to get my master’s degree
and become a therapist. Probably 17 of my focus group had witnessed some violent
crime. I was working at Alameda County with transition age youth and they kept
asking me Rachel why can’t you be my therapist because they wanted a
therapist who would believe what was happening in their community. Rachel
Pepper we were in the same cohort together so Channing is in the ICP
program graduating in May there really wasn’t another program like the
community mental health program it was designed to work with people who wanted
to work in public mental health not necessarily to become a private
therapist and that was exactly what I wanted to do. Also I was working full
time and I’m a single parent. It just worked for my life. There’s clinical training
that I received it was was perhaps the most rewarding. I got a chance to work at
housing site here in San Francisco for were formerly homeless families.
There was one client that I worked with who was in her 80s and so just working
with her around end-of-life issues and transitioning in her consciousness. So
that was really enriching. The students that this program attracts are amazing
so I learned as much from them as I did from the faculty and from the readings
and even from my clinical experience. Some of the people that I was in class
with are now supervisors, hiring supervisors, and so I can tap into that
network. The day that everybody’s degree is confirmed since I’ve graduated I was
called to be the Director of the Mental Health Services Act grant here. A lot of
them are the hiring supervisors. And that’s my proudest achievement
here at CIIS, because I’ve been helping to launch the careers of other students. I
couldn’t imagine getting my master’s degree at any other school. I felt like I
could bring my full self to the classroom, that I didn’t have to leave
some of my identities behind and that’s what made the cohort experience so rich.

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