Counselling has the potential to change the world. Our experiences in childhood shape who we become, how we think, and how we externally/internally perceive the world. Trauma in childhood causes a negative effect on every aspect of an adult’s life. As a child I endured every type of abuse and trauma; I was raised in foster care and aged out of the system at 18-years-old. This was a major challenge in my life, as my self-esteem, cognition, and perceptions where all damaged and negatively affected. My psychosocial development was hindered as well, causing constant chaos in my life. I did not know how to function as an adult, nor did I understand what adulthood entailed; I lived for the day with no consideration of tomorrow. I moved from state-to-state until I landed in Houston, TX in 2007. My life was in shambles, I was broken and alone. The course of my life didn’t change until 2010, at 24-years of age, when I went to a local rehab for drug addiction; I was six months pregnant with my daughter Grace. At 25-years old, I began to repair the damage from my childhood using cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy with a therapist. However, at age 29, in 2015, I began suffering from severe mood swings. While they were always present, they had intensified to the point where I was no longer the only one suffering; my husband recommended that I see a psychiatrist, I did. I was diagnosed with bipolar 1, PTSD, ADHD and borderline personality disorder both an effect of nature and nurture. Unfortunately, I could not afford to do both therapies and see a psychiatrist every month. However, I was suffering from symptoms related to borderline personality disorder, which requires therapy. I researched the internet knowing there had to be something I could do to help myself; I found a self-help therapy site. This site included DBT and CBT self-help sheets, smartphone applications, and books, all of which I utilized. After a year I grew unbelievably as a person, and I had an instinctual desire to help others do the same. That is when I decided to enroll into Post University, in 2016; a private university in Connecticut where I am from. In June I will graduate, breaking history in my family as the first one to obtain a degree. Graduating from Post will give my maternal grandparents the opportunity to watch me walk across the stage as they still live in Connecticut. Subsequently, Post does not offer the graduate program that I need; however, the University of St. Thomas does. I was accepted into the University of St. Thomas and will begin graduate school this fall. I must work harder than most students as I struggle with mental illness. However, it does not stop me or slow me down; it only drives me to work harder. It is imperative in my life today to maintain my mental health. I have seen the same psychiatrist since I was diagnosed. I have remained on my medication and focused all my energy on maintaining the balance of my mind and body. This is accomplished through yoga, meditation, medication compliance, eating healthy, painting, and reading. My clients will benefit from my experiences as I have struggled in the same ways they have; while maintaining my mental health. I know my personal experience with mental health will assist in influencing my clients to do the same. I desperately need funding to become a licensed professional counselor. My dream is to offer services to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay; I want to help people overcome their pasts and triumph their future. Therapy can change the world; I want to help by changing one person at a time. In 2016, I had an amazing opportunity, from a part-time job I had. They asked me to run a charitable benefit for a local organization of my choosing; I choose Santa Maria, a shelter and rehabilitation center for women and children. This local organization had helped me and my children during the early parts of my sobriety. All the women and children who attended received some type of gift, it was a major success. I have had the opportunity to go into the prisons, jails, rehabilitation centers and other local organizations to tell my recovery story, to inspire others and to share hope. The past couple years I have had the opportunity to volunteer for an organization in Houston called P.E.A.C.E. The education I will receive from St. Thomas will touch so many lives, I want to share the beauty of life with others. I have the authenticity and heart of Carl Rogers; with the spiritual inclinations of Carl Jung. I believe in therapy, furthermore, I believe the structures in the brain are affected by trauma and abuse but can be repaired by therapy and I want help to prove this. With funding to complete my program I know, I can impact my community and my family.
My financial aid is currently maxed out from undergrad school; St. Thomas University's tuition for Spring, Summer, and Fall classes will cost me roughly $24,000 per year plus the cost of books and materials. Your donation will allow me to succeed in achieving a lifelong dream of being educated and licensed in a field that has truly changed my life for the better as well as giving me the opportunity to pay it forward and change other people's lives. Please help me so that I may one day help others.