Keiko Sano

The Warm Circle of a Supportive PhD Cohort

After my first year, in the first cohort, in the PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program, I find myself to be more centered and my perspectives widened. The PhD program has helped me explore and understand my identity better and to connect with others more deeply. As a recent Japanese immigrant, I’m focused on multicultural issues in counseling and counselor training—topics that are difficult to research as there are limited resources available. In the past, there were times when it was easier to ignore my cultural identity in order to fit in with the mainstream counseling culture. This attitude confused my cultural identity and clinical work. But at Antioch, I’m gaining more knowledge along with the ability to be comfortable with myself, and I can pursue multicultural work with confidence. As I become more comfortable with myself, my ability to hold my client’s uncertainties and challenges has increased.

At first, being in the program’s cohort was challenging because I was afraid of the unknown. After our first year, however, our cohort has developed strong interpersonal connections and have grown together, and I know we can overcome any obstacle and challenge. This tight connection and support allows me to focus on the present moment, and be in the present, without worrying about the unknown.

This shift happened with the support of my instructors and cohort as a group, a circle of support. This warm circle is where I feel safe to explore and share about myself, and I’m growing by learning about their unique and valuable experiences. I joined the program to gain tools to pursue multicultural studies, and I’m getting so much more from it. I’m now focusing on how to share my education here with other counselors and counselor trainees.

I appreciate how this program is tailored to my needs as a person and clinician and what I want to get out of it. I consider my cohort and advisors my American family, and I want to pay forward all the support and positive culture I received and helped develop in the first cohort to the next.

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