Michelle Byrd

A Doctorate in the House

When you have achieved a certain level of acumen and experience within your field, it’s not uncommon to want to parlay that knowledge into helping others progressing in the profession. That’s what motivated Michelle Byrd to enroll in the new PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program at Antioch University Seattle.

Byrd is no stranger to Antioch University—she earned her MA in Psychology twenty years ago. After establishing a successful private and community mental health practice, Byrd stepped back into the Antioch University classroom as an adjunct professor. When the PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program launched last year, Byrd was quick to sign up.

“Clinical supervision has been one of my passions and this program is helping improve my depth of understanding about how supervision works, why it works, and be able to teach that,” she said.

Antioch University’s PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program is one of just three such programs in the western United States, and the only one that incorporates Antioch University’s longstanding commitment to diversity and social justice. It is also the only doctoral program with a cognate in Creative Arts Therapy.

Ned Farley, PhD, who developed and now serves as the chair of the doctoral program, says that many vacancies in counselor educators are being created—in part because current counselor educators are moving into retirement; and as the field of therapy grows, so grows the need for counselor educators and supervisors with a PhD.

Farley acknowledges that while a majority of people are drawn to the clinical practice of counseling, there is a minority who feel called to give back to the profession through training new counselors, whether in academic settings or in public and private settings.

“These are folks who love to teach, to provide supervision and mentoring, to do the research necessary to keep the profession at the top of its game,” said Farley.

That love of teaching and the desire to influence the counseling profession are what have made Michelle Byrd’s PhD pursuit so rewarding:  “Returning to the classroom after so many years has been a really rich experience.  I’m revisiting things I haven’t really studied for 20 years and am able to merge theory and practical experience like never before.”

Pursuing a PhD while still teaching and maintaining a private practice makes for some long days, but Byrd says she’s buoyed by the cohort experience: “There are six of us in the current cohort. We meet all day on Mondays and collaborate with each other online. We’re supporting each other through this process and that’s really terrific.”

Learn more about the PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision program.

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