Loo Gen Seah-McCrea knows that at Grace, we offer more than a degree. When you graduate from our online Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs, you will have a ticket to start your future career.
For Seah-McCrea, it led to becoming a full-time clinical mental health therapist for Jewish Family Services, an agency in Michigan that works with a variety of clients, including refugees from around the world. She also works part-time in a private practice that offers telehealth counseling.
A College That Fit
From the start, Seah-McCrea knew that she needed college to fit her schedule. As a stay-at-home mom living in Michigan, finding online counseling graduate programs was a must. “I was drawn to the graduate counseling program at Grace because it was offered by an established Christian college and it met the stringent accreditation standards set by CACREP,” Seah-McCrea said.
Seah-McCrea soon learned that at Grace, she could integrate her faith and her counseling education. “One of the most significant benefits I derived from the graduate counseling program was having the opportunity to learn from fellow Christians, both faculty members and classmates alike, in a nationally accredited counseling program.”
Even with the program being online, Seah-McCrea made valuable connections with her peers. She said, “By the time I graduated, I befriended many gifted and dedicated people who have a burden to serve others and meet the mental health needs of their own communities across the United States.”
Seah-McCrea felt that her training from Grace did far more than provide practical skills for her career. “Grace provided me with a head-start in terms of knowing how to manage my time more effectively, learning how to balance my work/study and family life, enhancing my academic writing and research skills, and collaborating with others on the internet,” she said.
A Supportive Community
Grace’s counseling graduate program includes one week each year where students come to campus for Residency week. During Residency, students interact with their fellow students and faculty while completing specific academic coursework.
Seah-McCrea believes that her time during Residency was a significant part of her education. “The program’s faculty members often go out of their way to provide creative and unique experiences during Residency which are not available to online students during the rest of the academic year.”
Because online clinical mental health counseling programs take away the face-to-face contact of in-person classes, Seah-McCrea values the opportunity for connection that the Residency gave. “The yearly Residency allowed students and faculty to get to know each other on a more personal level and to build a professional network, which was even more special because it took place on the beautiful campus of Grace College during the summer.”
Counseling with Grace
In 2018, Grace professors Dr. Jill Brue and Dr. Rhonda Ladd encouraged Seah-McCrea to apply for the NBCC Foundation Minority Fellowship Program, through which she won the award for Master’s Level Youth Mental Health Counseling. Seah-McCrea said that Dr. Brue and Dr. Ladd and their “encouragement and support has allowed me to be more bold about taking steps toward my career goals.”
It was at a conference as part of her NBCC program that she met her future employer, Jewish Family Services. She started at the organization as an intern and was offered a job after graduation.
As a full-time therapist, Seah-McCrea has used her experiences at Grace as a backing for her job. “Being a graduate of a CACREP-accredited counseling program at Grace has provided me with a wider professional and spiritual perspective of what it means to be a competent counselor,” she said.
The range of Seah-McCrea’s clients is very diverse. While most are from the United States, she also works with refugees and immigrants from countries such as Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Seah-McCrea finds her work with refugees humbling. “What some of them have seen or experienced before they stepped foot on American soil are stories of personal burdens and sacrifices,” she said.
The refugees and immigrants, Seah-McCrea said, come to America to seek a better and more peaceful life. Jewish Family Services provides space for them to transition to American culture and seek support for their past trauma.
After years of hard work, Seah-McCrea knows how valuable a degree from Grace truly is. She left as not only a graduate but as a professional ready to enter the workforce. The integration of faith into her curriculum challenged her to look at the impact of her work on a larger scale.
“The encouragement I received from some of my professors and the classes I took at Grace has inspired me to continue developing my professional identity as a counselor and to integrate the same as part of my faith and life ministry,” Seah-McCrea said.
We know that you have a heart for helping others, and you do not have to do it alone. Not only will our faculty and our counseling graduate programs give you the basic knowledge you need, but they will also empower you to use your skills to touch the lives of others. Let us be the next step in the path God is leading you on.
View our online clinical mental health counseling programs for more information on how you can use your skills to make a difference in the lives of others.