Luke Heath ’20
MA in Clinical Psychology
Current Occupation: Psychonaut
Why did you choose the Clinical Psychology program at SMC?
I chose to attend St. Mike’s Clinical Psychology program in response to their welcoming nature. The other institutions I had considered touted competitiveness and narrow chances of admission. Saint Mike’s marketing strategy, their application process, the individuals whom I interacted with and was interviewed by were all immediately welcoming. Before committing to the program, I had already felt a connection that only grew stronger. The feelings and sentiment I had while considering Saint Mike’s were reinforced by a genuine commitment and concern by professors and administrators who clearly cared about my professional and personal development. I’m also amazed at how close I became to my peers – I now laugh with them and call them friends.
What are your post-graduation plans now that you have graduated from Saint Mike’s?
Post-graduation I have many plans. Long-term, I intend to open a private counseling practice. My training at St. Mikes has opened many professional doors which is reassuring, but my independence requires much autonomy and freedom in the workplace. This reality necessitates a responsibility of much further learning. Being an active participant in a person’s growth and healing is no simple task. It requires self-knowledge, empathy, sensitivity, intuition, knowledge of human behavior and experience, and humility, to name a few. St. Michael’s Clinical Psych program understands and teaches what the art of healing takes. The teachers, director, and the resulting curriculum seem designed to instill the field’s best practices while highlighting that each student has to find their own personal way to becoming a thoughtful, caring, and effective professional. In my short-term future, I’m going to take all that to heart. I budgeted during the program to take a hiatus from work to travel and reflect on my experience. I have an unhealthy stack of books waiting to be opened. I started the program with a list of searing questions which were quickly answered and birthed more complicated questions, some that might not have an answer. I’ll turn to art, music, dance, food, and travel to explore those ideas through experience. I’ll also enroll in flight school because I want to scare myself.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of enrolling in the program?
The Clinical Psych program is best fit for people who have passion for striving to understand the complexity of life and what it takes to heal. The Clinical Psych program will provide freedom to pursue the areas of human experience that most interest you. Through this process, one naturally gains a better understanding of who they are. So in taking seriously the program’s content and direction, the aspiring clinician will learn about human growth and insight through first hand experience. No other experience is as powerful as this. Anyone pursuing this degree should think to commit themselves as deeply as possible. The harder one searches the more they’ll find. I’ve completed the coursework and gained the degree. More importantly, I’ve learned first hand what it means to accept another and to be accepted. What it feels like to see another and to be seen. Explaining how these moments are created, sustained, and contribute to growth and healing is beyond this statement. Committing to this program will be a commitment to the wellbeing of others and a commitment to the wellbeing of yourself. Granted, it takes hard work, but that’s where the gold lies.