Lisa Wanner of Berne, Indiana, is a full-time Master of Arts degree in Counseling student in the Huntington University Graduate School. When she isn’t busy with class, homework, or her internship, Wanner works part-time at Life Matters counseling as a caseworker. There, she works with children and teenagers at South Adams Schools, linking them to services and helping them develop skills such as organization, social skills, anger management, conflict resolution skills, etc.
One of the most significant challenges that Lisa faces at her job is making occasional home visits. Some of the families that she visits live in poverty. It can be heart-wrenching to listen to their stories and see where they live, Wanner said.
“One family I regularly visited last summer had a severe outbreak of fleas in their apartment,” Wanner said. “They did not have the money to treat the fleas so during my time there I had to deal with fleas biting my feet and legs.”
Wanner began her work at Life Matters one semester after starting the graduate counseling program in the Huntington University Graduate School.
“My training as a counselor has benefitted me immensely as I’ve worked with children, teens and parents,” Wanner said. “I’ve been able to practice my counseling skills and try out some of the techniques I’ve been learning.”
Her work at the counseling center also has helped her in the classroom. Wanner said she can now make connections between what she has learned and the applications she is making in the working world, connecting faces and stories with concepts.
“Working with my clients while receiving training as a counselor has helped me gain a better understanding into thoughts, feelings, behaviors and family systems,”Wanner said.
Another advantage of the graduate counseling program is the small class size. For Wanner, it has contributed to good class discussions and made it possible for her to get to know her classmates on a deeper level—they’ve become friends and are there for each other offering extra support and encouragement.
“Because Huntington is a smaller institution, you get to know the staff and they get to know you which has definitely helped me feel supported and cared for,” Wanner said.
Wanner was led to Huntington by a friend who knew Dr. Jerry Davis, the director of graduate counseling program, and told her that Huntington was offering a Master of Arts degree in Counseling. She was already in the process of looking at schools, so she set up a meeting with Dr. Davis to learn more about the program and decided that it was a perfect fit for her.
“The flexible schedule and small class size was appealing as well as learning in a Christian environment and from a Christian worldview,” Wanner said.
Wanner appreciates the variety of theories and perspectives that HU has to offer as well as the flexibility and fairness of the program and the supportive atmosphere.
“If you choose Huntington, be prepared to work hard, to be stretched, to grow personally more than you can imagine, and to learn how to connect and rely on God in a new and fresh way,” Wanner explained. “I feel it is a decision you won’t regret. Your time at Huntington will equip you for the calling God has placed on your heart.”