WAMFT wants to highlight members who are contributing to our Washington MFT community. Learn more from our Pre-Clinical Committee Chair, Krista Merca's Q&A with student member, Avery Whittington about his journey to becoming an MFT and his involvement with WAMFT.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a LMFT/LMFTA/MFT Student.
I decided to pursue a dream of becoming a therapist after deferring it for years. I majored in Psychology in college but my school actively discouraged us from pursuing clinical practice so I went into Higher Education instead. I completed a Master's in Student Development Administration at Seattle University in 2018 and then went head-first into a career in Student Affairs. I am a person who tries to be in touch with my core values on a regular basis, so it did not take many years for me to realize that I did not want to build a career in education. I wanted the ability to directly provide tangible skills to community members. After confirming my desires through working in a community mentorship nonprofit for 2 years, I decided to apply for graduate school - again.
Since becoming a student, I have been able to pursue projects which connect to both of my professional paths. During my first terms at Antioch University in the Couples and Family Therapy program, I noticed that many of my peers were struggling with the logistics of returning to school and that was a barrier to them becoming even better future therapists. In response to that community need, I created the only online comprehensive graduate prep course, Thriving in Grad School. The course includes 15 hours of video content that equips students with information about how to get the most out of their relationship with their academic advisor, how to fund graduate school, professional development within the first year of school, and much more! I am proud to say that the course was built with community and accessibility in mind so the course is built as modules that can be completed in any order, as each student needs, and includes opportunities for graduate students to connect throughout. You can find out more about Thriving in Grad school at thrivingingradschool.thinkific.com. The whole first lesson is free because I believe in consumers making informed decisions about monetary investments. Additionally, to recognize my appreciation for the Antioch University and WAMFT communities which have become my new professional homes, I am happy to offer a 25% discount to anyone who uses the code WAMFT when signing up for the course.
What is your current occupation?
Along with being a full-time Couples and Family Therapy student at Antioch University, I also work there full-time as the Program Associate for Undergraduate programs. In that role, I serve as the sole administrative support for undergraduate programs on Antioch's Seattle campus.
Why did you join WAMFT?
I joined WAMFT for the opportunity to immerse myself in the local (Seattle and WA) professional community. I am pivoting sectors from education so I find it invaluable to get an understanding of the norms, values, and goals of our field. I recognize that I am a representative of WAMFT and systemic therapy when I socially share that I'm pursuing LMFT, and I find that being active in WAMFT helps me stay abreast of movements in the field.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with WAMFT?
To be honest, I don't know that I have volunteered with WAMFT. I have attended some events though and what I enjoy most is how thoughtful practicing clinicians are about sharing resources that would may help us budding therapy students. I feel that even as a student, my perspective and learning is valued by the organization and I think that's special.
Do you have any advice to share with the MFT community in taking their own next steps
This is a research interest of mind that I have not yet had time to dig into, so I apologize if this is already being addressed in specific ways - I want to see more QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) therapists. What are the barriers that exist within therapy education and the field that limits our representation? What is the social stigma for QTPOC around MFT? How are we as a field systemically addressing these issues beyond just encouraging the exceptional few?