Congratulations Class of 2013!

0 Commentsby   |  08.27.13  |  Uncategorized

On the evening of August 8, 2013, the MFT program honored it’s newest group of alumni. Twenty-one graduating students along with family members, friends, faculty, and staff celebrated the completion of two years of classes, at least 500 hours of client contact, and their personal and professional growth through the course of the program.

Three awards are given to students by the faculty and staff at the banquet each year. This year’s Outstanding First Year Student was Matthew Stephens. Since he began in the program last fall, the faculty have been impressed with Matthew’s maturity, professionalism, and his eagerness to learn. If a faculty member mentions a book that isn’t necessarily required for class, Matthew will read it on his own.

Outstanding Intern award recipient, Zach Austin, with Dr. Sara Blakeslee

Outstanding Intern award recipient, Zach Austin, with Dr. Sara Blakeslee


The Outstanding Intern award goes to the graduating student who performs at an exceptional level in both his academic and clinical work. Zach Austin was selected for this award. Zach was the first student who was selected to complete an internship at CitySquare over the summer, and the faculty have been continually impressed by his cultural competence and sensitivity that go far beyond his level of experience. Additionally, Zach is a gifted therapist, and one of the faculty noted on a number of occasions that as Zach’s supervisor, he had the opportunity to witness some of the best clinical work he had ever observed being done by a student.

Meredith Platt received the Spirit of the Counselor award. This award is reserved for the student who most fully demonstrates the incarnational aspects of the therapeutic relationship. Meredith is also seeking a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from the Graduate School of Theology at ACU and hopes to spend her career in formal ministry with a local church. Meredith demonstrated the ways in which professional therapy can be ethical and respectful of each client’s values and beliefs while also believing that she is ministering to their spiritual needs, even when not overtly discussed.

Spirit of the Counselor award recipient, Meredith Platt, with Dr. Jaime Goff

Spirit of the Counselor award recipient, Meredith Platt, with Dr. Jaime Goff

Matthew, Zach, and Meredith are just three examples of the outstanding students we are blessed to have in the MFT program at ACU. Each year, as another group of students graduates and goes out into the world in community mental health, private practice, church ministry, or doctoral work, I am filled with a renewed sense of hope for the reconciliation and healing that will come about through their work.

At the end of each banquet, it has become my tradition to share this Franciscan blessing with them, and I hope it will bless you as well:

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

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