The Heart of the Matter: Meet PGI Student Brenda Serpas

by | Sep 23, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. It was that broad focus that made Phillips Graduate Institute student Brenda Serpas choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in the field when she was a college student at Cal State Northridge.

These larger issues were the ones that truly seemed important, and as she looked for a job after graduation, she searched for ways in which she might work towards their answers in her day-to-day career. Now, however, she was curious about the individuals and families who made up the communities she had studied back in college.

She took a position coordinating care in a residential rehabilitation facility for adolescents. She found meaning in the task of helping care for these young adults and being part of their journey towards wellness. The experience she gained from working and collaborating with the different members of a treatment team inspired her to take her clinical skills to the next level and decide to train as a marriage and family therapist.

“The clinical work seemed to really get at the heart of the challenges many of our clients faced,” she says. “But I really became passionate about the story behind the symptoms. These kids were more than their diagnoses and being part of their treatment was so inspiring.”

After looking around at other counseling psychology programs, Brenda found Phillips Graduate Institute. She was impressed, she says, by the caring attitude of all the professors she met at their information session. Their genuineness and passion for teaching marriage and family therapy really shone through and were a major factor in her decision to enroll.

Today, she reports that her intuition about PGI was correct: the professors really care, are willing to go the extra mile to support their students, help students learn the course material, and understand what’s most important.

Her advice to those considering the program? “Trust your intuition,” she says. “I had a good feeling about PGI, and that really proved to be true. The school doesn’t just teach you how to be a marriage and family therapist, but helps you grow into becoming a better human being, too.”

“For many of us, our undergraduate school experience might have been a time of exploration and getting your degree to fulfill expectations. Graduate school is about truly investing in yourself by taking the time to focus on your true interests and passions. I’d suggest any new student at Phillips take a moment to congratulate themselves for taking this exciting step. I would say, think about what you really want to get out of this experience and come with an open mind and heart.”

Brenda will be graduating in the spring of 2021.