With a BS from John Brown University in graphic design and another in digital media arts, one might have predicted that Sherrie Rohde would have a successful career in the digital media industry. Indeed, she worked for well known companies like Adobe and Magento in multiple roles, including as a community manager and developer relations lead. And yet, it’s also obvious in speaking with Sherrie that her interpersonal skills have always been at the forefront in all of her professional roles.
“It’s really been a journey for me about following my heart. I enjoyed my work in the digital arena, but felt like I could make a different impact on others and the world with my work in mental health.”
It was while in psychotherapy herself that Sherrie realized she not only enjoyed listening to and helping others, but could also turn this caring into a potential career. Looking into different Los Angeles-based Masters Programs in Marriage and Family Counseling, she decided it was PGI’s emphasis on personal relationships that made PGI the right choice for the next step in her career journey.
“I love the cohort model at Phillips, which really lets you get to know yourself and your classmates over the different semesters. I learn so much more just processing all the material from my coursework with my group. I also feel like the professors are really involved in making sure we are succeeding in the program. They don’t just lecture, they interact.”
Sherrie reports her experience in the digital world allowed her to easily transition to classes online at Phillips during the pandemic.
“Phillips makes it really easy to get and stay organized each semester. I am also loving being a trainee, developing therapeutic relationships with all kinds of clients. Actually, doing the work has made it clear that this is a good path forward for me.”
And within her own family, Sherrie is not alone in her pursuit of academic success. She is also the proud owner of Sunny, a Chihuahua mix rescue pup who recently became an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen, a common pre-requisite to becoming a therapy dog, in addition to serving as Sherrie’ own emotional support animal. As Sherrie points out, there are several interesting studies that indicate positive human and animal interactions can reinforce the benefits of the therapeutic process. Becoming a therapy dog team, will allow Sunny and Sherrie to volunteer together. However, they also have plans to pursue an Animal Assisted Counseling program after graduating from Phillips so that Sunny can work alongside Sherrie to help clients through canine assisted psychotherapy.
‘I’m really excited about the future,” Sherrie says. “The opportunities in this field are endless for someone who enjoys learning.”