After enduring the twin blows of a devastating personal loss, and the economic blows of a worldwide pandemic to his already stressful restaurant business, Padraic Aubrey, known as “Paddy” to friends and family, decided it was time for a change. A graduate of Skidmore College, he decided to pursue a Master’s in Counseling, parlaying his life experiences and interest in the human condition into a new career. He didn’t choose Phillips Graduate Institute at first. Instead, he enrolled at one of the graduate school’s competitors in the Los Angeles area.
Unprompted, he’ll tell you this decision soon felt like a mistake.
“The place seemed like they weren’t “walking the talk” of the material they were covering in the classroom. We were studying psychotherapy as a means to personal growth, but there didn’t seem to be an emphasis on working on your own personal growth or developing the kind of self awareness we’d need as clinicians. There also weren’t opportunities for hands-on experiences as clinicians within the program, at least until graduation. I didn’t want to wait that long to practice what I was reading about.”
After six months, he decided to leave the program. Researching other possibilities, he met with a friend who recommended Phillips Graduate Institute. Paddy visited, and was sold on the unique journey Phillips provides its students. He enrolled immediately.
“I found my tribe. My peers are people from all kinds of backgrounds. Many have had successful careers in other fields before choosing to come to Phillips. They have real life experience to draw upon in their new roles as psychotherapists.”
Paddy shared that his Phillips professors have been excellent, with Shelly Stee and Fereshteh Mazdyasni as particular standouts. The experience working with clients at CalFam Counseling Center in ones’ first year as a master’s candidate has also proved gratifying, he says. “It’s great to get to sit with people right away, to learn by experience along with the academic training.”
Today, halfway through the program, Paddy finds himself drawn to postmodern theory as a new therapist. And in the future?
“There is a lot of dysfunction in the back of the house in your typical restaurant. Employees struggling with high stress environments, substance abuse… and there are few options for treatment or learning healthy coping strategies available. Maybe I’ll find a way to address that as a psychotherapist.”