Human psychology has always fascinated Alexandra Herren. Her desire to help others achieve a fulfilling life through therapy led her to Radford University’s doctoral program in counseling psychology.
“I have always been curious about why people do the things they do,” Herren said. “I love to see the way people transform once they regain hope that things can change.”
After completing her master’s degree at a university in another state, Herren set out to find a doctoral program in counseling psychology. When she began researching programs, Radford University stood out.
“It is one of very few universities with a focus on rural mental health. Because of that, my choice was clear,” Herren said. “The more I heard about Radford’s program, the more I knew it was the right fit for me.”
Herren values the connections she has developed with her professors and is positively influenced by their deep understanding of counseling psychology and the encouragement they provide.
“Each professor has a genuine interest in helping students achieve excellence in therapy and research,” she said.
Herren has worked as a practicum student for the university’s student counseling center, and at local community mental health centers. Her assistantship at Radford University’s Center for Assessment and Psychological Services has allowed her to gain further testing experience as well.
Through the course of the program Herren has found her research interests centering not just on rural mental health, but also on animal-assisted therapy and the mental health issues facing military families. Herren’s dissertation is a qualitative study on veterans transitioning to college life. Her concern for military families and veterans was sparked by her father’s military service and the experiences he and his comrades faced upon their return home from war zones.
After graduation, Herren would like to either work with children and adolescents using animal-assisted therapy or with military veterans at a medical center or outpatient facility.