Soaring Beyond: Jaclyn Contreras

Meet Jaclyn! She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies in 2015. She is currently working as a Clinical Supervisor with Mosaic Family Services

We asked Jaclyn some questions, advice for current students, and how UNT helped them to succeed and SOAR BEYOND!

When you started at UNT, what were your plans after graduation? How have these plans changed? My original plan was to go all the way for a doctorate in psychology so I could become a psychologist. In one of my classes, I learned you could become a Licensed Professional Counselor without a Ph.D., and help people faster. The only difference to these plans was at what level I would stop my education level, but I always knew I was going to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree.  

What advice do you have for prospective or current students as they decide what they want their next steps to be? Get as much experience as possible! There are so many FREE opportunities at UNT, to learn from and to help guide what exactly you want your next steps to be. I took a random elective and it helped solidify my career plans. Also, it sets you apart from everyone else who has the same degree as you, if you have some experience in the field. Joining a sorority also really helped me learn the skills to dress well, have confidence in myself, and to have high standards for myself which helped me have high standards for the places I’ve been employed for.  

How did your program at UNT help you to feel prepared for this role? During my advising sessions, the advisors would ask really great questions that always helped me expand on my ideas and goals. From there I could create a checklist of goals I wanted to accomplish before graduating. I also gained knowledge and different experiences from my professors that helped narrow the population I wanted to work with. 

How did you find your current role?  In my Master’s program, after UNT, it was required that I complete a two-semester internship. My site liked my hard work ethic, my previous experience I had working with adolescents (thanks UNT!) and offered me a position once I graduated.  

What was the toughest interview question they asked you? In the specific field I was going into the toughest question I was asked: “How do you create a therapeutic relationship with those who have been trafficked?” It was a hard question as I was newer to the field, and there are so many nuances when trying to build a therapeutic relationship in general and then you add the trauma of trafficking that it became a very long answer.  

What was the toughest challenge you have faced in your role and industry?  My current challenge is my title. My license is listed as LPC Intern until I gain 1,500 direct counseling hours and 1,500 indirect counseling hours. This added a certain stigma with some of my clients as they believed that I was still in school with the title of “Intern”, then I would have to explain that I did in fact have my master’s degree and was under supervision until I worked to the above requirements. Thankfully,  Texas has now renamed us to LPC Associates, and some of the stigmas have been alleviated.  

Would you like to be featured in our Soaring Beyond Success Series? Submit your story here and email Jeanette Hickl. We’d love to share your story!

By Jeanette Hickl
Jeanette Hickl Jeanette Hickl