Jim Donahue, M.S., Class of 2010
“While it is becoming more and more apparent to me that the degree to which the person can suffer is immense and can be overwhelming, the ability of the human person to overcome that suffering through hope is never lost.”
High school counselor Jim Donahue, M.S. (2010), returns to his alma mater to mentor and guide students on their road to success.
Jim, why did you decide to pursue your M.S. in Clinical Psychology at IPS?
My decision to attend IPS came out of a strong desire to guide others towards health and happiness. Growing up, I experienced the tremendous gift of living in a loving, supportive, and value driven family. As I got older, I began to realize the rarity of the gift of my family. I lived in an environment where I was able to develop a sense of confidence, freedom, health, and gratitude.
As I began planning my career, I wanted to learn the skills to help those who are less fortunate, who may have not had the strong family that I have been given. IPS was the answer.
I ultimately chose IPS because I identified with its mission. It is an institute built on the foundation of understanding the human person. I believed that enabling others to grow beyond their suffering and develop a flourishing life is not only possible, but also necessary for the development of health and happiness. In addition, IPS understands and values the need to rebuild the family as being a central aspect of helping the field of clinical psychology.
At IPS I learned how to put the faith, formation and beliefs that I possess into action. The way my professors clung to truth and to the hope of helping the human person flourish was impressive and inspiring.
Additionally, and slightly unexpectedly, IPS helped me to have a deeper understanding of my own personhood, of my masculinity, and of my vocation.
Where are you presently working?
In August of 2012, I began working as a counselor at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA, the city’s only all boys Catholic school. As counselor, my role is to support, mentor, guide, and direct students on a path to achieve success in both their high school career, and in future endeavors as alumni.
The charism of the Lasallian brothers, the founders of Central, encourages students to not simply live, but, to live well in the spirit of brotherhood through faith, service, and scholarship. For me, it is a particularly special opportunity to return to my alma mater in service to its mission with the skills I possess as a result of my education at IPS.
Prior to joining the staff at Central Catholic High School, I worked at the Holy Family Institute in Pittsburgh, PA as a mental health clinician. Holy Family’s mission is to empower children and families to lead responsible lives and develop healthy relationships built on faith, hope and love. Often, many of the cases are court ordered and I made recommendations whether the children would be placed in a type of behavioral school or home.
Every day I entered into the pain of broken families and hurting children. I relied on the skills I learned and practiced at IPS daily. Often, as a way of persevering through the emotional difficulty that is inherent in confronting so much suffering, I reminded myself of the faith and hope I witnessed in the lives and careers of my IPS professors.
They taught me that the flourishing life is not simply an intellectual idea or dream; it is a real and possible reality. It relies on confident clinicians who can live it in their own lives, and demonstrate it for others so that they may experience it for themselves.
My hope for the future is to continue to apply and deepen the values and skills I learned while studying at IPS so that I can help each person I encounter throughout my career. I encourage all interested in IPS and all those who attend the school to take advantage of the unique opportunity that an IPS education provides.
While it is becoming more and more apparent to me that the degree to which the person can suffer is immense and can be overwhelming, the ability of the human person to overcome that suffering through hope is never lost.