Nicole (Rencher) Bryan, M.S., Class of 2012
It was during my year-long internship at Youth & Family Services, a busy urban agency in College Park, MD, that I discovered my great joy was working with children and their families.
I had always had a passion for promoting and protecting a culture of life and I found my therapeutic work with children and their parents, co-workers of God’s own love, to be a fulfillment of that desire.
During my internship I received supervision and consultation from expert clinicians, two of whom are world-renowned Drs. Bernard and Louise Guerney, the foremost authorities on the widely used Child-Centered Play Therapy as well as the originators of Filial Therapy and Relationship Enhancement Therapy.
I also had the privilege of being an assistant to Dr. Louise Guerney as she authored the definitive text on Group Filial Therapy, a therapeutic approach created to teach parents to be the therapeutic agents of change for their children.
Through my studies at IPS I quickly realized this method gave parents the tools “to guard, communicate and reveal love to their children” (Evangelium Vitae) —it was the Gospel of Life being lived out.
My interest in the integration of Catholic theology and psychology started in my undergraduate studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where I majored in English and minored in psychology.
I first learned about IPS at our Newman Center through a flyer posted on the bulletin board. I was in the process of applying to graduate schools for counseling and there was something so exciting, so cutting-edge and bold about IPS; I knew it was the school for me!
When I look back at my three years at IPS, I realize one of the greatest gifts I received was the example of faith, hope and love in my professors and faculty. The example they set for me of professional excellence, humble service and friendship with Jesus Christ is something I recall each day in my work.
In May 2012 I graduated from what was then known as the Masters-Plus program and joined Weaver & Associates in McLean, Virginia, a private practice devoted to helping children, adolescents and families thrive. Currently, I hold graduate level licensure in the state of Maryland and I am on my way to full licensure (LCPC). I find my work hugely rewarding and thank God for leading me to IPS.
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