Kate Murphy was the Residence Hall Director at Vermont State University’s Lyndon campus when she began graduate school to earn her M.A. in Counseling with a concentration in Substance Addiction. Kate’s initial goal was to work her way into higher education — which she did, but not in the way she expected. When Kate began the coursework in her graduate program, she fell in love with counseling.
Kate loved the group counseling intensive and weekend group dynamics classes, the small classes, and individual attention. She appreciated that students “were required to receive 25 hours of our own therapy so we understood what it was like to be on the other side of the conversation,” she shared, “because we must understand the impact we have on other lives as practitioners.”
This wisdom is something she brings into the master’s- and doctorate-level counseling classes she teaches now — which is just what one of her professors predicted she would go on to do.
But first, she set out to “cut her teeth” on the issues and care needs within community mental health.
Right after her NVU graduation, Kate began a 10-year career in community mental health, working with adult outpatient clients and managing an acute care services department. She worked with “really challenging clients,” she said, and used everything she learned in graduate school, including her concentration on substance addiction.
From Community Mental Health to College Professor
And after all that time, she was “so tired.” Kate felt like the system was broken. She wanted to be able to create change but needed more credentials to do so, she said. So she went back to school, this time to earn her Psy.D.
She quickly found that the M.A. in Counseling program was “hugely foundational” for her Psy.D. program, Kate said, with 60 of her credits applied directly toward her 120-credit doctorate. “I was really able to step into this program at a higher level, and I had an advantage compared to others who didn’t have a dual program at the master’s level,” she said.
Gaining her PsyD also led to an opportunity to teach. Kate was hired as an adjunct professor for a few years at Rivier University, where she earned her Psy.D., and also went on to begin a private counseling practice and work as a school psychologist at the same time. In summer 2020, she was hired into a full-time faculty position at Rivier, while continuing to work part-time as a school psychologist in a K-3 setting.