Alliance Graduate School of Counseling

Graduate Spotlight: Shawn Li (MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, Class of ’23)

May 2, 2023

It was three months into the Pandemic, Shawn Li was working full-time, but she lacked fulfillment. “I was thinking, I can’t be on call for emails like this, this is disconnecting.” That’s when the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling came on her radar. “I had heard about it through friends of mine. It was word of mouth. A lot of people had great things to say about AGSC. Three years later, and now I’m here about to graduate.” 

As for what sets the Marriage and Family Therapy program here at AU apart from others, Shawn is quick to answer, and it’s two-fold: “The location, being in the heart of the city, provides an unparalleled opportunity to work with a really diverse set of clients. Different socio economic levels, different ethnic backgrounds, and different cultural backgrounds. The other aspect is that this is a Theological University. So, I chose this, not only because it was an accredited program, but there was a spiritual component to it.”

Shawn is excited to graduate, but she will miss the experiences she had with her classmates. “This was our first full semester meeting in person. There’s definitely camaraderie. The program is designed for us to do deep work. Our program director, Dr. Mercurio, has taught us that we can’t take clients where we’re not willing to go ourselves. Through that journey you develop a strong bond with the people going through it with you.” Shawn also recognizes the positive impact the cohort had on her wellness during the Pandemic. “Sharing deep truths about ourselves and having to do self reflections while in an online format was a lifeline during Covid.” 

With the Marriage and Family Therapy program going deep and causing deep introspective experiences, self-care for oneself is integral. Shawn is well aware of this and notes the importance. “Through taking care of others you need to take care of yourself. I’m very mindful of what I consume. Little things add up. Through a program like this you do notice what fills you and what depletes you.”

Shawn is very grateful for her time at AGSC. It was present very early that she made the right decision on obtaining her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy at Alliance University. “At first it was more instinct, but going through the curriculum there’s a lot more confidence and assurance there. This was definitely the right next step for me.” 

Shawn Li at the Alliance University Radio Station.

Click Here for more information on our Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Program.

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