Graduate Alum Focus | Joe Morrissette
"As counselors, we rely on our ability to develop meaningful relationships with those that we serve. Each Hood faculty member of the Counseling Program modeled this important characteristic with every student. Faculty members are highly qualified to provide expert training to blossoming psychotherapists."
Joseph Morrissette, M.S. Counseling'20
- Counseling, Clinical Mental Health (M.S.)
- Counseling, School Counseling (M.S.)
- Psychology & Counseling
Hood alum, Joe Morrissette, earned his MS. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in May 2020. He is a double blazer having also earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Hood. Joe is currently working with the social work team on the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) at Frederick Health Hospital.
Please tell us about your background. Include any general background that you would like to share, as well as your educational and career background.
Throughout my life I have been surrounded by civil servants and community activists. I am lucky to call them my mentors, friends, and family members.
My high school summers were spent working for the locally owned, Shenandoah Mountain Guides and Team Link who partnered with the CASS Program at Frederick County Public Schools to offer the Adventure Extreme Program for adolescents with significant behavioral and emotional challenges.
I learned that I had a passion to serve others, especially youth, while on backcountry outings. Soon thereafter, I spent several years working as a behavior specialist at Brook Lane Health Services’ Laurel Hall School in Frederick. This is a locked door, non-public charter serving youth 5 to 21 years with severe emotional and behavioral challenges.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Hood College in 2014, and became the lead behavior specialist overseeing 15 support staff. There are countless connections and benefits to be drawn from the study of wisdom and mental health counseling which I carry with me in my daily work.
While in graduate school, I worked as the program supervisor at Camp Journey Respite Program. This service of the Child and Adolescent Division of Way Station, Inc. is an eight-bed facility providing overnight, recreation-based programming to adolescents aged 11 to 18 with varying needs from eight Maryland counties including Frederick. Camp Journey is a preventative service that aims to keep families together by limiting the need for out-of-home placements for children and adolescents.
Immediately after completing my Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and obtaining licensure as a licensed graduate professional counselor (LGPC), I began work with the social work team on the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) at Frederick Health Hospital. The BHU is a 21-bed, inpatient psychiatric unit serving adults with chronic mental illness.
You’re a double blazer. What made you choose Hood Graduate School and your program of study in particular for your master’s degree?
I knew that I wanted to pursue licensure as a mental health clinician in order to further my career and help people more broadly. The decision became whether to pursue Social Work, or Counseling.
I spoke with several clinicians with whom I had close professional relationships with, and decided that I would be better served by the specialized training in psychotherapy. I was passionate about continuing my career in the Frederick area and did not wish to sacrifice the benefits of in-person learning. Choosing Hood College again became an easy decision.
When I was accepted into the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, I met with an assistant professor to ask questions and to get a feel for the culture of the program and felt welcomed into the program with open arms!
The small class sizes and individualized approach to student development were the deciding factors for me in choosing Hood.
Our specialized field differs from other programs of study. As counselors, we rely on our ability to develop meaningful relationships with those that we serve. Each Hood faculty member of the Counseling Program modeled this important characteristic with every student. Faculty members are highly qualified to provide expert training to blossoming psychotherapists.
How has your graduate degree helped further your career and/or your life?
Earning a masters has provided me with the specialized training I needed to better serve clients/patients, and my community as a whole.
I obtained licensure one week after my master’s graduation. At the same time, I secured employment in a role that I had spent part of my internship requirement in.
I am confident in my ability to effectively offer varying treatment modalities to differing clients/patients in a range of therapeutic settings with an array of mental health struggles.
What did you enjoy about Hood College? Do you have a favorite memory?
I spent two semesters at the Hood College Counseling Center as a counselor intern. I had the opportunity to meet many inspiring individuals who were completing undergraduate and graduate coursework.
The Hood family is composed of a diverse, driven group of people who care deeply for one another and the wellbeing of their community. Hood witnessed a few hateful acts of vandalism in the fall of 2019. In the face of cowardice and racism, the Hood College student body and faculty came together in a profound and resilient manner. The No Hate at Hood March and the spirit that it represented stands out in my mind.
In a similar manner, the Counseling Program’s faculty response to the incredible hardships initially posed by the COVID outbreak in early spring 2020 was impressive and memorable.
When so many things were uncertain, the graduating class of 2020 could be sure that our faculty members were working hard and doing their best to make certain we completed our program on time without sacrificing the quality of training that we required, and our future clients/patients deserved.