Avary Brinker '21 MFT Headshot

Avary Brinker '21 MFT

Building Foundations for her Future

Building strong relationships is one of the most important facets of Avary Brinker's career. At MMU, she learned from faculty who implemented this in every class.

MMU: Why do you want to be in a helping profession? How did your passion in marriage and family therapy begin?

AB: I’ve wanted to help people before I even knew the right way. When I originally entered undergrad, I wanted to major in international studies because I thought that meant traveling and helping people. I find learning about people fascinating and think you can gain so much understanding by working with families as well.

I find learning about people fascinating and think you can gain so much understanding by working with families as well.

Avary Brinker '21 MFT

MMU: What population would you want to work with? What draws you to that population?

AB: I have worked with clients who have disabilities for about 7 years. I've also worked with people from low-income communities. I want to help those who need help but have had difficulties finding it. I want to be a safe and trusted adult for those who need it most.

MMU: What attracted you to Mount Mercy’s Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy program? What was your motivation for pursuing a master’s degree?

AB: A lot of people I work with have gone through this program. I see the way they work with others and just appreciate the energy and thoughtfulness they bring when working with people. I also appreciated the small class sizes—the college where I attended my undergrad program had about 500-600 students in some lectures. I feel comfortable to ask questions and I like being able to build relationships with the professors.

A lot of people I work with have gone through this program. I see the way they work with others and just appreciate the energy and thoughtfulness they bring when working with people.

Avary Brinker '21 MFT

MMU: How are you building your skills in and out of the classroom? How does the faculty’s experiences and research impact the program?

AB: Learning what I have so far in this program has helped me look at the clients I currently serve through a different lens. I feel like what I have learned so far has helped me change the way I talk with families and has influenced the kinds of questions I ask when working with them.

Learning what I have so far in this program has helped me look at the clients I currently serve through a different lens. I feel like what I have learned so far has helped me change the way I talk with families.

MMU: How do you see yourself using the skills you’re building in the program? The program incorporates clinical hours—how has this impacted your experience?

AB: I haven’t started the clinical hours yet, but I am excited and nervous for that. I'm excited to get to know clients in a one-on-one setting, but am nervous because I don’t want to be seen as the expert. I am very collaborative when working with others and always feel that I could continue learning. I want to be able to have an open dialogue with the clients I'll work with so that we can continue to learn about each other and discover the best ways to help.

MMU: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? How did you overcome it? How did Mount Mercy support you during this challenge?

AB: Working full time and managing classes and homework. It has allowed me to learn to be more present and focused when I’m in class, at work, or doing things in my personal life.

MMU: What was one class or lesson that stuck with you? Why do think it impacted you? Is there a specific person or program that has made obtaining your degree easier?

AB: Family systems blew my mind. At first it seemed really existential and I didn’t understand how it would fit in to the work I would be doing, but I wish we could go back and retake it after we had more classes under our belts to apply what we know more. I think each of the three professors I have had so far have been a great fit for the classes that they have taught. They fully bring themselves and their personalities into the classroom, and you can see how much they care about the subjects. I appreciate that they help us learn how to answer questions ourselves and encourage us to share our points of view.

MMU: What’s one piece of advice you would give to future students?

AB: Get a planner, ask questions, and sit down with the professors to get to know them during their office hours.

I think each of the three professors I have had so far have been a great fit for the classes that they have taught. They fully bring themselves and their personalities into the classroom, and you can see how much they care about the subjects.

Avary Brinker '21 MFT

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