ACU alumni April Haley returned to school to not only further her own career, but to serve others on a deeper level as they navigate life’s challenges. After years as a stay-at-home mom, April enrolled in ACU Online’s Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program where she found the support she needed to pursue her goal of one day opening her own practice. Read how the connections and resources she gained as a student have shaped her into the licensed marriage and family therapist associate she is today.
Counseling & Consulting
April grew up in Greencastle, PA but has called numerous cities and states “home” throughout her life. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Harding University in Searcy, AR and in 2017 returned to school for her master’s degree with ACU Online to take her career to the next level. She graduated in August of 2020 with her Master of Marriage and Family Therapy and now lives in Fort Worth, TX with her two kids, new husband and two step-children.
After walking the stage a few years ago with her master’s in hand, April successfully passed her exam to become a licensed marriage and family therapist associate and is currently earning her client hours at Avanti Counseling & Consulting in Southlake, TX. While she works with an array of age groups and enjoys counseling blended families like her own, April has a huge heart for helping adolescents and young professionals who are trying to navigate their twenties.
“Sometimes they need to talk to someone other than mom and dad for support,” April explained. “A lot of these individuals are experiencing depression, anxiety, and trying to make overwhelming decisions about who they’re going to be and what their purpose is in the world.” Not only does April help young adults manage major life events, she also finds a passion for helping build their self-esteem and self-confidence, especially in an era of social media. One of the ways April helps do this is through mindfulness practices where clients exercise their breathing, grounding techniques and meditation to help combat anxiety.
April dreams of opening up a practice of her own one day, and is taking the necessary steps to make that a reality. On top of earning her associate hours, April takes business training courses on how to provide professional services and has obtained her professional limited liability company (PLLC) licensing. She’s looking to hit the ground running in the next few years and looks forward to expanding the network of therapists in her area.
April is adamant that she wouldn’t be in the position she is right now if it wasn’t for the instruction and support she got at ACU Online. While it was nerve-racking to return to the university setting after several years, the transition to her online master’s program was easy to navigate and made her feel equipped to succeed. “I felt comfortable right away,” she remarked. “There was so much support from my professors and supervisors, and I knew I could reach out to them to answer any of my questions and guide me through my practicum.”
ACU’s faith-based community also played an important role during her time in the program. She felt comfortable talking about her beliefs as it pertained to marriage and family therapy and a lot of that had to do with her professors and peers. “I still keep in touch with my professors and see them from time to time,” she said. “I love going to conferences and continuing to learn from them and other classmates I had that live around the same area as me.”
During her time at ACU, she and five other students would study together each week over Zoom. Today, they are still in contact – asking each other questions about their experiences and acting as a support system for each other. “It’s because of that Christian foundation we had,” she explained. Because of those relationships cultivated as students, they’ve even been able to use each other as references for clients who have different needs and are in need of a specialist.
In her free time, April enjoys substituting at her son’s school and serves her church through ministry and service projects. She recharges by going to her daughter’s musical theater performances, her son’s sporting events, and practicing self-care by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, she is always looking for ways to grow her expertise by listening to podcasts, reading blogs and attending conferences to fine-tune her skills. “I really get a lot of satisfaction out of what I get to do and encourage people to not wait until they are faced with a traumatic event or are in a pit of depression to explore therapy,” she said. “Therapists are there to help teach healthy coping skills and manage anxieties in a non-biased, non-judgmental space.”
Are you looking for that same professional satisfaction? Visit acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300 today.