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Student Britt Cumens Roots for the Patient

September 1, 2012 — As a first-year nursing student at the College in 2009, Britt Cumens found herself developing a specific interest in addictions counseling. “I decided that I wanted to pick up an addictions counseling minor,” she said, “and I began to feel more and more interested in the addictions counseling courses.” After meeting with her advisor and with Dr. Ronald Comer, Chair of the Behavioral Health Counseling Department, Britt made the decision to transition to the Behavioral Health Counseling Program.

Now a senior, Britt is completing a co-op at MossRehab, an outpatient rehabilitation center for individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Britt helps conduct client evaluations, administering tasks to identify clients’ strengths and weaknesses and to determine their readiness to reenter the workforce. She said, “It provides me with a lot of knowledge about how people work after having a brain injury. Even though we conduct the evaluations objectively, you still want to root for them. It’s incredible, personally, to see someone flourish and to see their strengths emerge after having a brain injury. You can see what good came out of the situation and it’s really uplifting.”

Britt’s enthusiasm for behavioral health counseling has translated from the classroom to the co-op environment and back again, forming a reciprocal relationship between the two types of learning. “It’s one thing to read about something, but another to actually work with a type of person,” she elaborated. Britt’s addictions counseling courses demanded that she fully engage with individuals in recovery. “In the introductory course, we were each required to attend at least two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and write reactions essays. And in my psych rehab class, we were assigned residents at Project H.O.M.E. and used our interviewing skills we learned in class. We even presented assessments to the workers there and made suggestions about treatment plans.”

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