It happened. For real. Last night a dream that began three years ago came into its complete fullness. The first cohort of MFT students has left the nest and now go into the world to practice the profession they have been rigorously studying for two years. It’s humbling. It’s exciting. It’s beautiful.
Three years ago, when the program was nothing more than an idea, I was reluctant even to consider engaging in it. I had completed my first year of being a new university professor and felt like I needed a couple more years to get my footing. Not only that, the idea was not even mine. I was simply asked to help out.
Well, little did I know that helping would become lots of helping, and lots of helping would become leading, and lots of leading would become being the director of the program. Before I knew it, I was in charge of everything.
Two years ago I met the first cohort at the initial orientation in a downstairs conference room in the student center. I was impressed at the first meeting and eager to get started. I decided to be bold and to challenge them that this program would be rigorous and that they would need their cohort to “cooperate to graduate.” I made promises about quality and rigor and how well prepared they would be by the time they graduated – promises I knew I had to find a way to keep.
My words were not based on any evidence whatsoever. I had no idea what was really going to happen. I wondered whether it would even work. We were working on the curriculum as we went, I was the only full time faculty, we did not have an onsite clinic nor did we have any identified clinical sites. In an ideal world, we would have had another entire year to prepare for the roll out of the program. We had no such luxury. We sailed the ship as we built it.
Looking back after two years, I see that the ship sailed all the way to from one shore to the next – no one fell out and no one drown. More than that, 15 students thrived and excelled and succeeded beyond my most optimistic dream.
There are now 15 graduates, a league of extraordinary MFTs, who will:
- Take the next step in their MFT profession.
- Provide excellent therapy for hundreds and hundreds of individuals, couples and families who need help.
- Advance in the profession and make it a better profession.
- Continue to grow and develop in their own relationships.
So, Aron, Jen, Jenny, Jeanetta, AnnChristine, Adella, Siobhan, Amanda, Nathan, Marcus, Nikki, Bekah, Drea, Juli, and Alyssa, you are amazing. You are forever etched into my life – unforgettable. You are the newest and most promising face of this profession and the field of MFT. You now take you place in this sacred work and will shape this profession in middle Tennessee, in California, in Pennsylvania and wherever else your life journey takes you.
I am proud of every single one of you. I am proud to say you were trained at Lipscomb. I am proud to say that I got to be involved in your training as an MFT. I am honored and humbled that I got to be involved in your lives so deeply. I cannot wait for the opportunity to say, “that MFT was trained at Lipscomb,” because the reputation of this program is tied to your excellence – and you are excellent!
May God continue to unleash blessing in and through you so you can continue to bless the world.