Division of Graduate Studies - InFocus: Graduate News Blog


Mental health counseling graduate student finds success in play therapy
June 5, 2012
Jaleh Mohammadi, '12, earned her position as a mental health counselor alongside professor Dr. Jodi Mullen after she completed her internship at Mullen's practice, Integrative Health Services in Oswego, N.Y.
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The new play therapy graduate certificate offered at SUNY Oswego helped one graduate student find her passion and plan her future.

Jahleh Mohammadi, a student in the mental health counseling program, will graduate in August 2012 with both her master’s degree as well as a graduate certificate from SUNY Oswego in play therapy.

“As soon as I took the intro to play therapy class, it changed my life,” Mohammadi said. “You learn so much about children and the culture of childhood, it teaches you a different way to think about kids.”

The play therapy graduate certificate emerged to fill need for psychologists who can address the needs of children.

Jaleh Mohammadi was hired as a mental health counselor after completing her practicum and internship placements at Integrative Counseling Services in Oswego, N.Y.

“There’s a huge need for therapists to work with children in this area,” said Mike LeBlanc, chair of the Counseling and Psychological Services department at SUNY Oswego. “There are really only a couple providers who can’t handle all the kids’ needs in this region.”

Mohammadi is able to earn both her master’s degree and the play therapy graduate certificate through the mental health counseling program. The program allows current mental health counseling students to fulfill the play therapy requirements simply through taking the courses as electives.

“You can get a complete the play therapy certificate while you’re getting the mental health counseling degree,” LeBlanc said. “You complete the certificate as part of the elective coursework without having to take extra courses.”

Mohammadi, who is from Oswego, N.Y., studied psychology at SUNY Binghamton for her undergraduate degree. When it came time to pick a graduate school, she looked for a different experience.

“By going to Binghamton I got to experience a lot of diversity at a bigger school, but I felt that with my graduate program I wanted to have a smaller, more intimate setting at a great school,” Mohammadi said. “SUNY Oswego is well known for their mental health counseling program.”

Mohammadi originally intended to work as a school counselor with her degree, but decided to pursue a different career track after taking a few courses in the play therapy program.

“As soon as I took the intro to play therapy class, it changed my life. You learn so much about children and the culture of childhood, it teaches you a different way to think about kids.”
Jaleh Mohammadi, '12
Mental Health Counselor, Integrative Counseling Services

“I always wanted to help people,” Mohammadi said. “Once I had some classes under my belt and started my practicum and had my own clients, I absolutely loved it. It really fits my personality and what my interests are.”

Mohammadi felt the change of setting allowed her to shape relationships with her peers.

“One of the greatest parts about the program is that it’s not as large as my undergrad experience,” Mohammadi said. “At Binghamton there were so many people you didn’t get a chance to get to know everyone, here you get to be really close to people.”

The smaller setting allowed Mohammadi to learn more than just the course material.

“I learned a lot about myself and that’s a lot to the program,” Mohammadi said. “I can better work with people thanks to the professors, the classes and the people I was learning with.”

The setting also allowed Mohammadi to develop a close relationship with her advisor and the founder of the play therapy program, Dr. Jodi Mullen.

“I’ve known Dr. Mullen for years and heard about the program from her,” Mohammadi said. “She’s a big mentor for me.”

Mohammadi has a history of working with Mullen; she completed her practicum and internship at Mullen’s practice, Integrative Counseling Services, and will begin work there as a mental health counselor after she completes her coursework in August.

“I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ll be able to start my licensure and it’s just a dream come true for me,” Mohammadi said. “[Dr. Mullen] has really enriched my experience through school and through my internship and now she’s going to be a colleague of mine, it’s really great.”

In the future, Mohammadi hopes to earn her Ph. D. in counseling education and supervision and continue to learn.

“I would love to supervise up-and-coming play therapists and mental health counselors, I just loved that relationship you have with your supervisor and all you can learn from them,” Mohammadi said. “I’m a firm believer in you’re never done learning and this will help me to continue to learn as well.”

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