A Culturally Responsive Model of Counseling

Paid Internships

Webster University invites qualified applicants to apply for a WICS paid internship to work at the St. Louis County health department and other community health organizations. The WICS internship program was made possible through a Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Sponsored Events

Educational Opportunities

The Webster Institute for Clinical Scholarship offers opportunities throughout the year to the greater community for professional development and collaboration. Learn more about the professional development series and annual symposium.

To improve access to behavioral health care and improve health outcomes for low-income and under-served populations in high-needs communities to include Black/African American, refugees and immigrants, English language learners, low-income, LGBTQ, rural, and others who face cultural, linguistic and/or economic barriers to health care in the greater St. Louis region by utilizing the ecological model for counseling and increasing access to integrated, interdisciplinary behavioral health care.
To implement evidence-based strategies that remove the barriers to care for vulnerable residents and alleviate the serious shortage of diverse counselors and qualified site supervisors in the St. Louis region.
  • Improve health outcomes for low-income and under-served populations in high-needs communities in the greater St. Louis region by increasing access to integrated, interdisciplinary behavioral health care​.
  • Increase the number and diversity of professional counseling MA graduates who have a commitment to working in high-need, high-demand areas.​ Alleviate the serious shortage of diverse counselors and qualified site supervisors.
  • Providing counseling in racially, ethnically, culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse primary care sites within high-need, high-demand and medically underserved areas (MUAs) of St. Louis City, and in North and South St. Louis County.
  • Implement evidence-based strategies that remove the barriers to care for vulnerable residents.

Muthoni Musangali

Muthoni Musangali, PhD, LPC

Department Chair, Associate Professor, Professional Counseling

"We aim to provide culturally informed services that are guided by the connections between mental health and psychosocial factors that are determinants of health. When we know better, we do better."

Hasmik Chakaryan

Hasmik Chakaryan, PhD, LPC

Clinical Director, Associate Professor, Professional Counseling

"Sharing the toughest journeys with our clients is an honor and privilege! We must be the most prepared, culturally competent counselors who understand that systems perpetuate many of their struggles. They made the hardest decision to sit in that chair as a client; it’s on us to make sure they receive the most appropriate services."

Claire Martin

Claire Martin, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, BC-TMH

Assistant Professor, Professional Counseling


Become a 2023-24 WICS Intern

The Webster Institute for Clinical Scholarship seeks to increase the number and diversity of professional counseling MA graduates who have a commitment to working in high-need, high-demand areas to improve health outcomes for low-income and under-served populations in high-needs communities in the greater St. Louis region. For the 2023-2024 academic year, Webster University will award WICS paid internships to qualified applicants. Enrollment will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Please note, WICS Internships will be offered in 2024-25, so if you do not currently qualify for a WICS Internship, it may be possible to work toward eligibility for the future.

Grayson Rosen
Culturally Responsive Approach

“Through participating in the WICS program I hope to develop a deeper understanding of the systemic barriers my clients may face and how those barriers may differ based on their various intersecting identities.”

Grayson Rosen
Grayson Rosen, WICS Scholar

MA in Professional Counseling, '23

The Clinical Case Management/Ecological Model

This innovative model addresses trauma-informed care, historical, cultural/religious factors shaping minority attitudes toward healthcare, and cultural and linguistic diversity. Counselors will be specially trained to identify mental health issues in clients who are entering various medical intake offices in the county and then make sure that the mental health issues are addressed along with the medical issue that was first being diagnosed. The program will pay special attention to immigrants and those from underserved neighborhoods.

  • A holistic model that is more culturally responsive than traditional approaches to talk therapy.
  • Seeks to engage clients in high-needs/underserved communities.
  • Requires counselors to consider the impact of events and experiences in the systemic environmental contexts in their clients’ lives.

Hands-On Learning

Internship Sites and Collaborators

Professor Hasmik Chakaryan with student

Webster University's Department of Professional Counseling is working with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health (SLC DPH) and other community health organizations to identify and treat mental health issues in clients from immigrant and underserved communities who are seeking medical treatment. Below are several of the clinical sites partnering with WICS.

WICS Scholars

Students will be offered paid internships to work at St. Louis County locations to conduct brief psychological screenings of all clients and assess whether mental health follow-ups are needed. Those future meetings could be online or by phone, to help targeted populations overcome disproportionate challenges with job flexibility or access to transportation.

As a member of the WICS Institute, selected scholars will obtain specialized behavioral health training and internship experiences to prepare them to work effectively with diverse populations and in interdisciplinary care settings.

Scholars will gain exposure through working in racially, ethnically, culturally, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse primary care sites within high-need, high-demand and medically underserved areas (MUAs) of St. Louis City, and in North and South St. Louis County and will have additional opportunities for professional development, career building, and networking.

Scholars will receive a stipend of $1,000 a month for the duration of internship disbursed in checks of $2,500 per term, for up to four (4) terms.

  • Be an enrolled Webster University professional counseling student who will be eligible to begin Practicum or Internship in current academic year).
  • Be a citizen, national or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.5.
  • Represent the counseling profession in behavior, ethical judgment, emotional maturity and attitude.
  • Have no disciplinary actions on record.
  • Have an interest in pursuing a counseling career serving high-needs populations in high demand areas.
  • Be conscientious Counselors-In-Training who are self-starters and are highly motivated.
  • Demonstrate a solid work ethic with good follow-through.
  • Be continuously enrolled in Practicum and Internship in the Department of Professional Counseling.
  • Complete a counseling practicum at a WICS clinical site.
  • Take an elective course offered through the WICS program as part of the 60 credits towards your MA degree (COUN 5160 Spring 1).
  • Participate in Summer Symposium in the summer of their internship.
  • Actively engage with and mentor other WICS scholars.
  • Participate in all project-required evaluations.

The WICS Ecological Counseling Seminar is designed to prepare students to work with diverse client populations in underserved areas. Students will learn the theory and application of the ecological counseling model to help clients address pervasive problems in their multi-systemic environment. The course will consist of nine separate but related modules, each devoted to an aspect of the multi-systemic environment as well as social determinants of mental health among clients in high-needs environments. It is expected that students will directly apply their learning to their clinical work with clients at their internship sites.

Instructors will consist of multidisciplinary community experts who will be invited to prepare content for their area of expertise. Course topics will cover ecological counseling, ecological contextualization of St. Louis and neighboring counties, and social determinants of mental health in St. Louis and beyond. These may include the following: barriers/compounding factors to mental health; poverty, bias, societal barriers to access; justice systems/law enforcement/crime victim advocacy; epidemiology: incidence and distribution of medical and mental health needs in the St. Louis region; immigration and refugees issues; violence against women and youth/domestic violence; substance abuse and addiction; aging and poverty; and understanding public health data.

Estella Wesseh
WICS Scholar

“(The WICS program is) a life-changing experience and opportunity that every counselor-in-training or counselor needs to be a part of.”

Estella Wesseh
Estella Wesseh, WICS Scholar

MA in Counseling Psychology, '22

  • Cover letter (maximum two pages): Explain your interest in serving high-needs populations in high-demand areas, discuss the reasons why you are a good candidate for this program, and provide any other information you would like the selection committee to know about you.
  • Resume or CV (maximum two pages): Include education and any work or volunteer experience.
  • Two recommendation letters: One letter must be from a faculty member.

Crystal Barry

Crystal Barry

Class of 2022

Crystal Barry received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Barry completed her practicum at Webster University Counseling Life and Development Center. Currently an intern at Casa De Salud, she primarily serves Hispanic clientele bringing focus to one's strengths, mindfulness and emotions. She is projected to graduate from Webster University's Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in October 2022.

Her future endeavors include certification in marriage and family therapy and helping to promote understanding, strengthen communication, and sense of coherency among different relationship patterns and systems. She has done various work with youth and women organizations helping to advocate for their mental health and well-being. No stranger to the healthcare field, her occupation with United HealthCare has continued to allow her to be an advocate for health in multiple ways. Barry aspires to be a marriage and family therapist in private practice.

"When you're aware, you hold yourself accountable."

Jessie Bryan

Jessie Bryan

Class of 2022

Jessie Bryan (they/them) is a graduate student at Webster University in the Master of Arts in Counseling program and they are completing their counseling internship with Casa de Salud. In 2019, Bryan graduated from Saint Louis University (SLU) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. During their undergraduate studies, Bryan played as a field hockey goalie for Saint Louis University for two years and they were also team captain for Rosati-Kain High School's field hockey team during their senior year. They also played as a goalie with Aim Club Field Hockey for approximately four years. In addition, they have experience in working with a variety of people, from working in food service at St. Louis Bread Company to working in psychiatric healthcare at Center Pointe Hospital as a mental health technician. A team player, Bryan is devoted to working with others and has a passion for helping people of all backgrounds. They are looking forward to working with and helping more people throughout their counseling career.

Bryan's aspirations as a counselor are to utilize a holistic, person-centered, and trauma-informed approach to therapeutic care. They have the goal to be able to help people of all backgrounds and to help combat the stigma that surrounds mental health care.

"The WICS program has been incredibly beneficial to me because it has opened my eyes to the injustices and inequalities that are present in our society and our own neighborhoods. We are all inherently aware of the inequalities that are present in everyday life, but this program has brought that awareness to the forefront of my mind. I will never drive around these streets the same way again, knowing the generations of struggle that have been present for so many for so long. With this knowledge, my passion for helping others has only grown stronger and my desire to help those of all backgrounds has increased tenfold. I am determined to help people, more than ever."

Clariza D'Auria

Clariza D'Auria

Class of 2023

Clariza D'Auria is a Clinical Mental Health Counseling MA candidate in the Department of Professional Counseling at Webster University. She was born and raised in the Philippines and is the eldest of nine children. She immigrated to the United States in 2010, becoming a proud American citizen in 2015. She has previously worked in the customer service, hospitality and tourism, and banking industries before switching career paths to follow her true passion, which is to advocate for, connect with, counsel, and help people. She has worked with children with special needs as a registered behavior technician in Florida prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic early in 2020. Since then, she has been focusing on her graduate degree program at Webster. Her research interests include the development and promotion of mental health and mental health counseling in the Philippines, the advancement of trauma-informed mental healthcare services, the dynamics of intergenerational trauma within Asian cultures, and the significance of incorporating non-Western mental health models in the treatment and care of clients with Asian backgrounds.

D'Auria's hope is to one day go back to the Philippines and begin a mental health foundation that advocates for a better mental health system in the country; that recognizes the beauty of the Filipino people's resilience; and at the same time, acknowledges the need for additional support during extraordinarily challenging times in their lives.

"I am so beyond grateful and excited to be a recipient of the WICS HRSA BHWET Grant! It has been a long road to get to where I am today, and it is such a tremendous relief to become a WICS Scholar and have some of my living expenses taken care of while I pursue my goal of counseling and helping people. I am humbled and blessed to be a part of this amazing program and cannot wait to see what the future holds!"

Rebecca Ihle

Rebecca Ihle

Class of 2023

Rebecca Ihle (she/her) began her field experience in January 2022 at Casa de Salud with Mercy Professional Services. She has a strong desire to work with diverse and marginalized populations of all ages who are in high-need and under-served. She is currently studying intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy and affect phobia as a theoretical baseline, however Ihle practices an integrative counseling approach utilizing person-centered, strengths-based, solution-focused, emotion-focused and trauma-informed therapy. Ihle is expected to graduate from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in May of 2023 and intends to become licensed in Missouri and Illinois.

Before pursuing a career in counseling, Ihle served in the United States Coast Guard for 20 years and retired as a Lieutenant in 2019. During her Coast Guard career, Ihle was drawn to the helping profession after a tour where she managed the region’s Health Promotion Program, Employee Assistance Program, Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Program, Exceptional Family Members/Special Needs Program for dependents with disabilities, Family Advocacy Program, Child Care Subsidy Program, the Transition Assistance and Relocation Program, and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. Ihle was also a sexual assault victim advocate for 13 years and was a member of, and eventually chaired, the Leadership Diversity Advisory Counsel.

Ihle is currently a member of the American Mental Health Association, the Missouri Mental Health Counselors Association and the American Counselors Association to include the Counselors for Social Justice Division, the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, the National Career Development Association, the National Employment Counseling Association and the Association for Adult Development and Aging. Ihle is dedicated to becoming a multiculturally competent counselor and is drawn to the counselor’s duty of advocacy and social justice. Ihle's long-term goal is to focus on preventative measures, improve response, and remove the stigma surrounding mental health treatment with a desire to lead and champion mental health reform in America. In her free time, Ihle enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters and three dogs. She also enjoys traveling, fitness, yoga, gardening and mindful meditation.

As a WICS Scholar and professional counselor, Ihle aspires to provide multiculturally competent counseling from an ecological perspective. She hopes to be an advocate for those in need and will fight for social justice.

"Being part of the WICS program has provided me an opportunity to incorporate advocacy and social justice at the onset of my career while also working toward my long-term career goals to focus on preventative measures, improved response, and removing the stigma surrounding mental health treatment. I believe the ecological model serves as a valuable tool to root out systemic injustice in both physical and mental health care and is the starting point for mental health reform in America."

Alyssa McWilliams

Alyssa McWilliams

Class of 2022

Alyssa McWilliams is a counselor-in-training in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Webster University. She has obtained her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University-Pueblo in Psychology. She is currently an intern at the Crime Victim Center where she works with individuals who had a crime committed against them such as burglary, robbery, identity theft, assault, homicide, hate crimes, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault and others. She is interested in working with adolescent and adult clients with trauma. She is currently in the WICS, where she is learning about the ecological counseling model and how to integrate it into the counseling profession. She is a part of the Omicron Zeta Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota. She was a part of the Webster University Collegiate Softball team where she was the SLIAC and NCAA Waverly Regional All-Tournament Team. Her hobbies include working out, boating and skiing.

McWilliams's hope for the WICS program is for new counselors to become informed in areas they are unaware of and grow their knowledge of the different types of populations in St. Louis and around the world. The WICS program has enhanced her growth and knowledge as a counselor. She has gained a new perspective on clients that have improved the way she approaches them. Her hope as a counselor is to continue to grow off the foundation that was set in this program and enhance my knowledge in each area so that she can better help her clients.

"We must be the light we seek to see."

Khristina Pabon

Khristina Pabon

Class of 2023

Khristina Pabon is a graduate student, studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Webster University-Webster Groves campus in Missouri. She holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Child Advocacy Studies from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She completed her practicum hours at the St. Louis County Department of Public Health as a clinical case manager and substance use counselor, primarily working with young and older adults. In addition to completing her practicum, she works as a health inspector for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, conducting inspections for food establishments, schools, temporary events, recreational facilities and more to ensure public health safety. She serves as the secretary for Chi Sigma Iota, an honor society for the Department of Professional Counseling at Webster University. Her hobbies include reading, making jewelry, practicing as a Reiki Level 2 practitioner and adjusting to being a new mother to her beautiful daughter.

As a WICS scholar, Pabon's hopes and aspirations for the WICS program include setting a secure foundation for other scholars to grow and educating them on the mission of the WICS program. Educating others on the WICS program and what the "Ecological Perspectives of Counseling" is allows students to continue changing the narrative of how communities are viewed and shaped. This program has enlightened her on health care and health disparities, geographical segregation in America and how tiers of systems play a key role in how resources are distributed. With the knowledge that she has gained, her aspirations as a counselor include advocating for equally distributed resources for various populations and continuously self-educating on the interconnectedness between behaviors and functions in environments. Also, the WICS program has aided her with tools to dismantle the systemic divide that is present in our communities and policies.

"If we don't know about the 'case,' we won't be able to mobilize and change it."

DéMira Reyes

DéMira Reyes

Class of 2022

DéMira Reyes is a counselor in training in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Webster University. She received her BA in Psychology at Maryville University. Reyes is currently an intern at Casa de Salud, which provides mental health services to underserved and uninsured populations, mainly immigrants and refugees. She also serves as the treasurer for the Omicron Zeta Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota.

Her hope is that the WICS program continues to flourish in encouraging upcoming counselors to be more aware of the unique backgrounds and circumstances of their clients and support them in the development of effective ways to help them.

“The WICS program has truly broadened my scope regarding the different needs of the populations I help. Due to what I have learned in this program, I have noticed a difference in my mindset when considering how to best advocate for my clients.”

Grayson Rosen

Grayson Rosen

Class of 2023

Grayson Rosen (he/him) is completing his field experience with the Saint Louis Department of Public Health at the South County Health Center location. He expects to graduate in March 2023. His counseling approach is interpersonal, collaborative, strengths-based and systems-aware. Of special interest to him after graduation is working with fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly in the area of identity development, as well as working with people transitioning out of restrictive religious groups on building new systems of meaning. Before deciding to pursue a career as a professional counselor Rosen worked with international populations, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia, then with refugees resettled by the International Institute in St. Louis, and finally with international students at Webster University. During the pandemic years his hobbies have included reading novels, Zoom chats with close friends, and a lot of Netflix. He is looking forward to a time when he can resume other favorites such as seeing live music and traveling to various national parks.

"Through participating in the WICS program I hope to develop a deeper understanding of the systemic barriers my clients may face and how those barriers may differ based on their various intersecting identities. I hope participating in the WICS program also helps me gain a better sense of the resources available to help overcome some of those barriers, and helps me build a strong network of like-minded colleagues."

Maria Rupprecht

Maria Rupprecht

Class of 2022

Maria Rupprecht is currently a master's level student at Webster University studying Professional Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Rupprecht currently works for Provident Behavioral health on their crisis hotline, and interns in the Access center as a student mental health counselor. Rupprecht currently serves as co-president for Webster University's Chi Sigma Iota chapter, Omicron Zeta. Rupprecht has experience working with adolescents with substance abuse disorders, as well as some experience working with those who have eating disorders. Rupprecht finds interests in trauma and how it impacts the way her clients think, feel, and behave. Rupprecht currently has a podcast called "The Recovery Journey" and hopes to grow that as a resource for those interested in learning more about mental health. Rupprecht enjoys being given the opportunity to educate others and share her story with others and has spoken at Gala's, in college classes, and even at the National Eating Disorder Association walk in 2019. In undergrad, Rupprecht attended Missouri Baptist University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for Psychology in 2017. When Rupprecht is not doing something related to mental health, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her labradoodle, Duke.

Rupprecht hopes to see the WICS program grow, and wishes that every student was required to learn about the ecological model of counseling. Rupprecht hopes to take the things she has learned in this program and apply them to better help and understand her clients. Rupprecht's goal is to work with high need, high risk populations experiencing crisis after a trauma, and would like to one day open her own practice. Rupprecht also has dreams of publishing her own book, and utilize her love of speaking to help educate the public about mental health, and break down the stigma surrounding it.

"The WICS program has taught me so much, and changed my perspective on how to help my clients. There are so many different ways our clients can be impacted by the world around them, and it is important to remember to bring that into the session to best help our clients."

Brittany Woods

Brittany Woods

Class of 2022

Brittany Woods graduated from University of Missouri-Columbia with a BA in Psychology and a BA in Philosophy. Woods is in her final term as a Webster University graduate student, completing her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. While at Webster, Woods received the Jeremiah Jefferies Scholarship that allowed her to continue her work as a counselor-in-training. She has a real passion for this type of work; it means a great deal to her. Woods has always had a passion to help her fellow neighbor.

Woods is currently interning at John C. Murphy (St. Louis Department of Public Health) under Christopher Elliot. She previously worked at Compsych as a guidance specialist where her primary role was to give in the moment support to individuals in need of care and help. She also served as a mentor at Cahokia High School in East St. Louis. As a mentor, Woods had difficulty in getting her mentee to open up, but once she did there was quite a difference she made in her schooling and personal life. Woods would like to work with this population and in trauma. A great deal of people in this population has experience some sort of trauma. It takes a great deal of work for a person to move past being a victim of trauma to a survivor, but once a person does it is one of the most rewarding experiences as a counselor-in-training.

Woods' hopes and aspirations for the WICS program or as a counselor in general is to gain more knowledge about the communities around her. There are great disparities with treatment of care in the impoverish areas of St. Louis; she hopes to gain more knowledge about these disparities and how to help or do her job better.

"The WICS Program is very rewarding and eye opening, and all new counselors and counselors in training should take this program."

Chloi Wright

Chloi Wright

Class of 2023

Chloi Wright is a St. Louis native and career counselor at St. Louis Job Corps. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Louis University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Webster University. She has experience working in the mental health care industry with underserved populations. Wright has held the positions of psychiatric technician, community support specialist, case manager, and child care coordinator. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Her passions are exploring barriers to mental health services, at-risk youth and trauma.

Wright's aspirations for the WICS program is to become a well-rounded counselor through continuous learning. As a future counselor, she hope to become an agent of change within her community and later create a nonprofit for undeserved youth.

"In order to create change you must be flexible and aware of the world around you."

Ronita Herron

Ronita Herron

Class of 2021

Ronita Herron is a recent graduate of the Department of Professional Counseling at Webster University. She also earned her BA in Psychology from Webster University. She is passionate about working with transitional age youth and has several years of experience working with adolescents in residential settings. Her practicum and internship terms were completed at Almost Home, an agency serving pregnant and parenting teenage mothers and their children. Herron has been offered the Clinical Case Manager position at Almost Home and is excited to continue her education through various trainings and certifications.

Herron's hope for the WICS program is that scholars are able to apply the abundance of knowledge and experience gained in the field to make a difference in communities.

"I am so honored to be a part of this program, the ecological seminar was such an impactful experience and I am proud to be involved in such important work."

Estella Wesseh

Estella Wesseh

Class of 2022

Estella Mensah Wesseh is a first-generation college student with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northwest Missouri State University completing her final term as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate student at Webster University. While an undergraduate at Northwest, Wesseh had the privilege to work as a Student Ambassador for their Office of Admissions. She also served as a student mentor with TRIO Student Support Services and an office assistant with the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Wesseh's leadership roles included the African Student Organization president and as both the junior and senior class representative.

Upon graduation, Wesseh obtained employment as a behavioral health specialist/technician for a few years and started her journey at Webster University. Wesseh completed my field experience at Provident Behavioral Health and am looking forward to serving the high-needs population in high-demand areas and providing affordable mental health resources and services to immigrants and refugees. Wesseh always had a passion for serving others and being able to help them reach heights they never imagined it’s indescribable.

Wesseh's hopes and aspirations for WICS and a counselor are to continue to advocate, push, and use the ecological model in providing a holistic treatment approach in the way we serve and help others.

"A life-changing experience and opportunity that every counselor in training or counselor needs to be a part of."

Fall 2021 scholars and Counseling professors wearing black t-shirts with the Webster Institute for Clinical Study logo stand in four rows on the steps of Webster Hall.
A woman with light skin tone and shoulder-length black hair wearing black stands with a hand on her hip next to a woman with medium-dark skin tone wearing a gold, black, and tan patterned shirt who is gesturing; chalkboard in the background.
A bald, medium-dark-skinned man wearing glasses and a dark blue long-sleeved shirt talks while sitting next to a light-skinned man wearing glasses and a long-sleeved blue and white shirt who is holding a pencil.
Four medium-dark-skinned women stand in a semi-circle, talking. One wears black with a black headwrap; the next wears a red-patterned shirt with black sleeves, her hair braided into two long plaits; the third wears a tan sweater, glasses, and long braids; the fourth wears all black with long braids tied back.
Three students - one light-skinned female with multi-colored hair, one dark-skinned male with hand to chin, one light-skinned male leaning forward - sit at a table and look towards the front of the room.
A smiling woman with medium-dark skin and short light-brown hair wearing a whole blouse sits at a desk in front of a laptop and looks at another woman with light skin tone wearing a white shirt.
A diverse group of three women sits at desks smiling, talking, and gesturing.
A medium-dark-skinned woman wearing a business suit hands a piece of paper to a light-skinned man wearing a plaid shirt.
A young dark-skinned woman wearing glasses and a jeans jacket sits at a table with three other students. She is talking and holding a paper open; her other hand is raised.

Spring 2023 Professional Development Series

The Webster Institute for Clinical Scholarship, in partnership with the Department of Professional Counseling, is launching a five-month Professional Development Series focusing on facilitating discussions on race-based trauma.

Participants may join one or any of the sessions regardless of whether they have attended preceding sessions. This Professional Development Series will culminate in the WICS Summer Symposium that is scheduled for June 10, 2023. Save the date and be on the lookout for additional information. CEUs are available for counselors, social workers and other mental health professionals.

All sessions are free.

Register For Session(s)

Session 1: Jan. 18, 12–1 p.m. CST
Understanding Race-Based Trauma Stress

This session will address social determinants of race-based trauma, including sociocultural factors. Participants will also learn updates on the diagnosis and assessment of racial trauma.

Session 2: Feb. 15, 12–1 p.m. CST
Imprints of Racial Trauma on the Body and the Brain

There is ample evidence in the literature on the toxicity of racism. This session will focus on the neurobiological impact of race-based traumatic stress on individuals’ and communities’ health.

Session 3: March 22, 12–1 p.m. CST
Racial Trauma Healing and Resilience

This session will explore mitigating factors for experiencing race-based stress and best practices that foster racial trauma healing.

Session 4: April 19, 2023
Racial Trauma and Supervision

Clinical learning environments often constitute a microcosm of the larger society that can enable systems of inequality and oppression to persist. Clinical supervisors are responsible for creating safe learning environments for CT to develop into global citizens who are culturally competent to serve diverse populations. This presentation will explore how systems of oppression may present in clinical supervision and their impact on the CT and clients.

Session 5: May 17, 2023
Racial Trauma and Mental Health Professionals

Similar to other helping professionals, mental health professionals are often at high risk of experiencing vicarious trauma. As such, it is imperative that they learn effective coping strategies to minimize the risks of being retraumatized.

Save the Date!: June 10, 2023
Summer Symposium

The WICS Summer Symposium provides an opportunity for scholars to come together to present their research, expertise and experiences in the field of health and mental health care for the high-need communities in the St. Louis metro area. The symposium will provide CEU opportunity for site supervisors, faculty, local counseling professionals and other HRSA-BHWET grantees.

The WICS Annual Summer Symposium

The Summer Symposium is an annual event that will address health, mental health and access from an ecological perspective.

Second Annual Symposium, June 10, 2023: Cultural Competence as a Social Justice Issue

The Symposium seeks to establish a diverse, supportive professional community, who contribute to the growth and development of the scholars and build a sustainable pipeline into underserved communities. We seek to recognize, share, and celebrate the educational and clinical efforts, as well as community leadership within various interdisciplinary fields.

Through the symposium, scholars will have an opportunity to come together to share their experience in the field of health and mental health care for the high-need communities in the St. Louis metro area. WICS scholars at Webster and grant recipients at SIUE will showcase internship experiences through poster presentations, case study presentations, and/or panel discussions. The event also provides networking opportunities with site supervisors, community partners and nearby HRSA-BHWET award recipients. The Summer Symposium will provide CEU opportunity for site supervisors, faculty, local counseling professionals and other HRSA-BHWET grantees.


  • 8 a.m. Doors open for setup
  • 8:30-9 a.m. Registration and check-in/Breakfast, Introduction and Welcome
  • 9-9:50 a.m. Keynote Speaker, ISB/Browning Hall 140
  • 9:50-10 a.m. Break
  • 10-10:50 a.m. Educational Sessions, East Academic Building
  • 10:50-11 a.m. Break
  • 11-11:50 a.m. Panel Presentation, ISB/Browning Hall Auditorium
  • 12-1: p.m. Lunch, Networking, Community Music School Lobby
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. Poster Presentations, ISB Lobby Main Floor
  • 1:30-2:20 p.m. Educational Sessions, East Academic Building
  • 2:30-3:20 p.m. Educational Sessions, East Academic Building
  • 3:20-3:30 p.m. Break
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Panel Presentation, ISB/Browning Hall Auditorium
  • 5-5:30 p.m. Closing Remarks, ISB/Browning Hall Auditorium
  • 5:30-6 p.m. Networking and Refreshments, ISB Lobby Main Floor

  • S. Kent Butler Jr., PhD, NCC, NCSC, professor, University of Central Florida
  • Etoya White, licensed professional counselor, Etoya R. White Therapy and Coaching
  • Ariel Hooker Jones, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S, assistant professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Megan Robb, NCC, program director, Art Therapy Counseling, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Michael Burton, Representative for District 92, Missouri House of Representatives
  • Tori Schafer, deputy director for policy and campaigns, ACLU
  • Jaimie Hileman, executive director, Trans Education Service LLC of St. Louis 
  • Ann Shillingford, PhD, author and associate professor, University of Central Florida

The grant was issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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