Counseling Distinguished Alumni: Dr. Bethany Suppes, Ph.D, LMFT
Dr. Bethany Suppes '19 Ph.D, LMFT is a 2019 graduate of the Graduate Counseling program at Texas Wesleyan. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Suppes and chat with her about her time at Texas Wesleyan and what it means to her to be a Ram!
What impact did the Graduate Counseling program have on your professional career?
At the time, a terminal degree was necessary for the job I wanted — assistant professor of marriage and family therapy at a COAMFTE-accredited university. This program positively prepared me for the job through its coursework and practical experiences including clinical work, supervision training, encouraged conference involvement and teaching practicum. It also contributed to my clinical skills through additional modality training. This includes direct interactions with clients in more organized treatment and systematic skills as a supervisor. Overall, I consider the program very helpful to my professional pursuits!
What is the best memory you have of your time at TXWES?
My best memory at TXWES was a significant part of the first few years of the doctoral MFT program. As part of the program, faculty would invite prominent contributors to specific models of therapy to present on the models on campus to the students and local therapists. This was called the master’s series. Better yet, the doctoral students would be invited to dinner the night before with the presenter for a small-group discussion. This allowed the students to ask intimate questions about the model and its application. This communicated trust in the professionalism of the students and their representation of themselves and the university. I also greatly enjoyed the cohort system that allowed for very familiar relationships between the students, going through courses all together for the duration of the degree.
What was student life like for you?
As a part-time student and full-time therapist, I did not feel much like a student! However, it was evident in the behavior of the professors who treated the students as professional peers — evening the professional hierarchy. This could be observed in both in-class discussions and out-of-class interactions, such as at conferences and professional presentations. That being said, it was helpful to have access to student resources on campus such as the library and gym, which I used periodically throughout my four years as a student.
How was the bond between you and the faculty?
There were specific faculty with whom I found myself spending more time. Dr. Misti Sparks demonstrated professional grace, discretion and wisdom as she served in numerous roles in my life. She has been my doctorate-level professor, co-teacher in practicum and a master's level course, supervisor as both an LMFT-Associate and later as an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor Candidate. Dr. Metcalf's presence sets a wonderful tone for the program that is both inviting and greatly challenging. I have her to thank for my first publication and the connection for me to write my own book, "Family Systems Theory Simplified" (2022). Overall, all the faculty were a kind group that invited conversation, feedback and growth.
What do you think separates TXWES from other universities out there?
There are three attributes that distinguished TXWES for me. First, I appreciated that it was a part-time program that was almost exclusively evening and weekend classes — this made it easier for me to get licensed while in school. Second, TXWES uniquely offers the Master Therapist Series identified earlier and the constant presence of Dr. Metcalf's wisdom. This overlaps with the third quality: a substantial emphasis on clinical work rather than research. While research was still conspicuously included in the degree, there was always a sense that research should exist to improve clinical services. This focus really encouraged connection to practicality that ultimately improved my teaching and research.
Any other comments about the Graduate Counseling Program?
I have recommended TXWES to multiple students and colleagues in the few years since I graduated!