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Leila Warraich

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision

School Psychology and Counselor Education

  • 2021, William & Mary, Doctor of Philosophy, Counselor Education and Supervision
  • 2018, Johns Hopkins University, Master of Science, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • 2016, Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Science, Sociology

What kind of professional experiences did you have prior to beginning this degree?
Before coming to William & Mary, I completed my master's in counseling at Johns Hopkins University. While I was there, I was a mental health counselor in Baltimore City, Maryland where I worked with children and families on medical assistance providing in-home and in-school counseling.

As a student pursuing a doctorate in Counselor Education, why did you choose this field?
My counselor identity continues to evolve and develop but it has always been rooted in social justice advocacy. My desire to become a clinician came from my personal experiences. Having lived overseas, I became very close to my religious and cultural background. Growing up, I saw that when it came to mental health, there were a lot of stigmas that came from communities for seeking help and services. It was appalling to me to see Asian communities and Muslim communities stigmatize mental health so much. I decided that I wanted to become a mental health counselor. I was drawn to the idea that as a Muslim and an Asian, perhaps others in my community would feel it was easier to talk about their struggles if they saw me, someone who was like them, as their therapist.

What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?
After graduation, I am hoping to work as a therapist and counselor educator. As a therapist, I wanted to have an impact on how I treat my clients, especially those from an underrepresented population, and help bridge the gap among disparities. And now as a counselor educator, I can help train the coming generations of counselors to guide them to be multiculturally competent and culturally humble in working with all kinds of clients and providing the most ethical and empowering level of care. I also hope to conduct research in these areas as well.

Why did you choose to apply to William & Mary and specifically to this program?
I chose William & Mary due to the great strength of the Counselor Education program. When I was considering where to go for school, I always kept hearing William & Mary's name. The program has a wonderful reputation in the Counselor Education field. Once I came to interview, I felt the incredible sense of community that really got me excited for what my time here could look like.

What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program?
My time with the New Horizons Family Counseling Center, first as an intern and now as a student co-director, has been the most influential experience at William & Mary. I have learned so much about community collaboration and building networks and support through the clinic. It is remarkable to see the clinic serve so many families for free, and it has been a wonderful experience to be a part of.

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