Meet Rico Bodin, who is part of the inaugural cohort of the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling Program in the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.
What is your undergraduate degree?
A Bachelor’s of Behavioral Science, from Bellevue University.
Why did you choose this JU program?
I selected the JU Clinical Mental Health Counseling program because it is offered as a hybrid, which allows me to work full-time and attend school full-time. This option provided the perfect opportunity for a career change with a focus on humanitarian issues and community consciousness.
What do you like best about the program?
First, I like the professor-to-student ratio, which is exceptional compared to other Universities in our area. The second best thing I would have to say, is the experiential learning framework. Our classroom hours are used more efficiently, providing clinical proficiency within the discipline of mental health counseling.
What made you choose to pursue a career in this area?
I first became a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS), in 2014 as an undergraduate, to help others achieve and maintain recovery from substance use and mental health conditions. Since then, I have taken additional training as a CRPS, and now I’m endorsed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as a Trainer of “Helping Others Heal,” which is the 40 hours of training needed to become a CRPS. This training now allows me to help build the paraprofessional workforce of peer-to-peer specialists, while providing an entry-level credential for persons who wish to use this professional preparation in combination with their lived experience to help others, through a variety of support services, many of which are now Medicaid reimbursable. I was really excited to learn that Lutheran Services Florida and JU will be offering this CRPS training beginning in January. (See CRPS Training Offered at Jacksonville University below).
I selected the CMHC program because of my passion to be of service and help others see their ability to change. Psychotherapy is one modality of counseling that allowed me to see my life direction while allowing me to readjust my sails and head into calmer waters for the opportunity of an advantageous career founded in humanitarian well-being, for the betterment of our community and our health care system.
What do you hope to pursue after graduation?
I plan to pursue licensure in both Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, as this program provides the means to obtain both licenses without any added coursework after graduation. I currently work for Gateway Community Services as a health educator/case manager and plan to help expand their current integrated services by facilitating a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) co-occurring track for those seeking a safe environment in which to confront their chemical dependency and the unique stresses faced by LGBT individuals.
CRPS Training Offered at Jacksonville University
Jacksonville University is collaborating with Lutheran Services Florida Health System (LSF) on a new federally funded project that will train participants to become Certified Recovery Peer Specialists (CRPS). LSF with JU offers an enhanced training program that includes the required CRPS 40-hour training. This enhanced training, which will take place on the JU campus, is designed to provide participants with the skill sets and interpersonal tools they can in turn use to help their peers achieve and maintain recovery from substance use and/or mental health conditions.
There are four different class options, and the first class runs Jan. 9-April 28. Registration must be completed by Dec. 16.
Rico Bodin, left, presents his research poster at the first Clinical Mental Health Counseling Internship Fair on Thursday, July 28.