A little more than one month into her tenure as Chair-Elect for the Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT), 2010 Marian University graduate Amanda (Books) Anderson is in a position that she loves.
And if it weren’t for her undergraduate experience as a Psychology major, it’s possible she would have never found it.
“Marian to me was a jumpstart – it made me learn the history around psychology, but it also helped me discover there was so much more to it than that,” she said. “I certainly enjoyed learning about individual therapists, but what Marian exposed me to really helped me realize working with those theories just wasn’t for me.”
The Oshkosh West High School graduate wasn’t looking to go to a large college, which led her to Marian University. She had seen it in a brochure, scheduled a visit and found it exceeded her expectations of offering a vibrant, friendly campus.
“It sounded like somewhere I would want to go, somewhere that would be a great fit, and it was,” she said. “When I visited I loved everything about it – it was the only school I applied to.”
Next steps built on a solid foundation
Armed with the knowledge of how she wanted to incorporate Psychology into her life, she went on to get her Masters in General Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from Capella University’s online program. She used her degree to work in Green Bay for three years as an MFT intern. That experience caused her to develop an itch for owning her own practice.
Her practice has been increasing in size since it opened three years ago, and she will be wrapping up her licensure hours in a matter of months. While doing this, she has also been enrolled in her doctoral online program with Northcentral University (NCU), which she began in 2014. As she pursued this, she developed yet another passion for the field in becoming an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy-approved supervisor. She is currently taking the AAMFT Supervision course offered through NCU. This summer she will begin supervising and as for her doctorate degree, if everything goes as expected, she will complete it in March 2021.
Making her mark, and making an impact
Amanda is not only an entrepreneur in her career, but she’s been making recent waves as an expert in her field through her incorporation of Geek Therapy into Narrative Family Therapy. Her first speaking presentation with WAMFT was two years after joining in 2015 where she presented on Expressive Therapy Techniques to Help Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities Form Healthy Relationships.
This past annual Conference for WAMFT, Amanda spoke again on Integrating Narrative Family Therapy with Geek Therapy for Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Issues. The presentation is being made into an online educational opportunity on AAMFT’s Teneo platform that will provide CEs for professionals. She will be featured in an upcoming article in a future edition of AAMFT’s Family Therapy Magazine, with the article dedicated to this topic.
“I really polished my speaking abilities at Marian, and the campus culture definitely helped me get comfortable with joining clubs,” she said. “I also thought Marian did a great job of promoting clubs you were passionate about, not just being in a club to be in one.” It was this focus on passion and being fulfilled that lead Amanda into her WAMFT volunteerism.
And as she continues to put the finishing touches on her doctoral degree, she’ll remain busy – as part of being Chair-Elect she is part of the Educational Subcommittee, which allows her to serve as a representative on the Wisconsin Mental Health Council of the Legislative and Policy Committee. This group meets once a month to address proposed policies, discuss input on potential legislation, and decide which bills will be supported by the organization, be vetoed, or abstain.
“It keeps me busy, but it’s really rewarding to be able to help out the mental health community in Wisconsin,” she said. “Hopefully I can do be doing it for a long time to come.”