LVC Grad Returns for Counseling Degree

Hillary Forsythe is studying clinical mental health counseling

Hillary Forsythe ’10, D’12 has worked as a physical therapist for almost a decade. Now, she is looking to transition to counseling.  

As an LVC alumna, Forsythe was aware of the high-quality programs LVC offers. During her search for counseling programs, she discovered LVC’s Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and knew it was the right choice.  

“When I saw that LVC had a program, it seemed like a natural fit,” Forsythe said. “I am gaining knowledge that I can further utilize as a therapist to help patients with their physical and mental health.” 

Forsythe works as a physical therapist in inpatient rehabilitation at Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital. Much of her work is personal, and she enjoys building relationships with patients through their daily sessions. 

Patients share the highs of their successes, the lows of their struggles, what motivates them, and their fears. To Forsythe, being able to connect with patients on this level lends credence to her success as a physical therapist. 

“I realize the importance of human relationships, and my skill at using my experiences and challenges to provide empathy and support others gives me great satisfaction in life,” Forsythe said. “I find that the CMHC Program provides me with the opportunity to build on these skills.” 

Going back to LVC has been enjoyable for Forsythe due to LVC’s smaller class sizes, the flexibility of the program, and the ease of communication with her instructors. 

“The program’s professors are very communicative and care about their students’ academic achievement,” Forsythe said. “I appreciate that the program can be completed part-time, allowing me to continue to work as a physical therapist.” 

To supplement her classroom learning, Forsythe completed a fellowship in the Center for Academic Success as a CARE team member. The CARE Team is a group of faculty and staff who develop individualized plans to work with referred students to best address their academic, social, emotional, and physical needs and challenges. 

Forsythe implemented knowledge she gained from the CMHC Program while aiding students. Additionally, she created educational resources to assist numerous students in achieving success. 

“Participating with CARE provided opportunities to practice basic counseling skills,” Forsythe said. “I believe it will be imperative as a therapist to assist clients in utilizing community resources and work with other outpatient or inpatient team members.”  

After completing LVC’s CMHC Program, Forsythe hopes to start a private practice focused on treating trauma.  

“If I can find a way to integrate my physical therapy and counseling knowledge, I would love to do this,” Forsythe said. “It is something that can be beneficial for those who have experienced traumas, such as health challenges from significant injuries, their caregivers, and those who struggle with mental health as a result of personal and relational trauma.”