Michael Peters ’14, Psychology; Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling candidate
“I am excited not only to be back at Becker, but to be part of a program that will not only further my education, but will also allow me to give back to my local community,” said the 39-year-old Worcester resident. A distinguishing feature of Becker’s first master’s degree program—approved in January 2015—is its on-site clinic, which will provide supervised clinical practicum experience for its graduate students. Becker is one of only two programs in Massachusetts to combine academic, experiential learning with affordable quality counseling services to the local community.
“The program at Becker is especially appealing to me because I am part of a very small group of students who have been initially admitted,” Peters added. “I find that I am most successful when I have one-on-one attention from my professors.”
Peters, who is personally in recovery from addiction, worked as a manufacturing engineer before he decided to seek out a more fulfilling career. “I wanted to find something I enjoyed, and also be able to help people,” he said. “Because of personal experience, I have a lot to offer and give back to others battling addiction.”
Peters was in the process of becoming a certified addiction counselor when he met a Becker College psychology professor who encouraged him to continue his education in order to gain a broader scope and knowledge of psychology, behaviors, and how to apply behavior change to addiction treatment. He enrolled in the College’s Center for Accelerated & Professional Studies and graduated with a degree in psychology in May 2014.
While an undergraduate at Becker, Peters appreciated the atmosphere of collaboration between professors and students, and is eager to experience the same while earning his master’s degree. “I felt I was able to speak my mind without being judged,” he said. “The professors are all extremely helpful and make students feel as though their opinions and thoughts are valued. It’s not a situation where professors are just lecturing at students—they are all open to working together.”
Peters now works as a counselor supervisor at Crozier House, a residential treatment program for men in Worcester. Many of the residents he works with are former prisoners with drug and alcohol addictions; he helps them develop coping and life skills in order to assimilate back into society while maintaining sobriety. He will continue to work at Crozier while earning his advanced degree. “I hope to gain an even greater insight into psychology through Becker’s master’s program, so I can be a more effective counselor at Crozier,” he said.
Peters’s goal after he earns his Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling is to eventually open a private practice, where he can specialize in helping those with both mental health disorders and addictions. “I believe the only true way to battle addiction at an individual level is to the view the person holistically,” he said. “I also hope to remain part of the Becker community and to help mentor those that come after me.”