Anna Selena Cho


Outreach Concern Counselor Profiles for Blog

Name: Anna Selena Cho

Title: Regional Field Supervisor, working on completion of hours for Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure and Art Therapy Registration (ATR-BC). I am also training to be certified in neuro-feedback.

University: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Doctorate Student in Applied Clinical Psychology

Practicum Site: Spring View Middle School, Ocean View School District

How did you hear about Outreach? Through the practicum fair at Phillips Graduate Institute

What are some other roles you play in life you would like to share? I am an entrepreneur at heart. My past life prior to the field of psychology was engulfed in the arts. I established a jewelry company in 2004 as an outlet for my creativity. I am currently a humble orange belt in taekwondo, which originally was for my 4 year-old son but I figured it would be a great avenue for self-care and supporting my love-bug. Tae kwon do helps to ground me in my daily struggles, center me with focus and attention, and creates a special bond with my son.

What led to your decision to be a school counselor with us? Outreach Concern seemed to have the largest network of schools and clinical supervisors working together in a collaborative team effort. All I could recognize was opportunity when I imagined myself working with children and adolescents. The overall model of the agency was to create a team work effort to wrap around the children, in an efficient and concrete manner to create opportunities toward success. Born in Southern California, I was raised  in Seoul, Korea having a bi-cultural upbringing. During my own childhood I remember yearning for a mentor when my sisters launched into college. There was always a longing for me to help children and adolescents, and Outreach Concern seemed flexible enough to utilize my own strengths while working with them, to connect, direct, manage, and eventually launch them to the point of self-initiative.

What are some key elements needed while working with children and adolescents in this role? Self-care is essential. Working at Outreach as a counselor really helped me to realize the importance of self-care management. Self-care is not only a physical outlet for the self or getting away, it can also be through present-moment awareness, or doing nothing for five minutes in a day. When you learn to manage your self-care, you also build inner awareness, and inner resources for times of high stress and workload. Positive communication skills is another key element to school counseling. In working with the entire system, and at times with a multi-disciplinary team, your communication needs to be direct, intentional, and collaborative.

How do you identify change in clients? Through internal and external factors in the client, family, faculty and my self I identify change. The client may report different experiences in their family life, social sector, or classroom, depending on what we were exploring in session. The student may also report their internal changes, perhaps by a body scan. The same goes with family members and teachers, as the Outreach model enables us to come together and report back in reference to changes/successes of the student.

How can this practicum/internship experience help you in your future working in the mental health field? The experience you gain in this setting is ultimately up to you. My mantra is to be the best that I can be and not allow my insecurities to tarnish my motivation level by being afraid of my limitations. I find it easier to take this route full throttle when I look at the ultimate goal – to build up our children and show them what potential they possess. There are many moments during this program that test not only your clinical skills, but also your interpersonal skills, integrity, ability to multitask, and patience. I believe it is all about the parallel process. If i ran into a dilemma, received constructive criticism, I always looked at it as an opportunity for growth and to reach my potential.

What words of wisdom can you share with future candidates of Outreach Concern? Professionalism is by far the most important skill you will need to grow while working with Outreach, and in which you will continue to grow upon departure of  Outreach. I went in to my practicum site during my graduate studies thinking about theoretical orientation and the need to examine and memorize each of them. I left my site confident in working with children and families, and even more empowered by how much I was able to practice professional comportment each day at my school. The effects of carrying a “professional lens” led to many more opportunities in my near future.

What is unique about your role as Regional Field Supervisor (RFS)? The RFS is a field supervisor that visits counselors for on-site management on a consistent basis. The role also entails crisis management, to help counselors walk through step by step our agency’s protocol throughout the day. We provide on-going support and training for counselors, and it comes easy to me as I understand the stressors that arise in working with children and adolescents in the school environment, while completing assignments in master’s programs. I love to develop relationships with our school administrators, and work as a team with university practicum directors to ensure that each counselor’s needs are met throughout the school year. This opportunity also enables me to take a marketing and development role, which I have always loved to do through my background in graphic design and running my own business. The most important piece that I value in this role is the “use of self”, and the parallel process which is pivotal in our field.