Chad Barron attended Harding as an undergraduate to study youth ministry. Upon graduating, he began work as a youth minister in Tampa, Florida, where he worked for six years. Barron returned to Harding to study marriage and family therapy so he could utilize his strengths in one-on-one settings and better reach families seeking help. He now plans to go into full-time therapy and hopes to work alongside a church or as a full-time therapist for a congregation.
Barron feels that his time in the MFT program has given him real-world experience and opportunities for personal growth.
“I think the MFT program is great preparation for the field of therapy,” Barron said. “With the internships we do, we get a lot of different experiences at places like Capstone.”
Currently working in a geriatric psych ward, Barron believes the exposure to a diverse population has been beneficial in his training.
“It is very much an experience, and you get experience doing real therapy,” Barron said. “That’s the best way to learn — immersion. It really is an immersive program; you get right into it and get to work with real people doing real therapy really quickly.”
Barron feels his education in Harding’s MFT program would not have been as effective without the cohort model used for training. According to Barron, working alongside others in his cohort has provided valuable relationships and opportunities for connection.
“You can sit around and bounce ideas off each other,” Barron said. “I can’t imagine learning how to do therapy on a computer. I just can’t see learning how to be with people without being with people. It’s not that you talk about a theoretical idea of one day you’ll be running a group and it being a certain way; it’s more like you’re doing it right now.”
Barron is thankful for the personal growth he has experienced while in the program.
“You learn so much about yourself by learning about the human psyche, by learning how people interact, how relationships work, how to invest in relationships and how to get the most out of relationships,” Barron said. “You can’t help people do that unless you’ve done it yourself.”
Barron believes that individuals interested in pursuing MFT but who may be concerned about the academic commitment should take the leap. “I was really nervous because I wasn’t a great student in undergrad, but once you get into your field that you really love, that stuff takes care of itself,” Barron said. “If you’re really passionate about helping people, then it will all take care of itself.”