Meet Courtney McWhorter, a second-year student in Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Richmont Graduate University. Courtney hails from Covenant College, where she studied Biblical Studies with a concentration in missions.
Courtney proudly identifies her younger self as “that youth group kid” who “signed up for all the mission trips … literally.” From Kenya and Sweden to London and Honduras, time overseas instilled a sense of adventure in her.
After graduating college, Courtney wanted to help kids grow to love exploring the unknown and missions. She began as Youth Director at Rock Creek Fellowship, where she wrangles middle and high school students. Six years later, Courtney is still leading kids into adventure and deeper relationship with Christ.
When she is not at a middle school football game or seeing a high school rendition of Beauty and the Beast for the eighth time, Courtney can be found hitting the books for her classes at Richmont. We caught up with Courtney to ask her a few questions about ministry and counseling.
Courtney, first things first: Have you ever lost a student at Six Flags or any other amusement park?
I would tell you the story, but it’s still a little sensitive with the family whose kid I lost. Just kidding. I have not lost any kids at Six Flags, but that’s not to say there haven’t been any close calls.
I really love roller coasters, so I’m all about getting the youth group there when the park opens and staying till it closes. If you aren’t a little queasy at the end of the day, you didn’t do it right.
What is your favorite part of being a youth director?
I love being involved in student’s lives. Teenagers are really awesome, and my life is better and richer for having known them and being part of their lives. My role is to serve them and their families, but really, they are a blessing to me in so many ways. I love being an older sister to them in the faith.
One of my favorite parts of my job is the high school girls small group I lead on Wednesday mornings. Small groups have been an influential part of growing in my relationship with Jesus, and I love being able to facilitate those conversations and studying the Word together.
How do you want to use your Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree? Is there any tie in with youth ministry?
Counseling seemed like a logical next step because of my role in youth ministry. I wanted tools that would be helpful to serve where I am now and wherever I end up in the future. I love students and teenagers, so I hope to be a resource to any church I’m involved in—whether in ministry or adolescent counseling.
What has been your most impactful class so far?
I have enjoyed a lot of the classes I have taken, but I think the most impactful would probably be Group Counseling with Dr. Jeff Eckert. It was a challenging class, but rewarding in so many ways.
I believe that we are healed in community, and a lot of aspects of my job that I love involves facilitating conversations in community. Sometimes when we’re struggling or in a unique situation, it’s just so healing to hear that we’re not alone. I think groups are like potlucks: everybody brings something to share and we all benefit from what everyone else brings.
Why did you choose Richmont?
I chose Richmont for a lot of reasons: I love Chattanooga; I wanted to stay working at Rock Creek Fellowship, and I wanted a place where I could learn how to integrate my faith into the healing process of counseling.
I love that Richmont brings a holistic view of people and counseling, acknowledging that because Jesus entered into our suffering I can enter into the suffering of others. For me, there was no better option than Richmont where I could integrate my faith and the world of psychology, because one without the other wouldn’t make sense.
A degree from Richmont equips you to heal and transform the lives of others. Interactive lessons with professors, clinical internships, and a 100 percent passing rate on the national licensure tests are second to none. Find out why Courtney and many others choose Richmont to equip them to make the world a better place. Apply today.