Abigail Oehler, LPC, CRC – Alumna Spotlight
Lead Therapist, Paradigm Treatment
Hometown: Dripping Springs, TX
BA in Psychology, minor in Sociology (2017)
Why and when did you decide to study psychology?
From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to pursue a helping profession and work with youth. After experiencing my own mental health struggles in childhood, I knew that a career in psychology was the path for me. I saw firsthand the good (and the sometimes very bad) sides of the mental health system and knew I wanted to be a part of changing it for the better.
I recall many times in high school I was told I would change my mind about wanting to be a therapist or that I would inevitably end up changing my major in college. It became evident when I arrived at Ole Miss at my first class in Peabody that I had made the right choice. I was continuously amazed by the amount of knowledge the faculty eagerly shared with their students. I immediately related to the passion they displayed for psychology, as it was the same passion that had been building in me for many years.
What were some of your significant accomplishments or favorite memories at UM?
Some of the memories that stand out to me during my time as an Ole Miss psychology major include working on my Honors thesis, Loneliness, Meaning in Life, and Depressive Symptomatology in College Students, with the brilliant Dr. Danielle Maack. I also thoroughly enjoyed my time serving as the Vice President of the International Honor Society in Psychology, Psi Chi. I look back on fond memories of taking engaging and thought-provoking classes with professors such as Dr. John Young and Dr. Mervin Matthew.
Please tell us about the educational and career path since graduation.
After graduating from Ole Miss, I went straight into a graduate program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. There I earned my Masters in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling. I have since obtained several licenses to practice, including Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
My clinical practice began during my internship/practicum phase working in a youth homeless shelter in Dallas, Texas. During my time there, I developed my love for working with youth impacted by trauma. I continued my career journey working with youth at various locations such as other youth shelters, underserved middle and high schools, and partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. Most recently, I am honored to serve as Lead Therapist at a new cutting-edge residential treatment center in Austin, Texas. It is a privilege that the youth I have treated entrusted me to join them in part of their journey. My greatest joy as a therapist is seeing youth begin to blossom hope again in their lives.
What is the value of studying psychology in today’s world?
I believe there is immense value in studying and pursuing a degree in psychology. Even if your path is not therapy, a psychology major can be an asset in many different career fields. Being able to understand human behavior, thoughts, and feelings allows us to look at things from different perspectives and ultimately create a better world. I am thankful that mental health is being talked about more and more each day. I have hope that the stigma around mental health will continue to be lifted as years go by. With that being said, there is an emergence for the need of those well-versed in psychology to heed the call. I can assure you that becoming a psychology major at Ole Miss will give you the tools to do just that. I know it did for me.