Service Through Counseling

"Right Where I'm Supposed to Be"

Psychology Graduate Serves the Underserved

Date published: July 10, 2017

Andrea Wierzchowski

Photo courtesy of Texas Woman's University/ Michael Modecki

Andrea Wierzchowski, MPsy ’15, has a heart for bringing counseling and mental health care options to disadvantaged communities.

“When children engage in psychotherapy, there is something magical about their understanding of the world and their ability to heal from traumatic experiences,” said Wierzchowski, who currently works at Dallas County’s Henry Wade Juvenile Detention Center providing assessments and psychotherapeutic services to incarcerated youths ages 10 to 18.

Since completing her master’s degree at UD, Wierzchowski has gone on to pursue a doctorate in School Psychology from Texas Woman’s University and she currently serves Momentous Institute as a doctoral practicum student. At Momentous Institute, a Dallas-based nonprofit that provides education and mental health services to children and families, she works with 10 to 14 year old children and their families to help them improve self-control, problem solving, mindfulness, communications skills and increased respect for themselves and others through the Huddle Up program.

“The adolescents and families I have been able to work with thus far have graced me with the understanding that no matter how difficult the trials we face, there is always hope,” said Wierzchowski.

Wierzchowski’s dedication and passion recently attracted attention on a national scale when she received a competitive scholarship from The Melanie Foundation for her work raising mental health awareness in traditionally underserved communities.

The New York-based foundation was created in 2006 to honor Melanie Merola O’Donnell, who dedicated her life to providing mental health care and passed away while working on her doctorate. One of the foundation’s key missions is supporting aspiring mental health practitioners.

Wierzchowski credits her UD education in phenomenological psychology for making it possible.

“The study of phenomenology at UD has granted me the wisdom to find meaning in my past experiences and correlate these notions to other individual’s experiences.  I strive to empathically immerse myself with each individual I work with. I honor the bravery it takes for anyone to seek counsel and address their needs,” she said.

“Andrea's hard work, discipline, and the passion with which she pursued her education at UD and beyond have positioned her to make a real difference in the delivery of psychological services in the community,” said Psychology Department Chair Gilbert Garza.

 

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