Rebecca Belton understands the power of community in a person’s life. Thanks to the strong support and guidance she received as an undergrad, she entered counseling as a career. Now, Belton marks her second year teaching counseling at Grace full-time, where she instructs students earning their master’s in mental health on how to provide compassionate, Christlike support to the hurting.
Read more about Professor Belton!
What led you to the field of counseling?
While beginning my undergraduate college career, I was totally uncertain about what I wanted to do. But a variety of factors ultimately led me to counseling: I had a desire to walk with others; I had experienced the incredible gift of supportive relationships when hurting; and I had many individuals in my life who knew me well, encouraging me to consider this career. In several ways, this career has surprised me, but I could not be more grateful God brought me here.
Walk us through your higher education journey.
After earning an undergraduate degree in Bible at Cedarville University, I searched for an online, CACREP-accredited online Christian counseling degree. It led me to Grace College! I completed my master’s in mental health counseling from Grace in 2016. During graduation weekend, one of my faculty pulled me aside and suggested I think about pursuing my doctorate. I thought, “Absolutely not!” Famous last words, I suppose.
In 2020, I began a doctoral program in Counselor Education & Supervision at Regent University. I am now a doctoral candidate and working on my dissertation. As a doctoral student, I had the fantastic opportunity to return to Grace in an adjunct teaching position, which introduced me to my love for teaching. This is now my second year in a full-time role at Grace, and I am so blessed and excited to be here.
What courses in the master’s of mental health counseling will you be teaching, and which one is most exciting to you?
This year, I am teaching Counseling Skills, Group Counseling, and Practicum to those earning a master’s in mental health counseling. They are each exciting to me in their own ways, but I really enjoy teaching Counseling Skills. It is so awesome to work with newer students and watch them become effective, empathetic listeners.
What experience do you have in the field of counseling?
After earning my master’s in mental health, I spent 5 years working with those experiencing homelessness in Milwaukee, providing mental health and substance use counseling services in a residential addiction recovery program. Then I worked in an intensive outpatient program at a hospital in Virginia, primarily providing intensive group therapy services for a variety of ages.
What is your best piece of advice for a future counselor?
Step outside of your comfort zone. You may enter the field with certain clinical interests, but I challenge you to gain experience in areas you are less comfortable. Maybe some clinical areas even scare you – those may be worth exploring! I have personally found some of my clinical specialties are the very areas I was initially uncomfortable with. I say, be open to surprises.
How does your faith inform the way you teach in the grad counselor program?
My faith in Christ is not only the foundation of my own identity, but it also offers a unique anchor for our counseling students as they walk through our program. The practice of counseling provides a beautiful opportunity to join in God’s redemptive work of healing. For this reason, I seek not only to incorporate scripture and prayer into my classes but I prioritize discussions on our personal faith and opportunities to integrate it into practice.
What is one little known fact about you?
I’m an NFL and fantasy football enthusiast. (Go Pack Go!).
Interested in engaging in the mental health field like Belton? Explore Grace College’s Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling here.