Camden York said she has wanted to work in the mental health field since she was 15.
“My parents had divorced when I was younger, and as what typically happens in that case, my sister and I attended counseling to assist in the custody decision,” she said. “While there are many upstanding counselors in Arkansas, the counselors my family met with left much to be desired.
“One day before court, one of the counselors couldn’t remember who I had been consistently saying I wanted to live with. It was at that moment that I realized other kids weren’t being heard either and I wanted to do whatever I could to change that.”
York said she considered other ways to help, but realized that becoming a therapist would allow her to “help many lives over time and help voices be heard when there might not be anyone else listening.”
York is now a licensed therapist working with school-age children (K-12) to help them process emotional events, work through trauma, and develop coping skills.
“I teach them to calm themselves down when they get too angry, anxious, depressed or upset, and provide a safe place to express themselves and talk about their thoughts and feelings,” she said. “I also help them develop decision making skills.”
York, who grew up in Glenwood and attended Kirby High School, enrolled at Henderson State in 2009.
“I chose Henderson after touring several colleges across the state while I was in high school,” she said. “I just loved Henderson right away. The campus and the people made me feel so at ease, it felt like I had found my fit.
“Henderson’s psychology program also interested me more than those of other universities, and it ended up serving me well.”
After graduating with her B.A. in psychology, York took a semester off before returning to work on her master’s degree in counseling.
“That very month, I found out I was carrying our first child and my daughter was born during the midterm week of my second semester of graduate school,” she said. “I managed to maintain my 4.0 GPA and graduated in 2016.”
York began working as a mental health paraprofessional with Arkansas Counseling and Psychodiagnostics (ACaP) in 2015. After she acquired licensure, York was granted employment through ACaP as a mental health professional.
“I love my job,” said York. “I enjoy everything from building the client-counselor relationship to watching them go into the world better prepared for challenges they might encounter out there.
“I enjoy being a counselor to sensitive children who need to be heard, to the unruly teenagers who need to be accepted, to middle schoolers struggling to find and understand who they are. I never know what these children are dealing with at home or what they might be struggling with under the surface.”
York said it is her job to create a safe place and help her clients express their thoughts and feelings about situations they don’t have anyone else to talk to.
“I think the best part of my job is when a parent or teacher comes to me and tells me how much change and progress they have seen in a child that I have worked with,” she said. “When other people see this kid utilizing coping skills and processing emotions rather than exploding or withdrawing, I know I’m making a difference.”
York said she researched several graduate school programs before choosing Henderson.
“I definitely made the right choice,” she said. “Henderson’s program provides an affordable high quality education that prepares you for jobs in the mental health field,” she said. “All of my professors were knowledgeable about their area of specialization and were kind, personable professionals with a lot of wisdom and experience to share with students.
“Without my degree, I could not have reached this level in my field. My bachelor’s degree prepared me for the entry level jobs in the mental health field, but I would not be eligible for licensure without my master’s degree from an accredited university like Henderson.”
• This alumni feature is part of an ongoing project featuring Henderson’s outstanding undergraduate and graduate academic programs.