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The CTS community extends heartfelt congratulations to Dylan Stanton (MAPF, ’10), who was recently awarded the Mental Health Professional Award from Mental Health America of Indiana at the 2021 Heroes for Recovery Conference. Stanton currently serves as the Program Manager for the mental health and substance abuse department at the Damien Center.

A native Hoosier, Stanton traces his interest in counseling and psychotherapy to the death of his mother. Only four years old at the time, he said that the loss of his mother “incrementally imbued me with greater awareness, compassion, and empathy toward others. I became more curious about the unfairness of life, the meaning of life, and how human beings maintain, endure, rebuild, exist, and/or thrive.” As an adult, after a stint teaching high school and time in the publishing industry, these formative experiences ultimately lead him to become a therapist, a vocation he described as his “dream.”

Stanton came to CTS in 2007 in part because he had always been attracted to the seminary. He recalled that, “It had an energy—inside the building with its austerity and stillness. It struck me as an ideal environment for study, contemplation, and personal growth.” Further, he was drawn to the possibility of studying theology in the midst of his training as a therapist. He explained, “I had many unresolved feelings about religion, God, and the role it may have in the mental health of clients. I am very pleased that I have this background to bring to my work with clients.”

Grateful for his time at CTS, he said it provided “the first time in my academic life that I actually felt challenged, to think, and to support my positions based on required reading. Being a student at CTS was truly one of the best times and experiences in my life. I felt alive and inspired.”

Now at the The Damien Center, Stanton manages a staff of three therapists and oversees operations of his department. There, he works primarily with people living with HIV, and he also has a private practice in Castleton. He plans to retire from The Damien Center this November to focus on his private practice and a writing project.

“My training at CTS prepared me well,” Stanton said. “It provided a very strong foundation for me to launch as a therapist and for me to build on as I pursued additional training. I am not sure that I would have had the level of confidence, knowledge, or skill that I needed to effectively do this work well without my training at CTS.” Especially appreciative of the mentorship of Prof. Matthias Beier, Stanton said that “the raw, hands-on experience that happened at the CTS Counseling Center was the most powerful and beneficial aspect of my training. It sets CTS apart.”

Learn more about the counseling programs at CTS here.