One step closer: Outstanding counseling graduate plans to open her own practice

Larissa shakes hands with Amy Parsons, president of CSU, as she walks across the stage at graduation.
Larissa shakes hands with Amy Parsons, president of CSU, as she walks across the stage at graduation.

Larissa Cambel is one step closer to her dream. Cambel, an outstanding graduate from the School of Education at Colorado State University, has completed her master’s degree in counseling and career development. She dreams of one day opening her own private practice. 

Becoming a counselor requires working on oneself to be ready to help others with their own emotions and challenges, according to Cambel.  

“Going through the program and being willing to grow into who I am now is the accomplishment I am most proud of,” she said. 

Pandemic reset 

Cambel has always enjoyed working with others and helping them reflect and find solutions to their challenges. However, she didn’t have any previous experience or exposure to the field of counseling. 

Cambel is an army veteran and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Appalachian State University after her service. Then, she returned home to spend time with and take care of family.  

She came to Fort Collins after the pandemic allowed her time to reflect on her life and what she wanted her future to be. “The CCD program has a great reputation, and I thought a change in location would be good for me,” she said. 

Inner challenges 

“Many of the obstacles I had to overcome came from within,” Cambel said of her journey to complete her degree. This is a common experience for many like Cambel: “The program causes a lot of self-reflection and sometimes that was more difficult than maintaining grades, balancing life and school, or adapting to changes from the pandemic.” 

Cambel’s sense of accomplishment isn’t just because of completing her degree, but also because of how the program has helped her grow as an individual.  

“The amount of self-work and self-reflection can make it very difficult, but I think it’s because I took the time to do the self-work that I’m ending my program in a way that I feel very proud of,” she said. 

Larissa CambelSupport and perseverance 

Cambel says faculty in the Counseling and Career Development Program have been supportive, especially when she “felt stuck, or didn’t know how to move forward.” 

“My professors have helped enable me to grow and become confident in my own skills,” she said. “The variety of classes exposed my classmates and me to ideas and skills that are applicable every day.” 

Next steps 

Cambel completed an internship with the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where she provided counseling services to individuals whose pets were receiving treatment.  

She will continue to further refine her skills in preparation to become a licensed counselor as an apprentice with Northern Colorado Counseling. After that, she plans to open her own private practice.  

“I’ve always loved the academic environment and the ease of access to learning and information,” Cambel said, reflecting on her time at CSU. “I will miss my professors, my cohort, and access to the library’s databases for all the moments when I want to research something.”  

She also hopes to return to academia for a Ph.D. one day. 

The School of Education is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.