Jennifer Doctorovich

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student

Jennifer Connell Doctorovich Headshot

Program & Concentration: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Hometown: Born in Newport Beach, CA and lives in Houston, TX

Expected Graduation Date: Summer 2022

Prior Education or Experience: BFA in Acting at California Institute of the Arts (1992) and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner from the NTA (2008)

Bio: Jennifer Doctorovich currently resides in Houston, Texas. She has an eclectic background beginning with being a trained classical theater actress with more than 35 years on stage. Living in New York City forced Doctorovich to become proficient in survival while auditioning for work. She has previously worked as a makeup artist, group fitness instructor, writer and blogger and even a legal proofreader. In 2008, Doctorovich graduated from the Nutritional Therapy Association as a nutritional therapy practitioner. She worked in clinical practice and then joined forces with supplement company Transformation Enzymes as a practice advisor, advising practitioners in how to implement enzyme therapy into their practices. Doctorovich was also mentored by Deanna Minich, UWS human nutrition and functional medicine instructor, when becoming a food and spirit practitioner, which allowed her to integrate nutrition with the psychological aspect of healing. Having these different skill sets prepared Doctorovich for the next step, which was studying mental health with an eye toward integrative medicine.

Why did you choose UWS?

I had been following the university for some time because of the strong human nutrition and functional medicine program. My mentor, Dr. Deanna Minich, is a UWS instructor and always had amazing things to say about it. My family is in Seattle and I love the Pacific Northwest, having gone to Portland almost every year for conferences. There is a connection I have with Portland, and even though the program is online, it felt very fitting to go to school here. I also tend to choose schools that are newer and that was another draw getting in a program on the ground level. The class sizes are small so one doesn’t feel “lost in the shuffle.” Having waited 30 years to get my master’s degree, I was looking for just the right graduate school that I could blend distance with clinical application and UWS was that school.

What has been your favorite class/instructor?

That’s a hard question to answer because each teacher has brought something new to the table. I love Dr. Amy O’Hana’s psychotherapy class, because as a teacher she is so intentional. It was one of my first classes and so exciting to put a pathology puzzle together with the various case studies. I felt I was in my element right away. I also loved Dr. Michelle Rose’s group counseling class. Coming from a creative background, accessing my personal stories, writing and designing a group from the ground up fused both my creative and clinical sides. My friends call me a “left-brained empath.” This course allowed me to access both sides of my brain while playing!

What has been your experience with learning in CMHC’s online learning environment?

Online learning can only grow. It allows you to design your life more freely than going to structured in-person classes. UWS has this down, even during the COVID pandemic. In fact, that was a huge advantage in the middle of a lockdown where other schools struggled with navigating a rapidly changing format. The con of an online learning environment is the vacuum it can create. We all spent the last few years in a vacuum from the pandemic. Online learning is the double layer.  It can feel lonely and isolating at times. I do miss moments of being in class, getting into random conversations, engaging with my peers and professors. We do this on Zoom, but the energy isn’t quite the same! Still, this format has allowed me to go back to school where ten years ago, it wasn’t a possibility.

What has been the most surprising or eye-opening part of attending UWS?

I love the truly diverse group of students who are attending the program. There are Olympians, veterans, artists and others representing so many professions. It has been a year and the most surprising thing to me will be being on the campus and meeting my peers in person for the first time—on graduation day! That will feel somewhat strange for sure!

What do you hope to do after graduation?

Right after graduation? I’m going on a vacation! Seriously, I would love to visit friends in New York and see some theater. Then maybe a trip to London where I grew up and of course, I want to visit my family in Seattle. Professionally, I would like to work towards a private practice as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) with a group of diverse healers who believe in collaboration with different modalities. I am open to a few avenues—working with performing artists as well as complex trauma are two areas currently being explored. Right now, I just want to be open to possibilities.

What is your favorite activity to destress?

I miss hiking. When I visit Portland, that’ll be a goal. Utah is another favorite place with incredible healing energy as well as the Red Rocks in Colorado. Having been a performing artist for more than 35 years, theater is still one of my favorite pastimes. I also enjoy reading, weightlifting, yoga, movies and laughing with friends. Staying in with friends, ordering a gluten-free pizza and enjoying a good red wine is basic, but it is my happy place; connection feeds my soul.