Shayne McNichols

Shayne McNichols


BS, Grand Valley State University, Health Sciences, 2005

MSW, Grand Valley State University, Social Work, 2009


After taking a year off between graduating from undergrad and applying to the Doctorate in Physical Therapy program, for the first time, I wondered if attending PT school was what I truly wanted to do. Yes, I completed the Health Services program, but was PT my passion? As a result of this, I felt the need to pray, seek God, search my heart and reflect. Within that, I was directed by God to connect with a mentor. She helped me to process my thoughts and highlight strengths unrealized. Although I was on the road to Physical Therapy within the academia sphere, my employment choice always was in the social services field. I had an awakening, I realized that I needed to no longer ignore what my heart was tethered to. I entered the School of Social Work and learned the totality of the field.

During graduate school, I was also working as a Youth Treatment Specialist in a group home for fostered youth. Through this experience, I was able to understand the classroom teaching of human behavior in their environment and provide interventions. Having this “hands on experience,” allowed me to transition into a deeper level of appreciation and admiration for the profession. In addition to this, I grew as a person. I became more assured of the impact that I could make in the field. I knew that the Social Work profession was exactly where I needed to be – I chose correctly.

Upon completing my Masters in Social Work, my first job was as a Foster Care Case Manager. I learned the importance of advocacy and how to navigate the child welfare system. However, I was not yet completely settled in and satisfied; thus, after further exploration, I later transitioned into individualized and group therapy. This particular work energized me, as I was able to do collaborative work and use my creativity to help clients achieve their goals.

Just as my clients, my journey is not exact with any others, but I am grateful that I was able to land within my purpose. I do this work because I simply have a heart for people. I’ve been asked which population of people I enjoy working with most and my answer is simple, “All of them; I just enjoy working with, alongside, and on behalf of people.” I am energized by the process of counseling, listening to the client’s story and the vulnerability and transparency attached; client’s self-actualization; the planning and growth process of the client; certainly, favorable outcomes. I enjoy encouraging and supporting clients through their transitions. I am surged by the spontaneity within this field – just as no two clients are exactly alike, neither is the profession from day to day. I am also thrilled by the collaborative nature of counseling, as I am able to work with clients and their supports to achieve treatment goals.

Outside of work, I enjoy listening to music in both the private and the concert setting. I enjoy spending time with loved ones, including my toy Pomchi, Coko. I also enjoy traveling; I have discovered a love for the explorative nature within road trips. I enjoy spending time at the lake and/or ocean. I can be found vintage shopping for clothing items, accessories and home decor. I have a love for fashion styling as well. I am considered a foodie, as I enjoy trying unique cuisines at locally owned restaurants (also a travel favorite). I also enjoy creative writing in a nice, quaint setting.

Professional experience

During my MSW studies, I worked as a Youth Treatment Specialist in a youth residential care facility. Since earning my MSW, I have worked at a Kent County foster care agency as a Foster Care Case Manager. I was employed as a Home-based and Outpatient Clinician/Consultant, as a Case Manager for the human trafficked population, and as a Group Facilitator at a Kent County non-profit agency for youth and families. I began employment at the Center for Counseling and Wellness in August 2016 as a Counselor. I have a specialty in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Academic interests

  • Cultural Competence
  • Race Relations
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Gender roles
  • Play therapy
  • Genealogy/Family Systems
  • Anger management
  • PTSD
  • Crisis intervention
  • Community-based care
  • Traumatic stress
  • Community education of mental health topics
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Coping Skills
  • Art Therapy

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