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Servant Leaders in Action: Social Services

MFT Alumna Combines Education and Innovation as Child Therapist

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God gave Zynette (Miraflor) Cohen a passion for helping families. She followed that calling to Hope International University and earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (’07). Now she’s pursuing her passion as a coordinator for Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), a specialized program at Star View Community Services.

“HIU gave me the tools to refine my leadership skills, prepared me to complete assessments and formulate treatment plans, and most of all taught me that it's okay to think outside the box and at the same time still obey God,” she said.  

According to their website, Star View “provides programs for children, adolescents, and transitional age youth (TAY) who face emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges and have difficulty succeeding in family or community living environments.” The purpose of TBS is to provide youth with guidance and support to aid them in transitioning to lower levels of mental health care while simultaneously preventing them from being placed in more restrictive, higher levels of care.

In her role, Zynette supervises eight other therapists who work with children who display risky and/or aggressive behavior. TBS therapists play a vital role in supporting the client’s primary therapist by specifically targeting clients’ behaviors, such as hitting, cutting, punching walls, etc.

The leadership skills Zynette learned through the MFT program at Hope impressed Star View so much that they placed her in a supervisory position before she had even completed her license. “I've heard of students who graduated from other schools and felt lost, but Hope prepared me for my career,” she said. “I never felt lost.”

The constant support of staff and faculty, even after she earned her degree, was incredibly important and beneficial for Zynette. When asked what she remembered most about her time at HIU, Zynette singled out Susan Hastings, Chair and Director of the Marriage & Family Therapy Graduate Department; and Lisa Wilson, Assistant Professor, College of Psychology & Counseling; Director of Clinical Training, Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Both professors were sources of inspiration and encouragement throughout Zynette’s time in the MFT program.

“The professors really encouraged me to think outside the box and to meet my clients and my staff where they are in life.”

As she looks to the future, Zynette is focused on continuing to help children and youth. To that end, she earned her MFT license, which has trained her to further specialize in assessing children as well as allowing her to train therapists.

She is grateful for the education and experiences she received at Hope saying, “My time at HIU was truly a gift from God. God brought great professors and staff who prepared me to be a clinician in a safe Christ centered environment so I can be confident in what I do now.”