Marla Smith, Ph.D., director of counseling services, has been a clinical psychologist in the Indianapolis area for almost 20 years. She was drawn to campus because she wanted to be a part of a university whose mission and core values aligned with her own mission and beliefs.
As a teenager, Smith spent time volunteering for organizations including suicide crisis lines, group homes for children with significant developmental and emotional disabilities, and adult daycare facilities. These experiences led her to pursue a career in psychology. Now, she helps clients learn to cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems, assists in prevention efforts regarding emotional health and wellness, and promotes awareness of current mental health concerns in the community.
As members of the Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) team, Smith and her co-workers support the academic and personal growth of all university students by providing group therapy, crisis services, and career counseling. This fall, CCS will begin using biofeedback programs for stress relief, and also offer weekly mindfulness meditation group to students.
Q & A with Marla Smith, Ph.D.
What led to your career in counseling?
A: I became interested in psychology at a very young age and have always felt that being a psychologist has been a calling for me. I was raised in a faith-filled family that emphasized our responsibility to be of service to others, while working to understand and respect each individual as a unique and valuable person. This laid the foundation for my pursuing a career in psychology.
What is your favorite part of working at Marian University?
A: The students! It is such a privilege to have the opportunity to work with students during times of difficulty, transition, and growth. On a daily basis I see the inner strength, determination, and courage that so many of our students display. They are inspiring in their efforts to learn and grow as young adults, leaders, and professionals.
If Marian University had a karaoke night, what would you sing?
“Seize the Day” from the Broadway show Newsies. It’s an inspiring song about seizing opportunities that present themselves even in the midst of the most challenging circumstances.
The Counseling and Consultation Services office is located on the main floor of Clare Hall and open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Learn more about services available to students.