Phil Prothero, LCMHC, MAC, MDIV, CSAT

I never wanted to be a counselor!

My undergraduate degree was in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and my plan was to have a secure career as a water quality modelling engineer. At the time I was very much the stereotypical engineer, where I stressed a lot about having social interactions, especially with people I didn’t know. My career plan went by the wayside when my life fell apart and, in that time, I felt an invitation to attend counseling school for the purpose of learning how to have “meaningful conversations”.

Over time I have come to realize that being a counselor is much more of a passion of my heart than engineering ever was. I find my engineering training and experience gives me a unique ability to connect with more analytical people as well as creatives.

What do all those letters after my name mean? Let me decrypt the code:

  • LCMHC: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, is the credential associated with being fully licensed in Vermont to practice mental health counseling. In Michigan the license is called a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Washington it is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). I am fully licensed in all three of these states.
  • MAC: Master of Arts in Counseling, that specifies I have a master’s degree in counseling. Stating this can be a little redundant, because to become licensed, one must have a graduate degree in the counseling field. Sometimes this acronym is shortened to just MA.
  • MDIV: Master of Divinity. This simply means the study of theology or religion. People often get this degree to become a pastor or other religious leader, however, that was not my intent. I pursued this degree for personal enrichment; however, I do find it quite helpful in the counseling work. I completed both masters degrees from Mars Hill Graduate School, now known as The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in 2004.
  • CSAT: Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. This is a certification, created by the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). Getting this certification requires a significant amount of training and experience and requires ongoing training to maintain. In 2005 I completed the training to become fully certified as a CSAT.

In 2012, I completed the requirements to become an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trained provider. In 2015 I began training in psychodrama and creative experiential therapy modalities at Onsite Workshops. And more recently, in 2021, I earned my post-master’s certificate for Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate from the University of Denver.

Personally, I have always had a love and appreciation for animals and the natural world. In my work, this translates into trying to incorporate the natural world into our counseling work as much as possible. I also have a particular interest in exploring the role of family pets in one’s past and present family system and including animal interactions (feline and equine) in therapy.

Things that bring me joy in life are spending quality time with my wife and cats, outdoor activities such as kayaking, backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing, improving the lives of community cats by assisting with trap-neuter-return (TNR) of feral cats, and using various mediums to express my creativity.

Helping people experience greater emotional, somatic, and spiritual freedom by offering creative, experientially based counseling services, retreats, and spiritual direction.

Redeeming Stories’ mission