Felix Morton IV ’23PHD: ‘I Chose Counseling Because I Wanted to Become What I Needed Most Growing Up’
When Felix Morton IV entered the counseling profession, his goal was to become the therapist and educator he wished he had growing up. Since then, he has served as a school counselor, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, this December, he will earn his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development with a concentration in counseling and counselor education. Going forward, he plans to continue to teach and train future counselors.
Learn more about Felix Morton IV ’23PHD
Hometown: Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Activities (Research or Extracurricular): Chi-Sigma Iota (CSI), International Counseling Honor Society, Association for Humanistic Counseling, American Counseling Association, North Carolina Counseling Association
What are your research interests? What inspired those interests?
My research interests include Black men’s health and wellness, college student mental health, multiculturalism in counselor training and supervision, group work in college counseling, sense of belonging and college student development, and inclusion and accessibility in the workplace. My personal experiences as a student drive a majority of my research interests and they have since been reinforced by my own work as a counselor educator, supervisor and practitioner.
Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?
I chose the NC State College of Education because of its focus on preparing educators to serve communities across North Carolina. Coming to State, my desire was always to represent Rocky Mount and give back to other communities like it.
Why did you choose your area of study?
I chose counseling because I wanted to become what I needed most growing up: a Black male therapist and educator. My father gave me an ideal to strive towards as a K-12 educator but, through college, I never had a Black male professor. Navigating obstacles as a young Black man, finding a Black male therapist was extremely difficult as well. It was my hope to become what I needed for other Black boys and men who may be looking for support.
What’s your next step? What do you have planned after graduation?
I plan to continue teaching and training future counselors across the country, and opening a private practice geared toward college-age individuals.
How has the College of Education prepared you for that next step?
My community in the counselor education concentration has instilled in me a “Why not me?” mentality of approaching our work and dedication to the field. This mindset has boosted my confidence as a therapist and an educator and reminded me that, whenever in doubt, I have a community of counselor educators that not only supports me but, more importantly, believes in my ability to turn my dreams into reality.
What do you hope to accomplish in your field?
I ultimately hope that, by seeing my work and feeling my presence, more Black men will become not only open to therapy but desire to become therapists and educators. Our most valuable superpower as educators is our abilities to pay it forward and instill hope. Therefore, my greatest hope is that my efforts will lead to more work being done to recognize the value and talents of Black men in mental health and education for generations to come.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the College of Education?
My parents hearing in real time that I had successfully defended my dissertation. That moment was probably the biggest “thank you” that I could ever give them for all of their support and sacrifices toward helping me to become the man that I am today.
Tell us about an experience you had with the College of Education that had the biggest impact on you or your career.
One experience that stands out is when I completed my school counseling add-on program during my doctoral program. This had a huge impact on my career because it allowed me to re-enter the field during arguably the hardest phase of our educational journey. Serving as school counselor during COVID gave me a new perspective to what it meant to be an educator, advocate and teammate, and it immediately drove me to become a faculty member. This way, I can help better train future counselors on the realities of our new normal as they enter the field.
Why did you choose education?
My parents were model educators and, ultimately, the reason I chose education. They gave me a foundation for what it meant to serve and be of service to upcoming generations. Specifically, they taught what it meant to not only be an educator, but be a Black educator, understanding the importance in advocating for equitable care and services, and advancing and uplifting the experiences and voices of the historically oppressed, marginalized, underrepresented and underserved. My parents taught me that not all heroes wear capes.