Dr. Don Hays is a licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist. He received his doctorate in counseling from the University of North Texas. With over 25 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families, Hays deals with anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, divorce adjustment, individual growth, panic attacks, relationship problems and blended families. He also assists those with midlife and career issues, provides Christian counseling services and utilizes John Gottman’s research-based model.

Why did you pursue a doctorate degree?

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“I pursued a doctorate in counseling because I wanted to help people improve their lives and their marriages. I couldn’t do that without the doctorate degree. The doctorate gave me the creditability I needed to do what I love to do.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a graduate degree?

“I would tell someone returning to school to pay attention to what they are passionate about, because if you find work that you are passionate about, you will never work another day in your life. Don’t get a degree in something that you think is practical if you don’t like the subject. If you like what you are doing, you will generally get better at it. It will energize you and then you will get a sense of satisfaction.”

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What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your doctorate degree?

“The biggest challenge to pursuing the graduate degree was the time commitment. For five years I drove to Denton everyday from Dallas. I ate a lot of meals in the car on my way up to Denton.”

What was the biggest reward for earning the doctorate degree?

“The biggest reward has been the satisfaction of having many couples tell me that I was responsible for saving their marriage. For me, to be able to work in a field that I am passionate about that makes people’s lives better is incredibly rewarding.”

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com