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Blog posts : "Autobiographical PsyD Clinical PsyD Counseling Social Work"

PsyD Psychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis

My mother is Japanese and my father is Jewish. Both me and my father were born and raised in Chicago and the city is very much part of our social identities. I have spent most of the last few years in Washington DC., New York City, and Boston, however, and I am now in the process of moving back home to Chicago. I have been working very hard this summer to prepare myself for graduate school in Psychology by studying at the University of XXXX in XXXX, completing an Introduction to Psychology intensive course and currently enrolled in “Research Methods in Psychology.”

I hope to earn the PsyD Degree in Clinical Psychology and develop a central focus on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. XXXX is my first choice because I see your program as the most innovative and thoroughgoing among programs in Chicago and the best fit for my intellectual and professional interests. In particular, I appreciate your emphasis on the “practitioner-scholar” model of training.

I seek a total immersion as a doctoral student in the study of primary social forces and subject positioning. What does it mean to say that we have inner lives? Is this fantasy, metaphor, or allegory? Drawing critically on the traditions of post-structuralism and post-modernism, I want to engage with these questions. I am intrigued by the pervasiveness of complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding meaning making endeavors, especially for people struggling through difficult situations – particularly in light of the psychological, social and cultural applications of psychoanalytic theory.

I am especially interested in issues of gender and identity and their relationship to the development of one’s social life, and to questions of otherness, marginalization, and oppression. Looking forward to an in-depth study of how identities, beliefs, intimacies and hatreds are transmitted across generations as well as between contemporaries, I am especially interested in secrets that are passed down from one generation to the next, the pull of the past. Processes of change occurring at personal, microsocial and macrosocial levels will be my central focus as I examine the psychological investments made in both change and resistance to change. Looking in broad strokes at strategies of empowerment and liberation, I want to think with increasing creativity about what opposes the march towards freedom and realization.

I plan to devote my professional life to the study of why so many people tend to remain in love with their chains. This entails raising many conventional and fundamental questions with respect to both psychotherapy and social action. The psychosocial project is complicated by the fact that psychotherapeutic practices are by no means uniformly progressive in their politics or in their effects. Indeed, much commentary on psychotherapy - from feminism to critical theory - has been directed at the conformism embedded in its assumptions and practices: adaptational, elitist, ideological, controlling, patriarchal, bourgeois, etc. Clearly, psychotherapy is embedded within some form of modernist epistemology which assumes the possibility of expertise, integration and individual self-development, and which often brackets out the “social” aspect of the psychosocial subject. I have no commitment to any particular way of doing psychotherapy--or even to psychotherapy as a basic good, which it might or might not be; rather, I am interested in questions of social and personal change, independently of the extent to which that change has occurred as a result of therapy. As a practitioner-scholar, I am fascinated by historical and area studies that shed light on the social psychological aspects of social change, the examination of shifts in action and experience over time and place so as to learn as much as possible about the mechanisms that inhibit or facilitate progressive adaptation to one’s social environment.

My intention in undertaking research at the doctoral level is to further my personal understanding of the dissonance between my own inter-subjective experience of reality and the objective one in which I struggle daily. I do this with the hope that in doing so I may discover something which will help to further the self-understanding of others as well. I want to contribute to the actualization of one potential over another and in this way promote a social order characterized by greater levels of freedom and more equitable relationships among people. I do not believe that we should try and create such relationships by force, or, its correlate, control, but through empowerment and participation grounded in principles of justice and human dignity. I hope to become a “good-enough” (to use Winnicott’s term) psychotherapist to be able to provide someone with the opportunity to seize hold of lost or hidden meanings and re-own them, recover them; empowered to tell their own stories and reflect back in a way that enables these life-stories to be owned, understood, and put to the service of one’s liberation.

I am committed to psychoanalysis on both professional and personal levels, seeing my own analyst for the past 4 years, completing courses in psychoanalysis and reading a lot of the major texts, Freud and Jung, object relational theorists such as Winnicott, Klein, Segal, Fairbain, Bion, Kohut, etc. To be committed to psychoanalysis, for me, implies putting the insights and forms of attention learned in the clinic (or elsewhere) to the test in everyday life.

I measure success in life by its level of passionate fullness; by one’s ability to bear tension, frustration, and anxiety; by felicitous reflection on and the ability to work towards the attainment of various and varied desires; by the well-cultivated capacity to receive and respond to our desires and meanings as well as those of others. I also see this as the ultimate measure and meaning of one’s commitment to psychoanalysis.

I would like to eventually have my own private practice providing psychoanalytic psychotherapy to clients from diverse backgrounds and helping as many people as I can. I also hope to secure a position teaching, continuing my research and writing/publishing in my areas of interest. I have worked hard to enhance my capacities to tolerate, reflect, and work within the space of ambiguity and tension through self-observation and integration of overwhelming affects, fears, desires, anxieties, and sensations. My research interests and the work that I want to pursue provide me a sense of personal vitality and authenticity and for this reason I will work as hard as I can to fulfill my passion. I feel especially attracted to the research undertaken by Dr. XXXX at XXXX and I believe my research interests are such that he would be a good fit for me as a mentor to guide me with respect to directions in my research.

I earned college credit from Columbia University and New York University in the summers of 2003 and 2004. I graduated cum laude from the XXXX University in 2006 and was on the Dean's List at GWU for two semesters (fall 2004, fall 2005). I was also awarded a place in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at GWU (fall 2003). I also completed a Graduate-Student-at-Large program at the University of XXXX and took courses from the Committee on Social Thought and Philosophy (2007-2008). I have traveled much of the world, spending a full year traveling through India and Asia (Tibet, Burma, Bhutan) after I graduated from college. I have been to China several times (Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Taishan), Tokyo, Taipei, Bali, Indonesia, Western Europe (I lived in Paris for 6 months). My parents moved to Milan, Italy for one year when I was 12 for their work as fashion designers. Thus, I was able to see much of Italy. I have also been to Cape Town, South Africa as well as Kenya and Tanzania. In Latin America I have visited Argentina, Chile, Peru, Cuba, and in the Middle East Dubai.  I read and speak French at an intermediate level and I Spanish as a beginner.

Very much influenced by humanism, critical theory, Gramsci, Foucault, and a variety of feminist perspectives, I have drawn from these individuals and theories because they struck a cord that resonated through the whole of my personal and intellectual search for self-understanding and direction. They gave voice to and expanded the personal knowledge that I brought to my efforts to reflect on and make sense out of my own experience.

Schultz's concept of phenomenology, for example, speaks to my belief that all knowledge is relative and normative; that empirical facts and data are meaningful only when they are placed in a normative and value-laden context; and, that "into every act of knowing there enters a passionate construction of the person knowing what is being known and…this coefficient is no mere imperfection but a vital component of [her] knowledge" (Polanyi, 1958). The Freirean philosophy of consciousness and empowerment, as well as humanism, speaks to my need to believe that collectively and individually we can freely choose the values and assumptions from which we name reality.

Gramsci and Foucault, in different ways, give voice to my understanding of the intensity of the struggle in which we must engage, both collectively and individually, in order to be able to make the choices that lead to our fullest self-realization. Finally feminism addresses most directly my own experience of oppression as a woman.

I thank you for considering my application to XXXX.

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PsyD, Husband, Father, Cancer Survivor

The PsyD Program at XXXX University is my first choice for study at the doctoral level because of your location and the fact that I see my interests as the best fit for your program. A husband of 28 years and a father of a 23-year-old daughter, I am also a cancer survivor and a recovering alcoholic for more than a decade; thus, I feel that I have developed wisdom that will be useful for helping others. In particular, I look forward to continuing to help young men caught up in the juvenile justice system to avoid some of the pitfalls that snare so many young substance abusers, especially teenage alcoholics. I also look forward to helping others to face up to the battle against cancer.

A graduate student in a Clinical Mental Health Program specializing in Reality Therapy, I am a responsible self-starter who communicates well and is dedicated to caring for the mental health of my clients.  Team-oriented with a strong record of establishing solid relationships with clients, co-workers and administration, I pay great attention to detail and documentation and I am well read in the area of professional ethics and public policy.

The internship of more than 700 hours that I completed at XXXX Department of Corrections (DOC) has been formative in my career direction and I have simply become addicted to the challenge presented to our society by teenage substance abusers. I am especially enthused after this experience with the power of group counseling to change the way that young people think, helping them to achieve greater levels of control over their behavior.

I spent most of my adult life in the restaurant business in which I was highly successful; now financially independent at 53 years old, I have turned my full attention to what I love most: the study of psychology, healing, therapy, and most of all counseling. My special passion for counseling which drives my application to the PsyD Degree Program at XXXX University is born in part from my own highly positive experiences over the last couple of decades with counseling for myself, an alcoholic in recovery currently celebrating very close to one full decade of sobriety. Thus, it is easy to see why I am so dedicated to helping others. I have been actively engaged with AA and NA for many years now and have went to our local hospital’s detox and dual diagnosis units to help out as a volunteer on frequent occasions. I am fully focused on salvation and redemption and enjoy nothing more than talking the talk and walking the walk of sobriety. I feel that I can make my strongest contribution to my community in the therapy and rehabilitation of young offenders in the juvenile justice system. I am experienced in this area and I have found that when I share with these young men about my own struggle years ago and the problems that alcohol caused in my life, they listen to me much more intently than they would do so otherwise. From my experience, counseling that comes from the heart and stays close to the bone is the most effective.

As a young business man, earning my BS in Business Marketing back in 1985 was a natural choice. My interest in psychology and mental health - my calling and vocation - was something that developed over time. This coming year, however, in 2017, I will earn my Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health from XXXX University. Alcoholism and substance abuse are only part of the issues in the psychology of healing in which I look forward to continuing to immerse myself for the balance of my professional a lifetime.  The way I have dealt and continue to deal with my own addiction is to look at myself attentively in the mirror every morning and saying to myself everyday that I'm an alcoholic, mindful of my condition at every moment. I keep my Disease in front of me at all times. This clearly works; otherwise, I would not be maintaining my 4.0 GPA at UXX.

My long term goal is to make a positive change in human lives through the DOC, especially with young offenders. These teenage offenders come from a broad variety of backgrounds with all different types of obstacles in their path that they must overcome. I feel very strongly that juvenile offenders are in a separate moral category than their adult counterparts and that they deserve special consideration and investment. Everything that applies to the adult offender in terms of deserving another chance, a shot at rehabilitation and re-insertion into society: much more so does it apply to the offender who is a legal minor. They deserve a special chance; an education and the assistance that they need to overcome the obstacles that stand in their way to becoming a productive member of society. I firmly believe that some will be very successful if they follow a well put together program that has guidelines and parameters that effectively prepare them for re-entry into society. I firmly believe that many if not most juvenile offenders could become very successful members of the community if they were to follow a program that had well designed guidelines and parameters that effectively prepared them for re-entry.

Several of the clients that I have worked with stand out in my mind and I continue to reflect upon them and their situation. I had very intense conversations with AH, for example, who was in a sexual offender group at the age of 19.   According to him, his victim was 13 years old and he was 18 and he was set up because she never told him her real age and he never asked.  Throughout all of our long sessions he went into great detail on what actually transpired.  For the first few sessions, I could not put my finger on it.  But then, after reviewing my notes, by the third session I could see that things just didn’t add up and I realized that AH was a chronic liar.  Almost every single thing that he told me was contradicted by something else that he said in a group or in a subsequent session. I reflected on the possibility that AH has Extreme Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I have heard that one cannot change a narcissist, that they must change themselves. In the fourth session with AH I began to expose his discrepancies.  I thought that he might either shut completely down and/or feel rage at being exposed; most likely continuing in his narcissistic way of thinking and interacting. AH was one of my first clients in the DOC and he was not my greatest success. Nevertheless, with AH I became aware of the fact that my age was an asset, and that I was shown at least a minimal amount of respect because of my real life experiences. He left me with the impression that I had resources that a younger counselor may not have, at least with AH. 

Another inmate I will never forget is MJ, a 17 year old inmate sentenced to life.  During my fifth week in the DOC I learned that MJ’s mother had passed away unexpectedly.  Since I had already met with him on several occasions in regard to behavior incidents, I was selected to tell him that his mother had passed away.  I was a nervous wreck because there is no easy way or text book example on how to handle a situation such as this.  When MJ walked into the meeting room in cuffs and shackles, he asked why he was meeting with me.  I said to him: “I have some bad news for you.” MJ screamed “what happened to my mom?”  I looked at him and said nothing, only staring into his eyes.  At that point, MJ fell on the floor and began sobbing.  I went over to him and sat down next to him to show support.  MJ never knew his father, his mother was a crack addict and he grew up on the streets of Philadelphia.  As I sat with him on the floor for nearly the entire session he finally asked me what had happened to his mother.  I told him that it was a tragic accident involving a tractor trailer and that she passed instantly.  MJ looked at me and said: “That’s a relief to know that she wasn’t shot and she didn’t suffer.  She died with some dignity.”  I was assigned to counsel MJ for an hour every week and I tried to see him about three times a week and it usually worked out.  After about a month of grief counseling, I saw MJ in the general population and he came up to me and said, “Mr C I just want to thank you for the way you told me of my mother’s passing.  I knew it was hard for you but I’m glad it was you.  Thank you.”  That was the most rewarding experience I’ve had in counseling so far and I want more. 

I believe that many of the problems our society faces today are a direct result of negative behavior that is learned from parents as well as society as a whole. The reason that I want to earn my Psyd is to learn by experience with a hands-on clinical approach. I firmly believe that the best way to learn is through experience, being there, putting what one preaches into practice.

I thank you for your consideration of my application to XXXX University.

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PsyD Clinical Psychology, Children of Color, Mom

A new mom, I could not be more enthused with new directions in my study of Psychology, especially my focus on becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist. As a young black woman born and raised until the age of 15 in our native Guyana, I relate especially well with children of color, particularly those that are at risk and from disadvantaged, marginalized, or recent immigrant backgrounds. While completing my MA in Developmental Psychology (2014), I had the chance to do my practicum in a child life setting where I would perform medical play with children arriving for pre-hospitalization. Most of these children were from lower-class families and had developmental delays. This experience inspired me with great passion and inner drive to work with children and their families in these circumstances.

I dream of becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist so that I can continue to help children and their families every day of my professional life and to have a very positive impact on their future. I look forward to decades to come reaching out a helping hand to underprivileged children and their families both here in the USA and in the Developing World, probably Guyana later on in my career when I get homesick and want to come full circle. My birth country has a very high suicide rate, especially among adolescent females, suggesting the need for well trained –and especially female – child psychologists. I want to advocate for children and teach by example, inspiring new generations of leaders in the care of our most vulnerable members of society.

XXXX University is my first choice among doctoral programs in Psychology for a variety of reasons. I appreciate your history as the longest running PsyD program in the USA and the way that you so artfully balance classroom instruction and practical applied experience. I am especially looking forward to the latter since I am practice oriented and anxious for more hands on experience. Perhaps most of all, I appreciate your especially thoroughgoing focus on child, adolescent, and family psychotherapy.

If selected, I will be the first member of my family to attend graduate school. It would make me very happy to give my life to working with the types of children that I now have experience, autistic and Downs Syndrome with developmental delays (speech etc.) What amazes me with some of these clients is how they use medical play to express their emotions. I see enormous value and potential in play therapy, based on my experience, where most of the children that I worked with who had a hard time expressing themselves were able to express themselves better through structured play activities. With great frequency, I reflect upon some of the children who came especially close to my heart; such as a 6 year-old Hispanic girl with autism and a lot of tooth decay. She would grunt all the time when trying to talk but also smile all the time. A Caribbean-American girl, 8 years old, with Down syndrome: I colored with her as she kept looking at me and making baby noises. Her mother was very laid back, texting on her phone and barely glancing over at her child. A 9 year old boy, also with Down syndrome, was very smart and excelled at medical play, signaling to his mother and grandmother from across the room. Very gentle and polite, this child was a sheer delight to care for and educate.

I have also worked at daycares and after schools programs with children who live in deprived areas and I am currently working at a psychiatric hospital for young children and adolescents with behavioral and mental issues. These experiences have given me the opportunity to learn how to better address the mental health needs of special populations and I look forward in particular to learning about the impact of economic factors on children's mental health.

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PsyD, Soldier, Priest, Counselor, PTSD

I ask for acceptance to earn the PsyD Degree at the XXXX Institute so that I might add the final and most important professional hat to my repertoire of historically interconnected or culminating roles. First, I gave my all for my country as a soldier; then I became an Episcopal Priest. Since June of 2014, I have served as the Director of Admissions at the XXXX School Prior to this position, I served for two years as a parish priest at XXXX Episcopal Church in XXXX. The cause to which I have decided to vote the balance and hopefully by far most significant part of my professional life is that of helping our veterans to heal. My comrades have been thrust into questionable moral situations for a very long time, forced to engage in many morally questionable activities, and with all too great a frequency fall into moral decay, as a result of stress, violence, and in some cases their own moral failure. I see the Wright Institute as the best fit for my interests, an academic community in which to find support and ideas to empower and inspire me to write a doctoral dissertation on the subject of Moral Injury and how it is related to PTSD.

I look forward to many decades to come fully immersed in an exploration of the ways that Moral Injury has, in the words of Rut Gubkin: "biological, emotional, neurological and spiritual and/or existential dimensions." As a priest of ecumenical formation, I believe that I have education/training/experience that will prove to be of great value in the development of models for healing that incorporate spirituality from a diverse body of religious backgrounds with a central focus on spirituality itself, rather than spirituality as it exists within any given religious tradition. I am especially interested in first studying, perhaps even helping to perfect or contribute to the development of Moral Injury Event Scales (MIES). I am pleased that there is already an extensive body of literature with which I have to work as a foundation, helpful data regarding moral injury resulting from transgressions by others, transgressions by self, and transgression by betrayal, resulting in stress, PTSD, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, anger and rage.

I look forward to connecting some of the dots from my own experience as a soldier, with Moral Injury Theory which suggests, for example, that those who suffer Moral Injury as a result of the transgressions of others rather than their own are especially susceptible to PTSD. I saw this to be glaringly true of the poor fellows who I interacted with in the mortuary affairs unit overseas. They are the ones who process the bodies of those killed in action. They processed both Americans and the local Iraqi population who were killed in action (KIA). It's a terrible thing to see a mother and father lying on a table next to their children, the entire family KIA. It is even worse to see this several times a day, almost every day, for long periods of time. As if this were not yet tragic enough, these soldiers were well aware that many if not most of these casualties of war that come from air strikes that are not reported on the news and sometimes not reported at all. The transgressions of others often occur by people making simple mistakes with deadly consequences; these transgressions are also the most heavily correlated with PTSD.

Transgressions of self, on the other hand, have been shown to be more strongly associated with hopelessness, pessimism, and anger. One young marine from my unit was the gunner on top of a vehicle and the driver fell asleep and lost control, flipped the vehicle, and the young marine was crushed and mangled beyond recognition. Despite the fact that what happened was an accident, the driver of this vehicle is likely to experience more trauma than would have been the case if he had fallen asleep in civilian traffic and taken a life—due to the sheer chaos and ambiguity of combat. Adrenaline, fear, and a desire for revenge can be most lethal combinations resulting in soldiers all too frequently transgressing their own sense of morality in the heat of battle, making split-second decisions that will haunt them for a lifetime, leaving the with invisible scars that are sometimes not easy to detect.

I am especially concerned with the variety of ways in which Transgressionsof Self in warfare can have deadly consequences. One suicidal young marine that I dealt with in my office stands out in my mind. He had been standing guard on a dirt road in Fallujah when a car was approaching his checkpoint. The car was not slowing down so he aimed his rifle at the driver and pulled the trigger. The bullet struck the driver in the head and the car came to a slow stop. There was a 5 year old boy in the front seat covered in his father’s blood. The young boy was crying uncontrollably as the driver was still grasping for his last few breathes. Radio communication was not working properly and the marine who pulled the trigger spent 2 hours with the young boy and his now-dead father before backup arrived. This had happened 3 months prior to our conversation. I glanced down at his boots and noticed that the bloodstains were still there.

Finally, I seek to excel in Moral Injury Theory and PTSD treatment in my research concerning “Betrayal.”  The damage that occurs from the perception of being morally betrayed is especially evident among Iraq veterans who feel strongly that they were betrayed by their government because they were required to fight an unjust war, and that the blood that has been spilled in Iraq has been spilled in vain. The struggle to recover for these veterans who suffer from a sense of Betrayal is compounded by the fact that evidence has continued to emerge that they were indeed sent to war on the basis of false intelligence (no weapons of mass destruction). Many joined the military because they felt that they were serving a greater purpose after the country was attacked on 9-11. Now they have to deal with the fact that Saddam/Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. They are left with the unsettling question about the atrocities of war they participated in and what was it all for? 

My central objective in life has always been to serve others, first in the military, followed by the ministry; these days I mostly serve the needs of prospective graduate students. My experiences as a priest in the Episcopal Church have given me a platform for making connections with groups on every level, from the Bay Area to internationally. I have valuable connections to important people that will help me to excel, with the leaders of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) for example, an international relief and development agency that is currently operating in over 40 countries. This is also why I feel strongly that I am an especially good fit with The XXXX Institute since your motto is "Educating Clinicians to Society.” 10 years from now I hope to be serving as a psychologist with ERD, working on an interdisciplinary team of medical doctors, nurses and social workers.

My ideal roles and responsibilities include that of educator as well as clinician providing psychological services in the various parts around the globe served by ERD to populations that have been displaced by war, within refugee camps, and areas affected by natural disaster. As an educator I want to be a valuable resource to the leadership of ERD concerning the needs that exist for psychological services in crises areas around the globe, in addition to attending to the psychological needs of the staff and volunteers of ERD. Over the course of the last 2 years, I have come to increasingly recognize a calling to pursue a new career direction in clinical psychology, meeting twice a month with a therapist about this career change. I feel confident that I am making the right decision and have the support of my wife as well, an attorney with an established practice here in XXXX, and most certainly one of the most valuable of my social connections and human resources.

I appreciate XXXX’s commitment to diversity, social justice and equality and how you require students to be in a field placement getting real world experience each year of the program, including the first year. I want to gain as much experience as possible and I believe that getting real world experience while in the midst of academic study is an effective strategy for creative learning. The therapist whom I have worked with for over a year about my career change is a Psychiatrist and Marriage and Family Therapist and he suggested the Wright Institute. I very much admire the research endeavors of your faculty, most especially the work of Dr. XXXX and his research into anxiety disorder. A former Lutheran minister, I particularly look forward to comparing notes with and learning from Dr. XXXX.

In addition to Moral Injury among veterans, I am also looking forward to an in-depth study of the extent to which Moral Injury occurs in non-military, even non-violent situations. I want to study the history and range of both PTSD and Moral Injury in an exhaustive fashion, especially in light of ethical transgressions, attorneys who make poor life/death decisions for their clients, negligent doctors or nurses, financiers that have committed fraud; at least theoretically the possibilities are endless, hence the search for the best way to define or delimit definitions of these terms in psychology that have become increasingly important to our efforts to diagnose and cure, especially our veterans returning from the field. I thank you for considering my application. 

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PsyD Integral Studies, Spirituality, Vietnamese

I am a humble applicant to our program who has overcome great difficulty in arriving where she is in life. This is why I ask for special consideration with respect to my low GPA which resulted from the fact that I had to simultaneously work and study full time.

Now 33, I left Vietnam at 7 years old with my grandparents on a fisherman’s boat as a small child. The engine died and we floated for 2 weeks with little to no food left and were even robbed by pirates of what we had. Fortunately, we were saved by a cargo ship heading to Thailand, were we spent 4 months in a refugee camp. We were able to immigrate to the USA so quickly because my grandfather had served in the US army during WWII. My parents and siblings would come to California in time, later on, but I am to this day the only member of my family who is fluent in English, and I have always been a major breadwinner, especially since I lost both of my grandparents who brought me here to America.

Nevertheless, I feel strongly that I am an excellent candidate for your PsyD program because of my profound passion for studying the potential contribution of Eastern spirituality to Western psychology. I came to America from Vietnam at the age of 6, so I am as American as I am Vietnamese. This helps to provide me with unique perspectives and a sense of direction in terms of Asian-American spirituality, particularly Buddhism since I am a devout Buddhist, all in the context of New Age movements generally speaking. A vegan with a deep respect for animal life, I believe that yoga is medicine and that emotional healing can be greatly advanced through the pursuit of eastern spirituality, harnessing its power to great strength of counseling psychology as developed in the West.

The XXXX is my first and only choice for graduate school for a variety of reasons, most of all my profound admiration and full endorsement of your emphasis on the importance of spirituality, diversity, and multiple ways of learning and teaching and experiential learning models. I like the way that your program facilitates student engagement with adventure and cultivates our direct contact with and appreciation for the complexities of cultural variation in human experience. Among the world’s finest professors who teach at XXXX, I am particularly looking forward to studying under Dr. XXXX since his interests dovetail nicely with my own passion for research in ADHD, biofeedback, and meditation. I also focus much of my study of Buddhism on Tibet and its relation to physiology and transpersonal psychologies.

I believe firmly in the importance of searching for core problems and addressing them through connectedness on many levels, social, psychological, emotional, and particularly spiritual. I want to dedicate my life to the cause of understanding my patients and their families on the level of their whole beings, so that I will be better able to help, uplift, and inspire them to achieve greater levels of fulfillment, security, and tranquility in life. I'm a very dedicated and loving soul who by nature goes out of her way to help mitigate the pain and suffering of those with whom I come into contact. An active participant at my local Buddhist center, I find great strength in community and the sharing of spirituality.

I wish to devote my life to the cause of my people, the Vietnamese, in the spirit of culturally appropriate mental health and cultural services. In particular, California is in need of more highly trained Vietnamese psychologists in order to meet the needs of those residents whose first and primary language as well as culture is Vietnamese. Most immigrants to America from Vietnam, children and adults, experience some level of culture shock and often experience decades of difficult adjustment, including on psychological levels. Many report that they feel trapped: “stuck inside a shell.” I think that much of this is due to their lack of information processing skills and tools, and often fall into negative rather than positive thinking patterns complicated by poverty, little support or even contact from family, language barriers, and vast culture differences that run counter to Asian understandings. For me, the greatest a blessing in life is the opportunity to help someone overcome what they are fearing.

Elderly Vietnamese immigrants often suffer as a result of feeling that they are a burden to their family, exacerbated by the fact that their children don’t spend much time with them because they are busy working. Frequently, these older immigrants want to be both more independent and better connected to others in their new world, but they need help in order to achieve this. Children offer suffer severe culture shock on arriving from Vietnam, and I have first-hand experience in this. Children who cannot yet speak English or who do so with a heavy accent are picked on, bullied, and humiliated, and they need our support.

 I want to assist adolescents in their critical struggles for identity development, helping them to avoid hiding within themselves just because they feel different from their peers, to have confidence, and to learn to express themselves so that they will avoid problems later in life, especially with intimate relationships and with their children. Many Asians and some Vietnamese elderly people come to our Buddhist center. Many feel lonely and alienated from their children. They come to the temple to converse with others and to do some good deeds along the way. As someone dedicated to lifelong learning and a Buddhist who hopes to become a psychologist, I intend to give my all for the rest of my life to helping the members of my community to escape from pain and suffering and to find inner peace, each in their own way, through the practice of Buddhism and/or by a touch of science. I look forward to an in-depth exploration of the science behind the Buddha’s dharma teaching.  

Most of all, I want to live my life for Vietnamese and other immigrant children, especially orphans or foster children, on both sides of the ocean. While working on my PsyD, I plan to open a child care center at the XXXX Buddhist Center in Westminster so that young ones will have a place to learn about dharma and for family and parents to drop them off for day care and after school programs, so they have a place to go to after school and not wonder around in the streets getting into trouble. I'm currently working on my Director of Child Development Certificate so that I can open and operate this facility. I owe this dream to the wisdom and energy of my masters/gurus. They have also inspired me to labor in the coordination of groups of volunteers to pack food bags to be distributed to low-income families and seniors. We now have over 30 volunteers who distribute food to more than 1200 families monthly.

I was given a blessed opportunity from my grandparents to come to America and I want to give back to my community by serving as a voice for those who have no voice. I would like very much to someday create my own non-profit organization and adoption agency to help Vietnamese children. I hope to spend the balance of my life working hand in hand with temple/centers where the monks or nuns can teach the core of Buddhism at the same time that we keep people off the street and help them build and recover lives of dignity.

I am a very determined young woman, highly organized, and I turn negatives into positives. I am keen on adventure and would be especially honored by the opportunity to participate in your two-week study abroad course in Sri Lanka studying Sinhala Buddhism. I am convinced that Buddhism has much to contribute to our mental health here in America. Americans suffer from stress, for example, and could benefit greatly by learning to relax through meditation. A clear mind also makes one more productive, especially in creative disciplines. We learn to live in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. We do not worry about meaningless things, but always search for the bigger picture. There have been numerous studies pointing to the health benefits of meditation, especially in the alleviation of stress and anxiety. If we can reduce stress, many health benefits follow. Meditation enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self. Through meditation we can gain a better understanding of our life’s purpose, diving deep into the heart of the matter in order to gain access to our soul--our inner reality---and find inner peace. Once we understand the fourth noble truths of Buddhism, we can cut out through our suffering. 

I think Buddhism can benefit children, in particular, helping them to learn to be compassionate through instruction in dharma, praying before each meal, thankful for everything you have in life or everything that has been given to you, mind training is much easier at an early age, let them be aware of their conscious, give them the foundation in life, teach them what is right and what is wrong etc! It is thought that children are really closer to Buddha Nature than adults are by their very youth, thus having an inherent advantage over adults in undertaking the practice of meditation and advanced study.  I believe that our children are the foundation for our future; if we teach and guide them at an early age we can build a better world for all through hope.

I do not wish to limit myself, however, to working with children. I also want to help adults who are struggling emotionally--if you help them they will then be able to help their own family and children. I want to help children and adults alike to find a road map and to give them a helping hand, showing them how to live productive, positive, and fulfilling lives, becoming successful professionally and spiritually by cultivating a balance between these two aspects of our lives.

I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program.

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PHD Autobiographical Sketch, Marriage Diversity

I am a young Korean woman educated in Japan who now lives in America and wants very much to excel in the area of psychology. I have fallen in love with California and hope to complete my graduate studies here. Since I majored in “Cultural Properties” or issues in Japan, I particularly enjoy studying the complex relationships, at once psychological and historical, that exist among various different Asian groups here in California. The greatest strength of my application to your program is that I am one of few Korean applicants who are fully fluent in Japanese as well as Korean, helping me to bridge one of the most prominent and historically bitter divides in Asia resulting from Japan’s historic occupation of your country.

I feel strongly that much of what I studied in Japan has immediate and profound relevance to the study of psychology, especially the psychology of cultural differences, barriers, and/or conflicts, particularly those that involve language. The XXXX is my first choice for graduate study because I feel that I am the best fit for your particular program. I deeply respect your commitment to seeing mental health and mental illness in socio-cultural contexts and your hearty endorsement of research and intervention that is relevant to the multiple cultures in which they are conducted. 

My application is further strengthened by my service as a Volunteer Peer Mentor at the XXXX, in XXXX , Japan (July 2008 - October 2009). I helped newly arrived international students to adjust to their new environment helping them to meet people and to learn to interact with people from many different countries all at the same time. In fact, I advised resident students on a broad range of issues, personal as well as academic, as well as helping to organize and implement international cultural exchange and recreation programs and events. I believe that this experience will help me to think creatively about the many multicultural issues facing Asian residents of California as well.

My passionate interest in psychology began during my high school days as a result of my own mental health challenges. Even though I had good grades in my classes, I began to suffer from chronic depression. It is very common in Korea for adolescents to suffer from mental illnesses due to the great amount of academic pressure that is piled upon them in a very competitive educational system. Students in Korea are often made to attend classes from 7am to 10pm, as I did, going to private schools at night. Surveys have shown that most Korean high school students sleep only 4 to 5 hours a night.

I went through a very difficult period in high school where I felt that I had lost my goals in  life and I suffered from low self-esteem. At times, I even felt that life was meaningless since we would all just die anyway. I even had thoughts about suicide. (As in Japan, our suicide rate for adolescents under pressure is alarmingly high.) Thankfully my mother convinced me to see a psychiatrist and soon I was undergoing treatment, counseling and art therapy, for my depressive disorder. At that time, I began to learn to look inside myself, observing my feelings and behavior with new, more critical eyes. Soon, I recovered from my depression as a result of intensive and highly successful treatment. My extremely positive experience in recovery set me on a road to pursuing a career in psychology.

I had a wonderful psychologist by the name of Dr. XXXX who changed my life completely for the better, helping me to see things in a much more positive light and to learn to monitor and control my feelings. I was able to see things much differently. Dr. XXXX helped me to control my feelings through reflection, critical thinking, and discipline. I began reading extensively in the area of psychology in my free time and by the time I was ready to begin college I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the area of mental health and dedicate my life to the cultivation of new ways to see the world in a more positive light through psychological discovery.

About the same time that my interest in psychology took off, my mother also began to study psychology, coinciding with her volunteer work as a counselor at a high school guiding juvenile delinquents. She told me many stories about her work that also served to deepen my interest in the power of counseling. I became immediately apparent to my mother and I both that many of these troubled juveniles were suffering from mental illnesses as a result of some type of trauma or abuse, often at the hands of their parents.

I chose to major in Cultural Properties in Japan because of my fascination with culture and the impact that it has on our psychology. I spent four years on this intriguingIsland taking courses mostly concerning ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation Science’ at XXXX University, located in Kyushu.  I learned a great deal about cultural restoration, in particular, and componential analyses of heritage. Studying culture was especially useful to me since I also served as a Counselor at the XXXX House as well, facing so many cultural issues in a fully international context.

.After my graduation, I returned to Korea and began working for a trading company. Soon, I faced another serious challenge to my mental health as I was shocked to experience a panic attack in a subway station which left me with the after effect of feeling scared when using overcrowded subways or buses, which are unavoidable in Korea. I plunged into a full immersion in the literature about panic disorders and this has helped me to become much stronger. Now, here in America, I feel I am at the optimal moment in my intellectual and emotional maturity to study in your distinguished program.

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PsyD Counseling Psychology, Mindfulness

I am applying to your competitive PsyD Program at the XXXX because I am convinced that my drive and determination will enable me to excel. I have a great passion for research in psychology, particularly in the areas of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now 36, psychology is a career change for me, a new professional beginning. Married and divorced, I spent 10 years in the mortgage business with my family in the small California town of Visalia where I grew up. After my marriage failed, I completed my bachelor’s degree in 2 ½ years and then sold my home and moved to the city of XXXX.

I like to think of myself as a compassionate woman; and that my concern for the suffering of others is what has propelled me towards the study of psychology and the completion of both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in this field. I have found my calling in life helping those who suffer from mental health issues and challenges. Now, I keenly look forward to continuing on in my studies, completing the terminal degree in my field at the XXXX, and attaining a cutting-edge foundation upon which I will be able to make my maximum contribution to our discipline. I am especially passionate about therapeutic initiatives centered on the concept of mindfulness, most of all with respect to its potential for evoking positive changes in brain chemistry.

I am passionately engaged with the issue of how psychology professionals might best go about helping to erase the stigma that is all too often associated with mental health services, particularly among certain ethnic groups; most notably Latinos who figure quite prominently into mental health assessments and services here in California. I am working with my Rosetta Stone for Spanish and I hope to continue to make rapid improvement in my Spanish skills so that I might eventually be able to use this language to some extent in the professional arena as well.

I became a member of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology because I am a thinker who loves to ask questions and a firm believer in the importance of balance between mind, body and soul for optimal health, studying our own past in order to prepare ourselves for the future, at the same time that we learn to savor each moment of the present. I am most fascinated with the human mind, its capabilities and limitations, and the debate between dualism and monism. At the center of my focus is the mind's ability to heal the body and the role played by spirituality.

A sense of debt that I feel to my community and nation has also helped to propel my interest in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially but not exclusively among our soldiers returning from combat in places like Afghanistan. The fact that I personally have no military experience or any military family members only reinforces the sense that I have of wanting to give something back to those who have sacrificed so much. For years now, I have invested a great deal of time, energy, and heartfelt reflection in the area of PTSD and I want to build a lifetime focus in this area of psychology, to practice and publish about the great challenges that PTSD represents for our society and to do everything that I personally can to respond to this challenge.

I will be finishing my Master’s Degree in December of 2014 and hope to begin studying in your program right away, in January of 2015. The focus of my Master’s Program has been in the area of Marriage and Family Therapy and I also want to remain engaged with this area as a lifetime focus. I feel strongly that mental health issues are best dealt with when one is not alone, and I feel special empathy for those who have to wrestle with mental health issues in the context of a failing marriage often aggravated by the stigma associate with mental health issues. I want to devote my life to helping each individual that comes to me for support to feel less alone in their struggle. If I could help them to save their marriage, this would be ideal.

Several years back I was struck by an image of the “Marlboro Man,” a US soldier in sustained combat in Fallujah, Iraq. He had been firing his canon for about 24 hours when the photo was taken, mud, blood spattered all over his face, a Marlboro cigarette dangling from his lips. A young man from our state of Kentucky who volunteered to go to Iraq to defend our freedoms as our government saw fit; although he sustained no major physical injuries, he would never be the same. Most importantly, his case is not at all unique; there are tens of thousands of similar cases in America. He came into the spotlight and attracted press attention to his story only because of the award winning photo. The Marlboro Man returned to Kentucky to marry his high-school sweetheart. Within a couple of years she would leave him because of his nightmares where he would sometimes half strangle her in his sleep. Alone now, he keeps smoking and suffering on full disability. The costs of PTSD to our society are staggering.

After earning my PsyD and beginning my practice, I intend to put the Marlboro Man photo on the wall in my office. I also plan to pay very close attention to the issues surrounding PTSD and substance abuse/addictions. My central, long term goal is to create my own non-profit organization to help our veterans. I have several ideas and I am confident that they will mature as I make progress under your expert guidance towards completion of the PsyD Degree at the XXXX. I have been profoundly inspired by the example set by the organization Puppies Behind Bars in New York, which rescues dogs from shelters to be trained by inmates, and then given to veterans with PTSD. I find this model to be especially inspiring because of the broad scope of those who benefit, the inmates, the animals, and especially the veterans and their families. No organization such as Puppies Behind Bars yet exists in California. In fact, here in California there is a long waiting list of veterans who need trained dogs. In addition to providing company, these dogs are trained to do things that specifically respond to the needs of the veterans who suffer from acute PTSD, such as checking the perimeters.

I am particularly passionate about the use of animals in therapy because I believe they reach places that people sometimes are just unable to go, especially when the individual is otherwise all alone. This avenue of research and practice dovetails nicely with my volunteer work with the Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals. Volunteer work is in fact central to my identity and mission. I also serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and participate in numerous events related to the care of children.

Finally, I hope to engage professionally at some point with virtual reality tanks as a compliment to therapy. I see exposure therapy as a most promising resource, allowing the PTSD sufferer to go back and confront their trauma in a safe environment. Sometimes we need to face the monster under our bed in order to make it go away.

I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program at the XXXX.

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PsyD Clinical, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome

XXXX University is my first choice to earn the PsyD for a variety of reasons in addition to my profound admiration of your advanced curriculum and the streamlined character of your program. My drive to earn the PsyD at XXXX is a direct result of my extensive experience with special needs children—beginning with my own 2 children. My daughter Ingrid will turn 15 in May; intellectually gifted, she has done outstandingly well given the fact that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in pre-school. My son Lars, who just turned 12, still struggles with learning disabilities and has many characteristics of ADHD.

As I continued to reflect on and learn from our experience, I became increasingly engaged with the subject of psychological assessment and the pivotal role that it plays in diagnosis and subsequently treatment. I think in terms of windows of opportunity, especially in the case of my daughter. I hope to publish in this area and give it my all for the balance of my professional life. Thus, it would be a great honor for me to have the privilege of studying under Dr. XXXX whose work on assessment I deeply admire, along with Dr. XXXX in the area of school-based consultation and Dr. XXXX in the areas of risk, resiliency, transition and diversity issues.

My goal of earning a Doctorate of Psychology at XXXX University is informed by my passion for helping others, a passion that grew out of my experiences with my own childhood medical trauma, teenage learning difficulties, raising children with special education needs and my struggle as a single parent as well—on top of two decades of professional experience as a school psychologist. I first became aware of the benefits of psychological intervention and counseling when I was a teenager. Following a childhood illness that required extended hospitalization, I struggled throughout my teens with my own learning challenges and behavioral concerns. These issues were greatly intensified by the economic problems my family faced and the fallout from moving no less than ten times by the time I turned seventeen. Recognizing the lack of structure in our life, and wanting me to acquire positive study habits and motivation, my mother enrolled me in Catholic School. As part of my high school journey, I was fortunate enough to receive psychological counseling.  The benefits of this experience helped me enormously to succeed socially and emotionally as well as academically. The feeling of hope and gratitude that I took with me from my counseling experience helped to empower me to establish a peer counseling organization at my high school, where none had existed before.

In my 20s and 30’s, the challenges of raising children, a divorce when they were still little, and the pressures of my continuing education and reintegration into the workforce led me to further psychological treatment as well as other modes of therapy, including trauma workshops which were something still quite novel at the time. I am convinced that the emotional growth and pragmatic skill set that I have nourished over the years will empower me to excel in your PsyD program and make creative contributions to your academic community. I profoundly enjoy gardening, long-distance running, and I am in the process of becoming a yoga instructor. These activities have further enhanced my sense of psychological wholeness along with my fervent determination to help others.

After earning my MA and beginning my practice as a school psychologist, I began working with students diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, since, as a result of my daughter Ingrid’s struggle, by this time I was recognized by my many of my peers as a specialist in the area of autism. My Master’s studies had only touched on Asperger’s Syndrome, however, as this diagnosis was still new at this time; thus, I found myself devoting countless hours to independent research, educating myself about the symptoms and behaviors related to ASD and the implications for school based interventions. In the years that followed, I continued my personal research in Autism along with ASD, ADHD, and a multitude of other learning disabilities, with the goal of helping individuals in a school setting.

I have been faced with the challenge of balancing my duty and loyalty to the school system on the one hand, and serving as an advocate for the student and their family on the other hand, which has probably been the most difficult aspect of my work so far. Dealing with this tension on a case-by-case basis for the last 20 years has left me fascinated by issues of professional ethics in child and school psychology, especially in the case of special needs children and this is one of the areas in which I would also like very much to publish in the future as I continue to cultivate my professional sensitivity and leadership abilities.

At this stage in my career, I have a well-developed understanding of the growing demands put on school systems due to governmental requirements and complex, ever-changing societal issues.  This has and will continue to increase the need for school psychologists with exceptional capacity to deal with numerous complex issues simultaneously. I have always had a strong sense of motivation and responsibility to stay current in my field and I believe that XXXX’s PsyD Program represents the ideal platform on which to continue to grow in every way, particularly as a professional psychologist. I feel strongly that, after earning the PsyD, I will be able to realize my fullest potential as a school psychologist based on my experience of almost 2 decades of discovery of my old children's need for involvement in special education, on top of my professional responsibilities and advocating for friends and family members on how to navigate their children's needs. I have developed great empathy for and an understanding of the day-to-day issues faced by special needs students and their families and I look forward to sharing some of my most memorable experiences in class discussions at XXXX.

My current job is an excellent fit for me while my children complete high school and I earn my PsyD. After we complete these hurdles, however, I hope to transition to a position of greater responsibility that will enable me to put my leadership skills to fuller use in the area of program development; and I hope to teach at some point in an institution of higher learning. In the same way that attending college is now a natural next step for many of the students with whom I work, becoming a professor of psychology on a college campus will be my natural next step forward, all of us snatching victory together from the jaws of defeat.

I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program.


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Dual PHD Degrees, Psychology & Social Work, PTSD

In our community they are usually referred to as ¨neglected¨ or ¨invisible¨ African elders, aging African refugees and immigrants who have resettled in the USA, many of whom are the survivors of the trauma of war. While working at the Center for Victims of Torture, I was assigned to a project named, New Neighbors Hidden Scars (NNHS), the purpose of which is to assist torture and war trauma survivors by promoting their overall health, working to restore and strengthen their leadership capabilities, and to create networks of support that are responsive to their unique needs. Through this process, we have been able to study and disseminate successful models of community-based care. Working with this program has helped to provide me with the confidence and determination to pursue advanced study in Social Work.

When I conducted a needs assessment for the NNHS, I was struck by the numerous barriers faced by immigrant African seniors with respect to accessing services. My efforts led to the design of a model for under-resourced areas with especially high numbers of African immigrants. In these strategic areas, it has been an enormous struggle to meet the mental health needs of the rapid influxes of refugees. Over time, however, we were able to develop multidisciplinary networks of providers to improve the coordination of care for trauma survivors. What we found to be particularly effective was the development of immigrant-led support groups in housing complexes and churches, including treatment groups for refugee students, and the development of an XXXX Food Distribution Center (AFDC), providing health and social service information along with culturally appropriate food assistance. I currently have the privilege of volunteering my service as the Executive Director of the XXXX.

African seniors have immigrated to the US under vastly different circumstances; some have been brought here by their children, others were forced out of their countries due to political violence, some came as young adults. Most, however, experience acute adjustment stressors. As part of my doctoral studies, I hope to explore how migration trauma affects the wellbeing of African seniors, especially in the area of cultural bereavement and adjustment to a new society. A related direction for my research would involve the development of new analytical models for working with African senior communities in the context of existing aging programs. These new models would be designed in accordance with the culturally relevant perspectives of many African communities and apply a holistic approach to recovery strategies for post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) as well as more general forms of trauma. It is hoped that this research would fill a gap in the literature since there are virtually no African-specific models in the literature on aging and there is an enormous need for additional theoretical studies concerning the implementation of aging programs in immigrant African communities. It is also hoped that this research would contribute to the development of culturally appropriate, empirically validated interventions that could serve to reduce the adverse consequences of war trauma, PTSD, and resettlement shock, thereby improving the well being of seniors who have immigrated from Africa.

 The needs assessment that I have conducted suggests that a large percentage of African seniors are struggling with mental health symptoms related to war and PTSD, often combined with other mental health issues related to aging, especially Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Furthermore, these mental health conditions are typically exacerbated by environmental factors such as isolation, language barriers, unemployment, poverty, dependence on children, the loss of status and lack of transportation. In broader terms, I am very much interested in researching the entire gambit of issues involving the mental health of immigrants, especially seniors, and Africans in particular. I hope to publish in the future concerning the development of empirically validated interventions that reduce the adverse consequences of resettlement stressors, especially as combined with mental health issues—particularly, torture, forced migration, and PTSD. I am concerned with the paucity of existing research not only concerning African refugees in particular, but immigrant senior populations in general. Thus, I also hope to make important contributions to the systematic study of migration trauma, generally speaking, and the hurdles that must often be overcome in the accessing of services upon resettlement.

 It is my intention to design studies in which African refugees and other immigrants are given the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the design and implementation, as well as the evaluation, of the research project. This supports the University of Michigan’s mission of promoting social justice through the empowerment of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society; and in this way I also hope to contribute to the amelioration of oppressive conditions to which they are subject. One especially salient variable in my research will be the way in which ethnographic differences between African immigrant communities are characterized by specific words or terms used to refer to specific illnesses or mental health challenges This is especially important given the vast need for culturally specific treatment models for dealing with culturally specific practices, metaphors, spiritualities, etc., thereby leading to more accurate understandings of the specific mental health and wellness challenges faced by immigrant seniors. I see this type of research is of critical importance for the development of new training models, therapeutic initiatives, and even pharmacological investigations that would be of benefit to the broader body of social work research concerned with immigrant seniors.

Growing up in Kenya, we followed a family tradition of children being sent to live with their grandparents between the ages of 7 and 11.  My parents lived in a city while my grandparents lived in the rural area. Thus, my siblings and I were sent to my grandparents to be educated in the ways of the community: culture, norms, values, customs, rituals, folklore, etc. Each story we were told had a moral lesson illustrating a societal norm. We greatly respected my grandparents, and by extension the elderly in the community for the wisdom they embodied. When the need for conflict resolution arose, we were told to take it to the “Jorieko” meaning, ¨the wise ones.¨ I date my interest in the elderly to this period, and I have been fascinated by seniors ever since. My grandmother did not like going to the city because it represented a loss of authority for her, feeling much more at home with the practice of rural customs and lifestyles. And I have often pondered my grandmother’s sentiments when reflecting upon how still very much more traumatic it would be to be forced out of one’s country and culture entirely, for political reasons.

 My central career objective is to spend the balance of my professional life developing culturally sensitive mental health delivery models for African immigrants and refugees, especially older residents, always linking research to practice. I hope to serve as a teacher, consultant, researcher, and clinician in my area of expertise. Your doctoral program will help me to become a well rounded intellectual and scholar concerning the mental health and public policy issues faced by or affecting our senior populations, especially first-generation immigrants. Since I am myself an immigrant from Africa to the US, and now embarking on middle age at 44, I feel uniquely qualified for the development of a research interest in this area since I have a well refined capacity to empathize with the stresses that immigrant families and individuals from Africa must bear, the difficulties of cultural adjustment, migration trauma, etc.  I look forward to shouldering increasing professional responsibility in my work with African immigrants and refugees, institutions of higher learning, and social work professionals: conducting research and designing culturally appropriate, integrative mental health service models. It is painfully clear to me that social service agencies lack the necessary expertise in the development and implementation of culturally specific and appropriate mental health services for immigrants and refugees from Africa, as well as other regions of the world, and I ask for the opportunity and profound privilege of devoting my life to this cause.

I am also interested in the opportunity afforded by your program to attain a dual degree in social work and psychology, since I am concerned with the mental health issues of immigrant populations and this would help to refine my capacity to perform creative, cutting-edge research in this area. As a social worker, I am interested in promoting greater levels of social inclusion for immigrants from Africa and the study of psychology would help me to understand the mental health aspects of that inclusion. I am particularly excited about the possibility of studying under Professor XXXX whose research interest is in the area of clinical gerontology and racial and ethnic variations of service delivery to the elderly. I thank you for considering my application to your program.

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Clinical Forensic, Psychology & Law, Expert Witness

I hope to be accepted to your program because my long term goal is to work as a clinical forensic psychologist performing psychological evaluations of competency to stand trial and assessments of diminished capacity. My paralegal education and experience working as a family and criminal law paralegal have provided me with the opportunity to gain great familiarity with legal jargon and issues in this area, as well as the opportunity to interact with legal professionals. I have a firm grasp of the rules and regulations of the American judicial system, especially hearsay evidence. Thus, once I attain the PsyD Degree from your esteemed program, then I would be qualified to serve as a highly credible, expert witness. With a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, I would not qualify for court designation as an expert witness, since this requires a doctoral degree. Without a doctorate degree in Psychology, I would also be unable to solely administer and interpret diagnostic testing to be used in court. Thus, it is my profound hope to be admitted as a doctoral student to your program.

 I want very much to study in XXXX because of the location, as well as the exceptional quality of your program. I want to remain close to my family who fully support my decision to pursue the doctorate degree. This would also facilitate my being able to give my all to my studies. I was raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and currently live in XXXX, IL. I earned by BA in Psychology at Aurora in 2007 with a specialization in biopsychology and a minor in physiological science, later, my paralegal certificate from Roosevelt University’s post-bachelorette American Bar Approved institution for paralegal studies. I have also completed 38 credits of graduate course work that are transferable towards a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. I am also an accomplished world traveler and have an extensive record of commitment to volunteerism in my community.

 Another reason why I wish to pursue a doctoral degree in Psychology is because of the extremely positive personal experience that I had in counseling. My therapist renewed my confidence and self-esteem, encouraging me that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to. The impact of this experience and my passion and commitment for making a positive difference in people’s lives has given me determination to succeed in your program program, since it represents the fulfillment of my purpose in my life.

 I especially look forward to studying in the areas of psychology and law; psychological assessment; and psychological interventions in forensic settings. Your faculty consists of highly distinguished professors who have made invaluable contributions to the literature. Thus, I have no doubt that your program will offer me the highest possible quality of instruction in the fundamental theories and knowledge of forensic psychology and also provide me with state-of-the-art training in planning, conducting, and evaluating research. My interests match closely with Dr. XXXX’s work on juvenile violence. I particularly enjoyed his child & adolescent development course, where I wrote a literature review entitled, “Neurological Development:  A Review of Adolescent Development, Brain Imaging, and Juvenile Justice” which explored the issues of juvenile delinquency in the context of brain, cognitive, psychosocial, and especially adolescent development, including brain development, cognitive development.

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PsyD, Doctoral Degree, Obesity, Eating Disorders

At 26, I am a mature woman who is extremely dedicated to my studies. A very hard worker, my first love for many years has been my study of Psychology. I cannot, in fact, conceive of living for even a single day, much less a week, without indulging my addiction for psychological literature, self reflection, my quest for human growth, openness, and transformation of negative into positive energy, irrespective of the circumstance in which I find myself.

 I was born in XXXX and raised in XXXX, Florida where I attended private schools. My dedication to my interior life is mirrored by a similar high level of motivation for social excellence; for me, introversion and extroversion are two sides of the same coin. Throughout elementary and then junior high school I was always busy: creating new clubs and activities for my friends to join. Since childhood, I have had a passion for helping others—animals as well as humans—with my second love after psychology being nature, wildlife, all things outdoors. It was in high school, when my friends really started to turn to me for help with their everyday struggles, thereby sparking what would gradually come to be my recognition of my calling. Since early adolescence, I have thrived on talking with my friends about their personal problems. I have always found it especially rewarding to know that my friends find it very easy, natural, to confide in me and seek my feedback. 

 I graduated from the University of XXXX in 2006 with my B.S. in Psychology and a certificate in Behavioral Forensics. In 2007, I enrolled in the Masters program at XXXX in XXXX, Florida and graduated with my M.A. in Counseling in May 2010. Even before attending college, I have been engaged in questions of identity, image, the multiple complex relationships between self-perception, on the one hand, and mental health issues on the other. I am concerned with the way that our culture, the media, forms our tastes and dreams; the way that we have become a society that is nourished more by movies than literature, how this turns upon us in vicious ways, all too often resulting more in our enslavement than our liberation. I am especially troubled by obesity, the damage done by excess food, especially to children, the anxiety and stress that accompanies our economic achievement. And as a woman, I am especially concerned with the way that stereotypes of beauty tend to harness female creativity, mitigating against the healthy individuation of girls and women, often serving to stifle the greatest potential within us for social contribution, as wives and mothers as well as citizens.

 For these reasons, I especially look forward to doing research in the areas of adolescent development and eating disorders—most particularly, the intersection between the two.  I also have a profound interest in and a keen desire to work with a variety of populations that face mental health challenges. My interest in forensics has fueled this curiosity. My extensive background working with adolescents, in particular, has furthered my desire to conduct further research within this particular age range. At this time, if I were try and imagine writing a doctoral dissertation, it would be on the long term effects of eating disorders among adolescent girls. My long term goal is to teach psychology, always maintaining a side interest in forensics. I may choose to work in the area of competency assessment for individuals awaiting trial. It is also easy to imagine myself working for a corporation, testing employees.

 I completed my practicum with the Center For Drug Free Living, working with at-risk youths, conducting psycho-educational groups as well as providing individual therapy. During my internship, I work at an adolescent residential facility with teen girls, primarily diagnosing oppositional defiant disorder; I received extensive training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I have volunteered for a suicide prevention event hosted on the campus of XXXX College, providing support to families who have lost a loved one related to suicide. Finally, I have also volunteered with Upward Bound, a program that gives high school students a chance to study on college campuses. I now have over 8 years  relevant professional and volunteer experience in the field of psychology and I feel strongly that this will help me to excel in your program.

 I love to take on new challenges and will work as hard as I can to overcome any obstacle. I am committed to lifelong education, multicultural exploration,  and the achievement of an open mind. I have explored Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Wales, and Scotland, the East and West coasts of Canada and made several trips to the Bahamian Islands. Throughout all the traveling I've done, the one thing I've learned is how fortunate I am to be an American. I am proud of my country and the educational opportunities that it provides to its citizens. Traveling has made me a more tolerant, accepting individual and increased my sense of empathy. These days, I am especially excited about the prospect of embarking on the rigors of doctoral study.

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All of the Statement samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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