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

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