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Postbaccalaureate Psychology Certificate Program

I was once present when a friend, who was a military veteran, suffered extreme stress symptoms in the face of an ‘everyday’ situation. Naturally, I sought to offer immediate comfort and help my friend in this situation but it was also a spur to seek ways to help in a more enduring way and to assist others who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. A broad interest in psychology developed into a desire to study the effects of traumatic events on individuals and ways of relieving them.

My interest in studying the effects of psychological trauma is not limited to veterans. As a volunteer working with severely disadvantaged children and teenagers, I became aware of that some of them can also be considered to be damaged ‘veterans’ and ‘survivors’ of distressing experiences.  This work also prompted an interest in the ways in which early life events affect the propensity to criminality.  I hope to undertake research in one or more of these areas during my participation in the program.

 I cannot offer work experience in the area of psychology which is why I consider this specific program to be the ‘best fit’ for my situation. However I do hold a degree in a closely related discipline, Criminology, and during my studies I applied statistical techniques that will be relevant within this program.  I also consider that my volunteer work has provided me with a very useful basis on which to build, especially as I hope that helping children and young people will be the focus of my future studies and work. 

My work experience has been in the field of business but I have gained a working knowledge of various research techniques and applied them in financial, markets and sociological settings.  This knowledge and experience will also be relevant and applicable to work during the program. I have demonstrated qualities of diligence and discipline in my working life and learned how to cooperate successfully with others to achieve common ends within demanding timeframes.  The grades and honors obtained in my work towards my Bachelor’s degrees will, I hope, provide some assurance of my work ethic and my further academic potential.  

It is my intention, if accepted, to excel within the program, to obtain the certificate and to use this as a means of pursuing a Ph.D. or Psy.D.  in Clinical Psychology.  It would then be my goal to continue research whilst working in private practice and ultimately to undertake relevant work for a government agency.

I am aware that the program will attract many well qualified applicants. However I am confident that my academic, volunteer and working background, together with my personal qualities and passion for the subject, provide an unusually good ‘fit’ for the program.  I am sure that I shall be able profit significantly from participation and to ‘add value’ to the academic community if accepted. 

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Autobiographical Statement, Masters MFT, Asian

 

I was hooked by my very first college class in psychology, most of all, learning how psychology related to me personally. As I learned more about myself, I came to better understand others as well, their emotions, sadness, anger, happiness, etc. I began to understand that human suffering is a universal problem and that those who suffer are far from alone. And I became keenly interested in continuing to explore the ways in which we are all alike, with similar sorts of problems, challenges, and responses to significant life events. Psychology led me to an interest in counseling, and counseling led me to an interest in marriage and family therapy.

I was brought up by Chinese parents who settled in America to escape poverty and to chase the American Dream. Growing up in California has been a constant journey of adaptation to the culture of my family and the numerous cultures that surround me. I relish analyzing my own saga, my predispositions in interaction with environmental challenges and resources, my strengths and weaknesses, and how all of this has resulted in my unique temperament and intellectuality. I think critically about how, as I grew up, I modeled the behavior of my peers, mimicking the role models that I admired.  As we all do, I became what I saw, heard, and felt; synchronizing salient facets of a group consciousness that I did not even recognize, much less knew how to break free from. I had my struggle with low self-esteem, a negative sense of self, times that I did not feel loved or understood. Slowly, however, I learned the value of determination, self-confidence, love and compassion.

During grade school, I was the quiet one, perhaps in part as a result of the brutal adjustment that my parents had to make to find their niche in the American rat race. My mother worked from home, making clothes for a local clothing factory and struggled to be a homemaker. My father was preoccupied with his education and building a business.  This led to a lot of quiet time alone for me, introspection.  By the time that I arrived at XXXX College, however, I was fortunate enough to meet people who saw potential in me.  I surrounded myself with positive people who showed genuine interest in my ideas.  I began to take my studies seriously and my grades improved. I discovered the great Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself,” and launching upon a quest of self discovery provided me with greatly rejuvenated meaning. Studying psychology gave me inspiration: hope, allowed me to overcome my introversion and to become more assertive.  It was like staring into my own reflection when I was introduced to some of the most salient psychological concepts, “Fear of Failure,” “Need for Achievement.” I was able to re-channel formerly negative ways of thinking into creative new paths.  When I transferred to XXXX to finish the remaining coursework for my BA in Psychology, a professor told me: “Be careful what you focus on because what you focus on becomes your reality!” 

 

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Clinical Masters MFT, Diversity, Japanese Woman

It is perhaps ironic that I wish to devote my life to marriage and family therapy, since I have been living alone for the past 10 years, my most formative period, with all of my family back in my native Japan. But I know exactly why it is. It comes from my reflection upon where I have come from, my own struggle and that of my family.

I have traveled to many places, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, New Caledonia, and England, developing a profound respect for cultural diversity, traveling, maturing, and learning so many things, most importantly the way that family life differs according to cultural context. What I find most fascinating of all is the study of the core similarities that indeed exist within all families irrespective of culture, separating out those factors from other factors which clearly are a product of culture. What I most like about America is precisely its cultural diversity. And I hope to build a family therapy practice that caters precisely to the needs of those families that make up this rich cultural heritage. Of course, I will always be a woman and I will always be Asian, and in terms of writing, research, and publishing in the future, it will probably be the Asian woman and family that will be the subject where I most distinguish myself. The Joy Luck Club is, of course, one of my favorite movies.

 I chose to complete my B.S. Degree in Human Services with a special focus on mental health because psychology has always been my favorite subject in school. And I am convinced that it is a good idea to specialize in what you are most interested in. In addition to cultural diversity, the sub-areas that I most enjoy learning about are immigrant issues and adolescent development, especially communication issues between immigrant parents and their second generation children. This is probably because, as a first generation immigrant who is very much looking forward to being a mother, these issues will be prominent in my own life. And I have many Asian friends who face profound challenges in this area. In terms of one particular research topic, I think I would most like to become an expert in the area of why it is that Asian parents are typically so obsessed with their children's education and the way that this has an impact on the children's emotional and mental conditions. In my country, Japan, young people who are rejected from the college of their choice sometimes commit suicide. This is not at all uncommon, and is suggestive of the issues with which I look forward to wrestling.

 My long-term goal, after gaining valuable years of experience as a therapist, will be to attain my PsyD Degree. This is not so much because I want to teach in America, but, rather, that I want to go back to Japan some day to devote the balance of my life to the development and improvement of marriage and family counseling programs in Japanese Universities. In particular, I am concerned with the high levels of child abuse in Japan and the failure of the government to address the issue.

 Perhaps one way to encapsulate all of this is to say that my central goal in life is know myself. Thus, I constantly ponder my own sojourn, being bullied by other girls in elementary and junior high school schools, the bitter quarrels between my parents over my father’s business. We didn’t have a school counselor in those days. I spent much of my time daydreaming in my room to escape from the real world.  I reflect upon my parents’ divorce while I was in High School, his leaving us. I wonder why I handled this better than my mother—at least initially—why her and my grandparents devoted so much time to complaining about him after he was gone, rather than just moving on.

 Since I was very little, I was told that I really look a lot like my father. Perhaps this added to my sense of guilt, that his problems where mine as well, his defects, etc.  We Japanese are not big criers. So when I found myself weeping in front of my High School friends I was not at all comfortable; I became depressed, pessimistic. One day, I read in a book that studying psychology was very popular in the USA and that going to see a psychologist and getting treatment is very common. I wanted to escape from my family at the same time that I wanted to continue to think about them and learn more about our dysfunction. So, after graduating from high school, I worked full time to save money so I could move to the USA and start studying psychology. When I transferred to XXXX University, I made a Japanese friend who was a graduate student in the Counseling/MFT Program. She taught me a lot. And I decided to change my major from Psychology to Human Services so I could study more about mental health and counseling, more about mentally ill people in society and less about rats in the laboratory.

I also began working with children at counseling centers. One little Asian baby made a particular impression, his eyes so big, round, clear, unknowing. He was 4 months old and had been abused by his parents. Craving the nurture of a mother, he grabbed my arms and buried his little head in my chest. My fate was sealed. I thank you for considering my application to your program.

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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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