For the past ten years, I have maintained a conceptual continuity in my academics, research and clinical experiences in the field of clinical psychology. The interpersonal interaction with families and children of all ages is overwhelmingly and intrinsically rewarding. It is where my heart and passion truly lie. My belief is that I have exhausted every possible avenue of possibility and promotion within my current career. I have met every challenge over the years with an open mind and while I developed my experiences, have been able to address every challenge with increasing professionalism and effectiveness. But I want more from my career, and I have many ideas of how to achieve this aim.
Coming this far, I cannot help but think back on all the naysayers I've encountered, never accepting or listening to others who tried to reign in my aspirations; never giving in. My learning disability and ADHD will always be there. They are my burdens, but I have risen to each challenge and overcome. Whenever I can, I tell people, particularly my fellow military wives on deployment, that they have no limitations except those that they choose to impose upon themselves. It's easier for me in many ways, especially since I have a strong support system on the home-front. It makes the harder times that much more bearable, particularly of late, as I have only just recently lost my father to cancer. I can't help but think that he has prepared me all these years for when he couldn't be there. It is my intention to dedicate my PhD work to his memory. I will not let him down.
In terms of my academics, I have succeeded in every academic venture I have undertaken. Each program of study has led logically to the next and mirrored my burgeoning career in counseling. My Bachelor's degree in Psychology laid the necessary groundwork for my chosen career, while my Master's degrees in Education and Psychology in Family Therapy will both aid me invaluably in the pursuit of my dreams, allowing me to do my utmost for my clients through a thorough understanding of the issues. My Master's in Education is supplemented by a Teaching Certification in Special Education, in addition to my Licensed Professional Counselor certification.
And I've kept active in my professional training responsibilities, staying aware and expanding upon my clinical acumen, attending events that dealt with an assortment of issues that I'd encountered over the years. These events have allowed me to connect with the extended community of clinicians, and interact with the exhibitors helps me keep current. I've learned that being an active counselor is just as important as being able to speak intelligently about the field. To achieve this end, I also spend a great deal of time reading peer-reviewed articles, professional journals, and reviewing the latest books dealing with child assessment and child custody cases.
Reaching out to the community from an informed standpoint has seen me - for the past four years speaking at presentations in various high schools on the issues of teen dating violence and prom safety, increasing teens awareness of these all-too-real situations they may some day come into contact with. I have given my time to The Fort Bend County Women's Center, as well, speaking to groups of volunteers on the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and diverse populations and family violence. This is how I give back to the community, a pursuit I will continue no matter where my career takes me. It is much like preventative medicine to a doctor. The more the community is aware of the issues and the possibilities, the more likely we are to stave off future assaults, or at least equip people with the necessary skills to be able to recognize a dangerous situation before anything awful actually happens, to get away, to get help, or simply not be there in the first place. Giving back means professional involvement in associations, as well, and I am a part of the XXX Counseling Association, XXX Marriage and Family Association and XXX Play Therapy.
My time as an Adaptive Behavior Teacher with Mayde Creek Junior High School laid some important groundwork for my work with children. Having taught emotionally disturbed and learning-disabled children, I was able to more easily interact with the children of Bo's Place, a facility that combines direct counseling with art therapy and educational services to children and families affected by the loss of a loved one.
It was my four years with Ft. Bend Women's Center (FBWC), however, that exposed me to a whole spectrum of counseling issues, situations and only increased my range, my flexibility and creativity. During my time with FBWC I worked as a Sexual Assault Counselor, and Children's Counselor, giving me in-depth, real-world experiences to couple with my educational background, both in one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy. While my tenure with FBWC has come to a close, I continue my therapy work with Continuum Healthcare group, continuing my work assessing, diagnosing, report writing, formulating treatment plans and providing group counseling.
Throughout my professional career, I have learned that while I have many strengths, such as my ability to adapt to a variety of professional settings and circumstances, any successful counselor must have strong communication skills, strong interpersonal skills as well as possessing a compassionate and caring heart; it's a prerequisite! Being able to multi-task has proven to be a must, as well, especially since I enjoy taking on the more challenging cases such as schizoaffectives, eating disorders, major depression with psychotic features. Time and again, though, I come back to children, particularly abused children, as being the group that I will bend over backwards for, dedicating all that I am to their cause. This is probably my biggest fault: the amount of time I dedicate to my work. I give of myself, my energy, am thoroughly dedicated and I give my time. My work ethic combined with my desire to give back oftentimes goes beyond the one-hour or half-hour session, and constantly need to reign myself in, to take things in steps and stages.
I have long been an advocate for families, and particularly children. I want to do more for my clients and it is my belief that I can do more, and on a larger scale by entering into a course of study that focuses on the issues intrinsic to Forensic Psychology and Neuropsychology. Firstly, Forensic Psychology will aid me in alleviating the assorted recurring problems I have seen time and again in my work with abusive familial situations. Too many times there are children with voices that have not been heard, falling between the cracks and returning to an abusive parental unit or home life. This cycle is wrong and the situation needs to be remedied. I have many ideas and plans on how to achieve this aim, backed up by sound experiences and drive. To alleviate this problem, I am intent upon seeking out situations in which I can be an advocate for children caught in the course of custody cases.
Secondly Neuropsychology will enable me to further develop myself as a clinical psychologist, and provide further strengthening to my foundation of academic and professional experiences, making me a more proficient researcher, dynamic educator and effective advocate of children and families. At the same time, my academic research into Neuropsychology will better equip me for the challenges of working with children as well as providing the necessary groundwork for my work in Forensic Psychology.
The School speaks of the need to create a community atmosphere for learning, combining the experiences of all the students and faculty. This is the sort of environment I feel I will excel in, allowing me to share my experiences with my classmates and faculty while I can learn from the fieldwork of others in a congenial setting. Combined with this is what I feel is a high level of cultural competency. Having traveled the globe, four of the seven continents, experiencing most of Europe, parts of Australia, Thailand and the US, have given me a unique worldview as well as an appreciation for the myriad cultures, customs and differing worldviews. This will no doubt aid me in my experiences with people of differing cultures in the classroom, clinical situations or with my colleagues. Overall, though, my confidence in my expectations for an unparalleled experience with the School of Psychology is compounded by the promise of students having the ability to tailor the curriculum towards their research requirements and experiences.
The School of Psychology within XXX University is ideal for my needs, and my goals, for a number of reasons. The School's incredibly flexible program of study has made Fielding my number one choice for my PhD. The program of study allows distance learning on a schedule that I help create and this will enable me to remain active in my home life as well as giving my academic program the attention that I want to give it. XXX's School of Psychology recognizes that students may have different learning styles. In my case, this couldnt fit my situation better as I have a learning disability combined with ADHD. To have a school allow for this, compensate for it, only increases my desire for an academic relationship with Fielding. Additionally, XXX's School of Psychology incorporates into the curriculum the relevant experiences and academics students may have already attained, which speaks to avoiding redundancies in the educational experience.
For the future, I envision a private practice that focuses on families and children, especially those that lack the financial means, working with and through non-profits such as CPS or shelters. And I still have not ruled out completely a relationship with a university. I've heard it said that the door of a priest should always be open, but the door of a doctor should never be closed. I only foresee my door never being closed through my work with XXX Graduate University and particularly the School of Psychology.