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PHD Clinical Mental Health Public Policy

Inspired to move forward professionally in the area of mental health by my first volunteer position with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, At 21, I began volunteering at New York’s XXXX Hospital. After six months, they offered me a full time position which I accepted. 4 years later, at 25, and a very dedicated and hard working member of the staff in our Mental Health Unit. I am most pleased to have fully found my niche and to have gained the experience and exposure that will empower me to excellence in your Clinical Psychology PHD Program at XXXX University.

I seek to build and cultivate a holistic approach to every patient that I see, noting first and foremost the physical realities that underlie their mental health issues, and from there I focus on spirituality and positive affirmation, helping my patients to find themselves and to focus on and employ the best options available. Most of all I coach them to take personal charge of their own recovery. Your PHD Program in Clinical Psychology at XXXX University is my first choice for graduate school not only because I live less than 10 minutes away, but also the sheer excellence and breadth of your curriculum and the faculty who teach it. I feel strongly that I am a good fit with your program since several members of your faculty have published extensively in my foremost areas of interest: Alzheimer’s and Dementia as well as Stress/Anxiety and Depression. A Clinical Psychologist at XXXX with whom I work also recommended XXXX.

During my first three months of service as a volunteer, I was assigned to care for a total-care patient who was mentally disabled and paralyzed from the waist down with a stoma on the side of her abdomen attached to a urostomy bag. We lifted her in a hoyer lift. This patient was very sweet and taught me a great deal about patience and empathy. These days, I work primarily with anxiety and depression cases and I have learned a great deal about both of these diagnoses not only caring for patients at our hospital but also by completing my coursework for the BA in Psychology and earning my Certificate in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling. I also read widely in these areas for pleasure in my free time.  I have also gained significant experience and increasing empathy and awareness concerning adolescents with borderline personality disorder. I was a very troubled teenager myself and I am now able to identify borderline traits that I displayed as an adolescent. I especially look forward to becoming a master of CBT and DBT and using these therapies to help young people to work through their emotions. Finally, I have extensive experience working with geriatric patients with dementia, from initial onset to end of life care, spending enormous amount of time on one-to-one safety watches, for example, with dementia patients, assisting them with everything: showers, eating, cleaning their room, and making their beds, etc. 

I also very much look forward to doing extensive research on the brain as a doctoral student and beyond—eager to invest another half century of my time tirelessly laboring to understand how and why dementia happens. I want to study neurons, resuscitate them, and create more. I also want to invest my energy and stature as an advocate for the progressive reform of our mental health public policy on a national level. I hope to conclude my life looking around me at an entirely new mental health system where treatment and recovery is not a function of one’s ability to pay for mental health care services. I hope to share at some point in my career in the development of psychology classes for middle or even grade schools that help us to combat negative stereotypes and images, generally speaking and about mental health in particular. I want to work on programs designed to prevent violence in our school system. It is easy for me to envision myself as a clinical psychologist getting most excited about such projects, especially since I hope to start a family of my own and have children one of these days after completing my education at Fordham. For me it would be a tremendous honor to study under Dr. XXXX whose work on dementia is of such critical importance. I cannot help but thinking of Dr. XXXX as a role model since we are both Latinas. From her I look forward to picking up many clues as to better understanding the mental health challenges of our minority group, particularly the sociocultural as well as neurocognitive aspects of mental health care for drug addicts and substance abusers.

I ask for admission to your distinguished and competitive PHD program at Fordham so that I might become the first member of my family to learn the doctoral degree. I feel that I have a lot to contribute to our study and treatment of dementia in the years ahead. Probably the greatest weakness of my application, since I am a Latina, is the fact that I am not yet fluent in Spanish, yet. My parents have always spoken Spanish to each other but as I was growing up I just did not listen. To me they only spoke English and that is how it has always been until recently. Now, I insist that my parents talk to me in Spanish, I work with my Rosetta Stone, and when one of my dementia patients speaks this language, we remember many things of great value together, in Spanish. Someday, I hope to open my own health and wellness clinic and it will be fully bilingual. I thank you for your consideration of my application.

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