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PsyD Personal Statement of Purpose Sample, Child & Family Psychology, Russian Teacher, Speaks Mandarin Chinese

XXXX International University is my top choice because the program educates clinical psychologists through a curriculum based on the integration of theory, research, and practice. The clinical experience in the field is especially important to me. The campus offers small classes and one-on-one attention from professors and a more intimate educational experience. Alliant’s emphasis on social and cultural diversity within the student cohort and the PsyD education is also important for me. Another key factor is that the PsyD program has full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA), which will provide me more opportunity in the future.

In my research for a suitable graduate program, I was thrilled to learn that Professors XXXX and XXXX both taught at XXXX International University. Professor XXXX has numerous articles related to the trauma of children and adolescents. "Community Based Acute Post-Traumatic Stress Management: A Description and Evaluation of a Psychosocial Intervention Continuum," stands out among the many articles I read during my research of the program. I know I will also learn much from Professor XXXX’s knowledge of the development of psychopathology, and parent and child social perceptions.

The purpose of my study is to investigate the relationship of Internet addiction (IA) with borderline personality features, childhood traumas, depression and anxiety symptoms among adolescents. The use of Internet is very common all around the world, especially among teenagers and has increased exponentially over the past decade. Adolescents spend their entire lives connected online, from schoolwork, socializing, shopping, playing games, and entertainment. This online connectivity can become obsessive and problematic. It can become a characteristic symptom of excessive Internet use and associated as a behavioral addiction that has been called a computer addiction, compulsive Internet use, pathological or problematic Internet use (PIU). Video games and social media overuse in adolescence has become an increasingly studied area over the last decade. In recent years, researchers have suggested that Internet addiction may be comorbid with psychological symptoms such as mood, depressive and anxiety symptoms.

In my dissertation research, I would like to investigate how child trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder features in adolescence can have a correlation with Internet addiction. My hypothesis is that childhood trauma, particularly childhood physical neglect, and emotional and sexual abuse have a significant effect on Borderline Personality Disorder that can be associated with risk of excessive Internet use. From my research, the essential features of Borderline Personality Disorder have some differences between adolescents and adults. The adolescents have more likely “acute” symptoms such as impulsive, self-damaging behavior,  inappropriate anger, fear of abandonment, identity disturbance, feeling of emptiness, and dependency on specific relationships to maintain a sensed identity. Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescence has a high psychiatric comorbidity and low psychosocial functioning.

Childhood traumas were also found to be related to substance addiction as well as behavioral addictions such as gambling. However, from my research, there are few studies that investigated the association between childhood traumas and Internet addiction. In my research, I have also found a relationship between Internet addiction and impulsivity which is commonly seen among those with Borderline Personality Disorder. The link between Borderline Personality Disorder and addiction is not surprising because both have negative emotionality and affective instability and both are impulsive. In my future research, I want to carefully evaluate the variables of the individuals who were traumatized in childhood and may have a high risk of Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, anxiety symptoms and have Internet addiction psychopathology.  As far as I know, there are just a few studies that directly evaluate the association between Internet addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Childhood traumatic experiences, depression, anxiety and gender may have important effects on Internet addiction risk and Borderline Personality Disorder, so I want to consider Borderline Personality Disorder together with these variables. Since adolescents with features of Borderline Personality Disorder may have negative emotions, instability, depression, anxiety, fear of abandonment, identity disturbance, which may relate with child trauma, they might find easier to interact online with others anonymously rather than the engage contact in real life. The reason for this finding may be the adolescents with trauma, negative emotions, such as anxiety or depression, may use the Internet to relieve these feelings both internally and externally. The Internet may provide an appropriate place for adolescents with features of Borderline Personality Disorder or child trauma to dissociate from the real world, to help manage their negative emotions. I also can investigate whether any coping styles such as avoidant or emotion-focused coping or possible psychological defense mechanism moderate in the relationship between impulsivity, negative emotions, instability and Internet addiction.

To investigate my hypothesis we can use Internet addiction scale (IAS), Childhood trauma questionnaire (CTQ-28), Beck Depression Inventory, and Beck Anxiety Inventory, Childhood Interview for DSM-4 Borderline Personality Disorder, which is the first interview-based measure of adolescents Borderline Personality Disorder And shows good reliability and validity. Internet addiction is the complicated, actual, and dynamic topic of the day. There is myriad research on Internet addiction and its effects on the adolescents and adults and still, provide room for new and unexplored research. Adolescence is a pivotal period for intervention, due to flexibility and malleability of Borderline personality disorder traits in youth.  If my research finds a positive correlation between child trauma, Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety, depression it will open the door to a new perspective of causes of Internet Addiction. It can provide more information for effective treatment to prevent the Internet addiction and specify more about Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescence which is also very actual studies.   

I am interested in the Child and Family (CFT) track that is designed for PsyD program. My end goal is to become licensed clinical psychologist for children, adolescents, and couples. I am especially interested in children as they are most integral part of our society. My friends, family, and colleagues have noted my ability to listen, exhibit empathy, connect emotionally, and encourage--necessary characteristics to work with children. The opportunity to work 50 percent in the field will allow me to focus and deeply learn how to function as a clinical psychologist. I choose the CFT track because of my past experience as a teacher and counseling volunteer. Children are the most vulnerable part of our society and often suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental issues. We need more professional experts who can help with these issues in order to facilitate better lives. A child's life is far too scripted nowadays with school, sports, friends, extracurricular activities, and family. The adolescent period has a reputation for being fragile, less resilient and more engulfed. In one report, the Child Mind Institute found that diagnosed anxiety disorder only gets treatment in about 20% of young people. It is hard to quantify behaviors related to anxiety and depression like non-suicidal self-harm because they are intentionally secretive. Being a teenager today is an exhausting full-time job that includes schoolwork, managing a social-media identity, concern about career, and friends. Parents can easily lose contact with children and enter into unproductive conflicts. It is hard for many parents to understand how much of a teenagers' emotional life is lived within the small screens on their phones. For adolescents it hard to see their own flawed or vulnerability, and for parents, the idea that their child has depression or anxiety or is self-harming can feel like a failure on their parts. When in this crises, it is not enough to treat just the child, we should consider the whole family dynamic.

My purpose in this track is to understand how to work with children who have issues with addiction, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, abuses, childhood trauma, other mental health issues.  I want to become a source of strength, hope, empowerment to recover, repair, heal their life and relationship with family and society as whole by exploring and identifying from all sources of wisdom in science and therapy to support their path to recovery.

Sample 1st 2 Paragraphs, PHD Art Therapy, Healing Wounds, Recovery

I earned my undergraduate degree in Studio Art and Art History because Art has always been at the center of my world. It has long been my foremost form of personal expression. By earning my PHD in Art Therapy at XXXX University, I will be inspired and empowered to help others to not only express themselves through art but to heal their wounds and surmount their challenges through artistic creation and sharing. I hope to put to good use many of the valuable things that I have learned as an artist, applying them to the cause of healing and recovery for those who have been touched by tragedy and loss.

My own art was mostly unfettered joy and celebration until my first year of college, when my best friend died in a car crash. I also lost a close family member to cancer in that same period as well as two other close friends who suffered freak accidents during my undergraduate years, helping me to better appreciate the beauty and especially the fragility of life. This opened up new doors to me for artistic expression as an exercise in overcoming grief. Now, I want to learn how to harness the full power of art as healing by earning my doctoral degree in Art Therapy at XXXX University.

Statements of Excellence for Admission to Graduate School in Psychology

15 Year Tribute to My Uncle, Dr. Edward F. Edinger (1922-1998), 2013


In the same measure that we approach death, let us also approach divinity. Dr. Robert Edinger

I dedicate my service in psychology to my uncle, Dr. Edward F. Edinger, a leading Jungian analyst whose books on the interplay between symbols and psychology carried the concepts of Carl Jung to a new generation of American analysts. He died on July 17, 1998 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75. Colleagues said he was the most influential Jungian analyst in the United States from the 1950's until his death.

HUMANITARIAN SNAPSHOT Psychologist in Switzerland.

Sample 1st Paragraph PsyD Clnical, Autism, ADHD

XXXX University is my first choice to earn my PsyD for a variety of reasons, primarily my profound admiration of your advanced curriculum and the streamlined nature of your program. My drive to earn the PsyD is a direct result of my extensive experience with special needs children—beginning with my own 2 children. My daughter XXXX 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 XXXX, who just turned 12, still struggles with learning disabilities and has many characteristics of ADHD. As I continue to reflect on and learn from our experience, I become increasingly engaged with the subject of psychological assessment and the pivotal role that it plays in diagnosis and subsequent 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.

I was amazed that you created such a beautiful personal statement on my behalf so quickly. Thanks a

YL (Application for Master’s in Psychology of Counseling, March 2011)

I want to help you get admitted to graduate school in Psychology.

Applicants who can think like scientists usually express ideas that begin to sound like a hypothesis, their ideas convey an appreciation of the way in which constructs might be associated with each other. Of course, the only chance that you have to convince them that you are capable of thinking and writing like a scientist is in your Personal Statement. I would be happy to draft the first paragraph free of charge so that I have to opportunity to demonstrate to you how I can help in this regard. You will only need to pay for my services if you are very impressed with the first paragraph and decide to commission me to draft the entire statement.

 You will need a highly eloquent Statement that portrays you as someone with enormous potential to contribute to the advance of Psychology over the long term. After you fill out my Online Interview Form, I will ask you some specific questions by email if I need any further information. Please also send your resume/CV and or rough draft if you have one.

The Humanitarian Side of Psychology

When psychologists slide into the world of humanitarian work, it can be challenging. Shocking, tiring, and beautiful, all at the same time. This is one of the reasons why it´s inspiring and informative to check out the stories of those who´ve gone before you.

Alessandra Pigni´s Story

We have to remember that we are not striving for perfection in our humanitarian work, but for humanity, says Alessandra Pigni. Here´s her story about working extensively as a psychologist in humanitarian settings.

Pigni´s Search for Meaning

Pigni joined Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders because she was attracted by the possibility to heal and speak out against the inhuman conditions in which many still live today on this planet.

How privileged to be able to work as a psychologist and bear witness to the effects of war through many vivid personal stories. Pigni wanted to do something meaningful for herself and others, while exploring the world.

She also wanted to speak up and write about what this crazy world was bringing to her attention. Through humanitarian work she could do just that. It was an “inner-outer journey”.

Her first mission was in Nablus, Palestine in 2008. In 2009, she was in China following the earthquake in Sichuan. Pigni has been working as a psychologist with Palestinian families living in conflict, and with Chinese men and women struggling in the aftermath of the biggest earthquake that ever hit China most recently.

While she was attending to the needs of the local population, she could not help noticing that she had her own emotional needs, and so did her colleagues. They were a mess! Often their needs went unmet, leaving them psychologically wounded and isolated.

While their position seemed a lucky one in comparison to the one of those who had lost a friend, a parent or a child in a conflict or in an earthquake, she could not fail to notice that her own suffering did not disappear in the face of war or tsunamis, but rather was made more acute in such fragile contexts. 

Life in the field, with that constant living on the edge of conflicts, magnifies our traits and behaviors, both good and bad.

Over the years, through her work with humanitarians, through her doctoral research, and through her ongoing personal journey, Pigni has come to see how the passionate and maladjusted in us often lift the sail towards aid work. It goes back to searching for meaning and striving for some personal truth I guess. 

Aid can be part of your quest, an escape, a way to lead an interesting life. And sometimes we seek war out there to avoid the conflicts that battle within us. As a patch solution this may help to numb the pain. But in the long run disregarding our own pain can either turn us into emotional zombies or lead to depression, anxiety disorders or burnout.

Humanitarian burnout

Humanitarian work tests your resilience on a daily basis. Far from home, and without the appropriate social support it is not unusual to feel isolated, stressed, frustrated, and, on occasion, depressed.

Past sufferings are often triggered by the difficulties of the mission, leaving humanitarian professionals with no one to turn to except perhaps another willing colleague ready to listen. Or alcohol. Pigni has seen depression, substance abuse, helpers’ fatigue and eventually burnout turn ‘a humanitarian dream’, into a humanitarian nightmare which ended on a plane with a single flight back home and a mission cut short.

How Mindfulness Helped Pigni

A lot of surprising things happened to Pigni when she was on her first humanitarian missions: friends dying back home, a toxic work environment, and colleagues leaving without notice. War. While she agrees with Prof Mark Williams that “nothing cures everything”, mindfulness truly helped her at that time.

Simply taking the time to sit for a few minutes before hitting the field provided her with a breathing space, a way to tune into her day from a place of less chaos.

The Real Difficulties

Pigni soon learned that it is a myth that the difficulties of a mission are war, conflict and natural disasters. Aid workers are ready for those challenges. Many crave the adrenaline and the kick that they get from going through a military checkpoint or being in a war-zone. Pigni did.

For most humanitarians, the difficulties of a mission are the team dynamics, the tough work environment, the loneliness, the shattered illusions about humanitarian organizations, the lack of a place you can call ‘home’.

While aid workers need to practice self-care (and no, alcohol doesn’t count as self-care!), it is up to their organizations to foster a healthy work environment: the real key to burnout prevention.

Change the World?

Changing the world is a much sexier idea than changing ourselves and the organizations we work with. But Pigni thinks it’s true to say that “war and peace start in the heart of the individuals”, as Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön writes in Practicing Peace in Times of War (check out her books and audio recordings).

Based on the wisdom of others rather than her own experience, she things it is sensible to say that we cannot change the world out there, unless we start from ourselves and our organizations.

Humanity as a Pre-Requisite for Meaningful Work

We are not striving for perfection, but for humanity in humanitarian work, right? And humanity means that none of us is Superman or Wonderwoman. We need a break, a friend, love, a home, some warmth and care. We don’t want to be bureaucrats, nor be subject to patronizing rules. We strive for meaning otherwise we wouldn’t do what we are doing.


Personal and organizational mindfulness can help to develop emotional intelligence, awareness and a ‘healthy level of empathy’: the opposite of the cynicism and emotional numbness that are the doorway to burnout, and crippling realities in the humanitarian sector.

If we want to make the world a better place, say´s Pigni, looking within as well as after ourselves is the pre-requisite to effectively care for others. As her friend Jennifer Lentfer wrote: “Aid worker, know thyself“. Maybe that’s how changing the world starts from within, Pigni adds.

Is she right? How do you aim to manage the self-care in the humanitarian setting you hope to work in? If you´re a psychologist that´s looking for these kinds of opportunities or related further study and need the support of some compelling documents, please don´t hesitate to let us know! We´d love to support you.

I would like to thank you so much for a wonderful Statement of Purpose. It is so well worded and covers all the key points that I wanted to present. I will definitely recommend your services to all my friends.

D.N. (Application for Master’s in Counseling
Psychology June 2011)

Sample 1st Paragraph for the PHD in Psychology and Religion

I hope to earn the PHD Degree in Psychology and Religion at XXXX University because I feel called intellectually to pursue my central professional dream of helping to build bridges between psychological and theological practice. In this way, I hope to enrich the life of the Church and to assist church officials in dealing with a variety of issues, from mental health challenges among us to social issues that have implications for both psychology and theology. Most of all, I seek to develop a professional lifetime focus on the psychology of transcendent relationships in the many forms in which they exist throughout the world.

I really love the statement. It's perfect just the way it is.  I am very pleased.

Thank you so much!

K.M. (Application for Counseling program February 2012)

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PHD in Clinical Psychology in the Child & Family Track, Asian Applicant

Born and raised in Indonesia, my grandfather is from China and he taught me Mandarin when I was a child. Now, more and more, as I recover my ability to understand Mandarin especially while in China, I think of him. I am also well on my way to learning to speak Mandarin fluently. This part is critical since I seek to build a special expertise in my field, Child and Educational Psychology, focused on the marginalized and/or special needs children of China as well as my native Indonesia. We moved to Seattle, WA in 2007 and then to North Carolina in 2016. The fact that North Carolina is our new home is one of the principle reasons why XXXX University is my first choice for doctoral study. I hope to earn the PHD in Clinical Psychology in the Child & Family track.

I feel that the research and publication areas of your outstanding faculty at XXXX are the most closely aligned with my own long-term aspirations for both practice and research in Clinical Psychology – especially with respect to helping children with autism and ADHD. I am particularly excited about the prospect of studying under Dr. Puffer because her work centers around the development and evaluation of integrated, community-based interventions to promote child mental health in low-resource settings. The interests that I share in common with Dr. Puffer led me to my professional relationship with World Vision Indonesia, studying the impact of contextual education and life-skills intervention in improving learning outcomes. Currently, I am serving as an International Development Consultant studying the effectiveness of early childhood development intervention in rural China. I could not be more dedicated to staying abreast of technology enhanced or assisted research and intervention in early childhood, especially in Asia, generally speaking, and Indonesia and China in particular.

I care very deeply about the well-being of children, particularly those from families with scarce resources. I seek a full immersion in the literature of Child and Family Psychology generally speaking, with my most developed concentration in the area of special needs children. I could not be more excited about the prospect of participating in as many practicums and conferences in my area as the opportunity presents. I look forward to acquiring an advanced understanding of the role of culture in measurement, communication, adaptation and intervention design, in addition to the full gambit of strategies for the promotion of child well-being and good-parenting practices. Coming from a country full of ethnic and cultural diversity, I relish working with families from all cultural backgrounds. This is especially important insofar as cultural values play a crucial role in shaping interventions. I am already heavily engaged in research in the areas of assessment instruments, developmental milestones, teacher observation, caregiver survey, and early learning environmental scale tailored to the Indonesian context - measuring the quality of child development services and parenting practices in rural Indonesia, to improve child developmental outcomes. The Autism spectrum, ASD, ADHD, and neurodevelopmental disorders occupy my intellectual and professional center stage in a search for practical applications based on research concerning the well-being of children with special needs and their families, mapping and evaluating services for autism/ADHD in low-resource settings in Indonesia, China, or other developing nations.

Through my experience as an applied researcher in humanitarian educational settings, I came to appreciate more and more the importance of research for producing evidence-based interventions which at the end lead to achieving our goal: improving the well-being of children and families, especially in the case of disadvantaged populations. I look forward to contributing to the great diversity of experience driving the cutting-edge research taking place at Duke. I have extensive experience working in unique settings, including refugee camps, post-conflict settings, post-disaster settings, and other rural and remote settings in developing countries. Some of the countries I’ve traveled to for project fieldwork include: Indonesia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Thailand, Jordan, Vanuatu, Philippines, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and China. And, while I have not yet been there, I am also extensively involved and networking with non-profit organizations in Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland, Burundi, Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, India, Myanmar, and Laos. 

I have extensive experience working closely with young children (from infants to adolescents) and their families. I am an experienced grant proposal writer and a scholarship recipient for academic excellence. I seek to put my diverse experiences, cross-cultural research interests, leadership qualities and high level of determination to on behalf of underserved populations globally, working with humanitarian organizations. There is a great need for well-trained psychologists to support the effort of NGOs to serve children with special needs in developing countries, especially in remote/rural areas, the poor, refugees, etc. By earning the PHD, I will get the top-notch training and experience that I need to achieve my goals. I also look forward to teaching Child Psychology at some point, perhaps in Indonesia, to increase the quality of expertise that serves children with special needs in my home country. I want to help bridge gaps and connect universities in the 3rd World with their counterparts in the 1st and 2nd, promoting multinational, cross-cultural research.

Jasper, my nephew (then 3, now 6) was diagnosed with both autism and ADHD and his parents had little confidence in the validity of the diagnosis, especially since it was based on a one-visit assessment. Naturally, I started reading broadly in this area so as to be able to support his parents from an informed perspective, resulting in my high level of fluency in the literature of evidence-based evaluation and treatment for autism and ADHD, and particularly with respect to cultural issues and in the context of the Developing World. I look forward to building my own non-profit organization focused on both Indonesia and China and devoted to the well-being of children with special needs. I also hope to design and operate inclusive schools that serve special populations in creative ways.

I thank you for considering my application to the global Child and Family Psychology community at XXXX.

My extensive research concerning what graduate programs in Psychology are looking for in applicants has led me to the following conclusions that I would like to share with you:

Usually, at least one tenure-track faculty member reviews every application, and from there, they create a short list of about 25 percent of the applications, less for highly competitive programs. Then, several faculty members review candidates on the short list and provide feedback. Academic potential as measured by a combination of grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores along with the extent to which the applicant is seen as a good match to the program, its values and areas of research concentration. The GRE score is not as important as many applicants think if you have good grades. One tenured admission committee member in psychology says that: “The psych GRE score usually will not get you in; and it will not keep you out. The importance of the extent to which an applicant matches the general emphasis of the program's training, and has research interests that match an available mentor can hardly be overestimated.

Psychology graduate programs like to see some independent research experience, an ability to think like a scientist, someone who can generate hypotheses, who is familiar with research literature, who can understand the limits to prior research, someone who demonstrates ability for scientific thinking and writing. Some applicants indicate a lot of enthusiasm for an area of research, but not knowledge of how to conduct good research. For example, they might indicate that they're very excited about working with children or adolescents, and that they think it's important to study internalizing symptoms. This is fairly broad. That type of essay will not stand out as much as an applicant who expresses such enthusiasm, but also is knowledgeable about some of the current theories and methodological approaches that are used to study specific developmental psychopathology symptoms.

Introducing Humanitarian Psychology.

Trends in incarceration in the USA point to the need for well-trained PHDs and PsyDs in the area of Clinical Psychology.

Since 2002, the USA has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. In 2010, the rate of prisoners per 100,000 residents was 500 according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In 2015, levels rose to 2.2 million. There is a stark difference between this figure and the 1.3 million of 1998, and the 400,000 of 1982. There has been a 500% population increase in the nation’s prisons and jails in the last forty years, due to changes in sentencing law and policy, resulting in prison overcrowding. One in three black men and one in sex Latino men will now go to prison during their lifetime

Many of these inmates are seen to have active suicidal or homicidal ideation, intent or plans and/or do not make use of the food, clothing, shelter or other activities offered to them because of a mental disorder. Mental health screening to identify disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and mental developmental delays are mandatory. Psychologist and psychiatrists are needed for emergency duty to deal with the increasing numbers of incidents of rape, mania, panic attacks, deaths and victimization.

The rising need for therapy, court-ordered assessments, and other tasks in this challenging environment must be tackled with a high level of professionalism, and this demanding job needs experienced individuals who are very highly trained, like PHDs and PsyDs, to treat the mental illness and disability of the inmates in these special circumstances, which are growing in complexity.

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