I had just returned from a 3-week respite in Spain, and I was riding the post-vacation emotional high.
The quaint cobblestone streets of Seville left me with feelings of joy and amusement; the romantic plazas of Madrid left me with love; the vast beaches of Barcelona left me with serenity and awe; and the seafood paella in each of these cities left me with each of the top 10 positive emotions (mostly gratitude).
I was rejuvenated, and I was eager to dive back into work.
My first day back to work was at a new therapy rotation. For the first time, I was scheduled for five consecutive 1-hour sessions (my previous maximum was two consecutive sessions). New schedule, new clients, new office – a perfect reset after vacation.
But by the time my fifth client left my office, I was feeling sheer exhaustion. I felt like someone siphoned every drop of energy out of me. I ended up napping for an hour on my therapy couch (indeed, therapy couches are a real thing) before driving home. I chalked it up to jet lag.
In reflecting upon how graduate students in psychology and related disciplines may begin to view logging clinical hours as a more meaningful endeavor, I explore the features of an effective practicum or internship plan.
The post is written based on the big idea that the development of a student’s professional skills should be treated as an integrated process, not a series of isolated activities.
I went to graduate school in a large city, and I was lucky to have over a dozen hospital sites to apply to once I knew I wanted inpatient experience. The problem was that I didn’t realize how much variation existed within the world of hospital training.
Knowing what kind of hospital you’re applying to will help you focus your cover letters, know what you’re walking into on interviews, and pick the site that best fits with the experiences you want.
Multicultural supervision requires a unique skill set, and there are important factors that supervisors and training sites should take into consideration when working with trainees of color. Many trainees of color in mental health fields find themselves being the only one that looks like them in primarily white spaces.
In reading these four suggested points, I hope that existing supervisors, early career therapists, and trainees who wish to one day supervise will take note. The face of our field is forever changing, and it is time that we consider factors that can promote the success and well-being of all future clinicians.
I have made it no secret that I do not want to pursue a career as a clinician. It’s not that I dislike therapy; it’s that I have a pie chart dilemma. The only steadfast rule of pie charts is that there is a finite amount of space. A bigger slice in one area means a smaller slice in another.
Students learn from their early graduate school days that they cannot be good at everything, and that they ought to pick a path—in clinical psychology, this choice is typically between clinician and researcher. I have chosen the latter.
Behind every great applicant there are two main things: the paper and the person. The paper consists of the CV you’ve fine-tuned, the cover letters you’ve toiled over, the essays you’ve edited and re-edited, and anything else that a reviewer is receiving by e-mail or snail mail. You get a lot of time to perfect your materials and you wait for that exciting moment when you receive the invitation to interview.
When the conquistadors came to the Americas, they were in search of wealth. They brought mass genocide, sickness, and they left countless communities in biological, psychological, political, social, and spiritual turmoil that has lasted for generations. With this destruction, colonialism began. Maldonado-Torres (2007) argues that coloniality is the patterns of power that came out of colonialism, particularly around race . Coloniality looks different now, and we see it in overt and covert ways, particularly in how people within systems relate to each other. Maldonado-Torres writes that it survives through “books, in the criteria for academic performance, in cultural patterns, in common sense, in self-image, in aspirations of self, and in many aspects of modern experience” . It also survives in psychology, mental health counseling, and social work programs. In order to create true cultures of awareness, equity, and justice, our programs must separate from the overt and covert ways that coloniality endures. Decolonizing programs not only benefits the faculty and students who are a part of that system, but it will also have a significant impact on the people we serve. By creating a system that is continually striving to decolonize, we will stop re-colonizing our patients with... Continue Reading
To move into expertise, we need a sage guide to show us where we excel and where we need to improve. All learning processes involve some negative feedback, whether it involves learning to skateboard or pay your utility bills. Psychologists provide positive and negative feedback to people and organizations in many arenas. Learning to give helpful feedback as a peer supervisor takes experience, mentorship, and trust in your knowledge and expertise. One of my clinical supervisors described feedback as similar to the way a physical therapist views rehabilitation after an injury; while we all need (and prefer) a massage, recovery requires exercising the muscles in painful ways. It is the painful exercising that returns the tissue to strength. Positive feedback is the massage; negative feedback is the jumps, stretches, and pulls that take us to new levels of ability in our clinical training. Providing peer supervision developed my identity as a supervisor. I accepted a position to be a teaching assistant for the most challenging course in our program. It was my third year of graduate training, and stress was high. The assignments demanded students spend hours meticulously grading test protocols while juggling the demands of clinical rotations, research, and maintaining a social life.... Continue Reading
Working from home is a new experience for many people. If you are similar to me, the house has many distractions that limit your productivity. I am a neuropsychology student and researcher on the topic of executive functioning – your brain’s ability to engage in attention, planning, impulse control, decision-making, and thinking flexibility. I believe the recommendations I provide to my patients will also be helpful to you in this time. The following strategies will help you maximize productivity while working from home. Note: I recognize I do not have the added factor of caretaking for children. Parents, you are heroes. Please take what is helpful from this and ignore what isn’t. No one can apply these concepts perfectly (especially me), but maybe one or two will make a huge difference. 1. Think of Your Attentional Abilities as a Ruler. As the day goes on without a rest period, you lose inch after inch until you are staring at a computer screen and forget what day and time it is. Working from home has so many distractions that you are doing the same job, but with less of your ruler. To increase your ruler, it is important to replenish your mental energy. 2. Give Yourself Self-Compassion and Plan it Into Your Life. I recommend you plan for one and a half the typical... Continue Reading
Doctoral students have the enormous task of balancing clinical work, research, teaching and coursework; all while ensuring they have enough clinical hours to be competitive for the process of applying for internship. If your clinical placement is not getting you the hours you need, it can add unneeded stress. Here are some tips for each stage of the process to help you advocate for your training needs successfully.