PHD Clinical, Domestic Violence, Islamic Patriarchy

April 7, 2013

As a 34-year old woman from Iran, I believe that my life experience and pronounced ability to overcome hardships make an excellent candidate for the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at XXXX. I am extremely determined to contribute to constructive change in people’s lives. I am very highly motivated to succeed in your program because this will enable me to fulfill my calling, my duty to help abused women, like myself, that have been victimized by brutal forms of Islamic patriarchy. XXXX’s emphasis on producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems and its commitment to excellence in scientific training, using clinical science as the foundation for designing, implementing, and evaluating assessment and intervention procedures, will give me the tools that I need to establish an effective practice as a licensed clinical psychologist.

 As long as I remember, I have always had the desire to study psychology and was very curious about human behavior and characteristics. My mother was a university professor of Psychology in Iran and I remember—from the time that I learned to read well at about 7—digging into her research papers and her students’ reports on the behavior of mental patients. My mother also used to take me with her on regular visits to mental health institutes while working on her research projects, because she saw so much enthusiasm in me. Those regular visitations with of mental patients had a great impact on my entire life. Despite my very young age, I sensed a great deal of pain in the eyes of her patients and I wished that I could cheer them up. My mother would tell me: “wait till you grow up and then you can help all the sad people in the world.” In time, this would become my motto and my mission.

By the time I was ready for college, Iran´s need for computer software engineers and my enthusiasm for math and new technologies led me to study computer science at Azad University. By the second year of my studies, however, I fell in love, got married, and gave birth to my son a year later. Soon after that, however, my husband became mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive and before I knew it I was suffering from a profoundly low sense of self-esteem. I lost interest in my studies and began to suffer chronic depression; I became suicidal.

After two years, my mother finally convinced me to see a counselor. He saved my life, renewed my existence, and helped me to reconstruct my lost confidence and self-esteem. He encouraged me to believe that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to and that I could arise from my dark hole. Soon, I had recovered to such an extent that I was able to divorce my husband—no small feat in Iran. Yet, my victory was tragic, since I lost custody of my 2-year-old son. Based on Islamic law as it is practiced in Iran, at the time of divorce, the man has the option of retaining the custody of the children—irrespective of domestic abuse. Yet, my counselor helped me to see once again that life goes on. I decided to flee from my grief by going back to school and studying psychology program, now I had a mission, helping women who had endured what I had gone through, helping them to survive as well.

This is how I became devoted to the cause of helping women who have been victimized by Islamic law. Naturally, to do so, I needed a geographical cure as well. So, I said my farewell to my homeland and immigrated to Canada. I worked hard for a few years to save up enough money to go back to school full time student; soon, I became a store manager. Several years later, I met a wonderful husband, from America, and I moved to California in 2007 and returned to full time study the following year. My plan was to master my communication skills first so that I could communicate effectively on a professional level; with this in mind I enrolled at California State University as a Communications major, and later added Psychology as my minor. I will graduate following the next quarter; my GPA is 3.8. XXXX is my first choice for graduate school.

My near-death experience in Iran and my survival as a result of therapy resulted in a profound, total resurrection to life and a completely new beginning. Not only am I alive and have built life completely anew, but I see the world differently; I am now a woman with sublime self determination and strength.  And I now want to use my strength and extremely high level of motivation to pursue a graduate degree in counseling psychology so that I can help others to learn how to cope with the kinds of hardships in their lives that I have survived and, in fact, turned into assets. Naturally, I want to focus my attention in the area in which I am especially knowledgeable, the psychological agony of women that have been subjected to the brutality of Islamic law: the fear, agony, sense of defeat, worthlessness, all too often leading to suicide, even self-immolation.

I ask for admission to your program so that I can learn how to help other women survive. I plan on writing my research papers on the psychological struggles of Islamic women and, after graduation, to build a practice devoted to the needs of women in the Iranian Diaspora, and, in fact, all women who suffer as a result of the brutality of Islamic patriarchy. I think of myself as an eligible candidate to support the individual’s healthy mind. I wish to work exclusively with victims of abuse and misfortune, especially women and children.

I have learned to be sharp, brave, and determined in the worst of situations; therefore I am certain that I will be able to excel in the PHD Program at XXXX and that I will be in a position to make important contributions to the diversity of your program and your academic community. There are many thousand Iranian women living in the XXXX area; thus your program is uniquely suited to producing a doctoral candidate that would be capable of writing a watershed dissertation in this area.

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