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PsyD Clinical Psychology, Children of Color, Mom

September 19, 2017

A new mom, I could not be more enthused with new directions in my study of Psychology, especially my focus on becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist. As a young black woman born and raised until the age of 15 in our native Guyana, I relate especially well with children of color, particularly those that are at risk and from disadvantaged, marginalized, or recent immigrant backgrounds. While completing my MA in Developmental Psychology (2014), I had the chance to do my practicum in a child life setting where I would perform medical play with children arriving for pre-hospitalization. Most of these children were from lower-class families and had developmental delays. This experience inspired me with great passion and inner drive to work with children and their families in these circumstances.

I dream of becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist so that I can continue to help children and their families every day of my professional life and to have a very positive impact on their future. I look forward to decades to come reaching out a helping hand to underprivileged children and their families both here in the USA and in the Developing World, probably Guyana later on in my career when I get homesick and want to come full circle. My birth country has a very high suicide rate, especially among adolescent females, suggesting the need for well trained –and especially female – child psychologists. I want to advocate for children and teach by example, inspiring new generations of leaders in the care of our most vulnerable members of society.

XXXX University is my first choice among doctoral programs in Psychology for a variety of reasons. I appreciate your history as the longest running PsyD program in the USA and the way that you so artfully balance classroom instruction and practical applied experience. I am especially looking forward to the latter since I am practice oriented and anxious for more hands on experience. Perhaps most of all, I appreciate your especially thoroughgoing focus on child, adolescent, and family psychotherapy.

If selected, I will be the first member of my family to attend graduate school. It would make me very happy to give my life to working with the types of children that I now have experience, autistic and Downs Syndrome with developmental delays (speech etc.) What amazes me with some of these clients is how they use medical play to express their emotions. I see enormous value and potential in play therapy, based on my experience, where most of the children that I worked with who had a hard time expressing themselves were able to express themselves better through structured play activities. With great frequency, I reflect upon some of the children who came especially close to my heart; such as a 6 year-old Hispanic girl with autism and a lot of tooth decay. She would grunt all the time when trying to talk but also smile all the time. A Caribbean-American girl, 8 years old, with Down syndrome: I colored with her as she kept looking at me and making baby noises. Her mother was very laid back, texting on her phone and barely glancing over at her child. A 9 year old boy, also with Down syndrome, was very smart and excelled at medical play, signaling to his mother and grandmother from across the room. Very gentle and polite, this child was a sheer delight to care for and educate.

I have also worked at daycares and after schools programs with children who live in deprived areas and I am currently working at a psychiatric hospital for young children and adolescents with behavioral and mental issues. These experiences have given me the opportunity to learn how to better address the mental health needs of special populations and I look forward in particular to learning about the impact of economic factors on children's mental health.

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