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Blog posts : "Masters Counseling"

Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling

“Everyone should be in therapy”. Do you agree or disagree which this statement? Please state your reasoning

I think that long term happiness and well-being most often occurs as a result of planning, making a serious effort to address one’s issues, and this is especially true when one has the added burden of dealing with a mental health challenge. In fact, I tend to see therapy as an integral part of human development in the modern age and quite useful for achieving the fullest of lives and the highest levels of development personally as well as professionally.

I am especially excited about the prospect of using therapy for preventive purposes, like a health screening that occurs routinely, geared to the prevention of issues, just as we routinely look for indicators for cancer in asymptomatic people. Another analogy that I enjoy is that of therapy as a sort of flu shot geared towards the prevention of flair ups of mental health symptoms, to prevent potential illness. Just like Rome is not built in one day. Mental illness is not developed in one day. It will be much better to detect those distorted thinking patterns at an early stage when they are more easily and successfully dealt with.

I have always categorically rejected negative labels or stereotypical thinking about people who see a therapist. I do not see those who go to therapy as either lazy or weak, rather, it takes strength, drive, determination and most of all courage to put in the investment required for a successful therapy experience. Life is full of challenge, failures, and sometimes suffering, and therapy helps on to cope with life in all of these areas. It is important to acknowledge and account for the significance and value of falling down, being challenged, and even – perhaps particularly - facing up to failure. Untreated problems only get worse over time. Therapists help us to recognize our blind spots and overcome our negative feelings such as anger and jealousy digging deeper in a journey towards self-discovery that leads towards acceptance and greater tranquility.

It is important to note that some of our finest, most biographically significant moments, often occur when we are quite uncomfortable, not feeling happy at all. Our therapist encourages us to confront our uncomfortable feelings, take them on and work through them, thus snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by finding and implementing workable solutions.

Mental illness usually takes many years to develop in the absence of adequate coping skills and the presence of maladaptive beliefs. If we don't pay attention to what is happening to us early on, what makes us feel drained, harmful thoughts can become so deeply embedded in our minds making them resilient to change as a result of many years of reinforcement of negative behavior.

A friend of mine who is a licensed counselor once invited me to attend an art therapy session with her. All participants sat in a circle. After a brief icebreaker and introductions, we were each asked to create a fairy story and were given 30 minutes to decorate a mask for the main character we created. We then were separated into three groups, introducing our stories to group members and selecting one story to perform a role play in the form of mime: acting without using words. The author of the selected story would serve as a director, choosing actors and designing all the actions. In one of the role plays, a girl played a puppet and was controlled by another girl who played manipulator standing behind her. The puppet was forced to move her legs and hands under the manipulator’s instructions. Then, another girl playing a pair of scissors came up and tried to squeeze between the puppet and the manipulator, using her two arms. However, she failed. The manipulator pushed over the “scissors”. The puppet stood on her knees and bent her head down stiffly. At that moment, a forth girl who played a grown-up puppet wearing a colorful mask made by the author came up to the stage to fight with the manipulator and eventually beat her.  After helping the author direct the mime, the counselor asked the author whether she wanted to role-play the grown-up puppet with the mask. The girl nodded her head and went up to the stage. She fought with the manipulator, pushed the manipulator onto the floor and pretended to keep hitting her until the manipulator gave up resisting and was “dead”. When we discuss about how each role makes us feel, it is eye opening to adopt various perspectives to better understand the complex situation. How does it feel to be a manipulator, seeing the original puppet surrender to the manipulator and the grown-up puppet fight so hard against the manipulator? One of the touching moments is seeing the manipulator smiling and happy even though she was beaten down. She said it felt good to see the puppet growing even though it means she failed for whatever her purpose is. The ability of letting go is very inspiring. So is the importance of forgiveness, both of which can be taught most effectively through drama, providing a chance to explore something painful or difficult in one’s heart from a safe distance. The workshop I attended was predominantly composed of Chinese international students and young professionals. The therapy helped us to explore ourselves through acting out our thoughts and our sharing reflections.

I see my own generation as quite distinct from those that have gone before, especially with respect to Chinese culture. We are given more freedom to choose what we want in our lives. We are more willing to accept job positions that pay less but are truly what we want and feel passionate about. We care more about how we feel and we place a higher priority on being happy.

I feel strongly that psychotherapy can be highly effective in easing symptoms associated with mental health issues and generally results, as numerous studies have shown, in heightened self reporting of feelings or levels of happiness. I spend a lot of time reading in the area of positive psychology and thus I appreciate the way that psychotherapy is best not seen as a place where only troubles are discussed but also  strengths discovered, positive emotions cultivated, and gratitude and optimism are fostered. For me, psychotherapy is much more than symptom reduction, it also helps us to nurture courage, kindness, modesty, perseverance, and emotional and social intelligence.

I do not, however, necessarily feel that my generation is necessarily happier than generations that have gone before us. Perhaps we have yet to learn to fully translate our greater levels of freedom and self realization into more contentment and inner peace. I like to focus on the way that human beings are incredibly resilient creatures capable of adapting rapidly to environmental and demographic changes, at least with a little help from some kind of social support system and sometimes a positive intervention. I do not see happiness as equivalent to the absence of unhappiness and I am an advocate of positive interventions that are able to extend the benefits of psychological science even to those who are not suffering from a clinical condition. I am particularly fond, for example, of one positive intervention designed and put to use by Seligman who asked clients to write three good things that went well that day and also reflect upon why they went well, which helped clients to end their day remembering the day’s positive rather than negative events.

Many people think therapy is not necessary, since they can turn to the abundant self-help literature, including many national best sellers. However, one problem about self-help books is that they are trying to give one solution fit for everyone. In reality, everyone has unique problems to some extent and situations also vary according to te individual. Therapists can better lead you to what you want through individually tailored approaches. While self-help literature may offer numerous tricks such as ‘‘do aromatherapy once a week,’’ and ‘‘every morning repeat six positive affirmations,’’ these strategies lack scientific rigor. Self-help strategies for all may also serve to reinforce the misperception that there are quick fixes or short cuts for everything, including mental illness and personal growth. Because personal growth and recovery from mental illness require one to look deep into oneself, it generally takes a long time to finish the journey to make sense of our past and how that leads us into a future of promise.

Some people may contend that they get enough emotional support from friends and family members and thus do not need therapy. It is true that friends might provide you sound advice and invaluable emotional comfort. However, therapists are trained professionals who help one to look deep inside to find one’s own solutions. Lessons learned through therapy help many people to live more rewarding lives, including how to value and appreciate one’s friends in healthy and positive ways.

Therapists also provide a client with the all important factor of confidentiality and the benefits of a professional vs. personal interaction. Unlike some friends, who often have vested interests, the therapist is not judgmental and is open to and can help a client to come up with novel and creative ideas concerning behavioral modification. One can feel comfortable with a professional in a way that they cannot with someone with whom they have a personal relationship. While everyone is not yet ready for therapy, by working together as a professional group to help to lower the stigma attached to seeking professional help, we can contribute to making mental health services more widely available and utilized as well.

By earning my Master’s Degree in your comprehensive program at XXXX, I look forward to a long lifetime as a professional therapist working to promote well-being and personal growth, especially by fostering and facilitating help seeking behaviors among clinical populations and culture groups where mental health services tend not to be highly valued. 

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MA Mental Health Counseling, Nigerian


I am writing on behalf of my application to earn the Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling at XXXX because I see your program as the optimal institution in the world to help me learn to make my optimal contribution to the practice of Mental Health Counseling in my country, Nigeria. I feel comfortable at your historically black institution, and confident that your distinguished faculty, with a special interest in black issues, will guide me in the right directions so as to make sustainable intellectual progress through sharpened intra- and intercultural sensitivities. I hope to contribute to our discussions as someone who is also a medical doctor, underscoring the importance role of physiological factors in most mental health illnesses, especially in a developing country such as Nigeria with widespread, abject poverty, and high levels of civil unrest and violence.

Nigeria faces enormous economic, political, and social challenges that are complicated by both poverty and violence, threatening a downward spiral into social chaos, with human rights abuses rising dramatically primarily as a result of the Boko Harem insurgency and a brutal state response, especially in the countryside, most particularly broad swaths of the north. Since the insurgency’s principal weapons of choice is planting bombs in marketplaces, however, this most indiscriminate form of terrorist violence in now beginning to claim victims in almost every corner of the country, speaking to the way in which we need new mental health care initiatives at the national level, especially for victims of terrorist violence, most particularly, the children.

I like to think of myself as a feeling and compassionate young woman who happens to be a doctor as well. Still only 29, I have the maturity that comes with struggle and the hope that comes with compassion. Deeply touched and moved by the enormous suffering in my country that occurs as a result of little-to-no access to mental health counseling. I feel strongly that much of the psychological suffering of Nigerians could be at least mitigated to the extent to which adequate mental health counseling support services were to be made available. It is also my opinion that the presence of adequate mental health counseling services would radically raise the standards of living of most Nigerians, especially those who are members of underserved communities.

During my training in medical school, I was exposed to a lot of mental health related problems and I also did a mental health posting which further exposed me to many of the challenges confronted by mental health professional in Nigeria. After graduation and working as a physician, I also came into contact with a lot of patients who had mental health issues, many of them chronic. In fact, it is most of all my patients who have inspired and motivated me to pursue graduate study in the area of mental health counseling. Thus this has greatly influenced my interest to study masters in clinical mental health counseling as i really want to improve the health care services in both my country and worldwide most especially in the area of mental health. I hope to build a lifelong specialization in several areas in particular, bipolar disorders, mania, anxiety, and depression, especially among women and particularly those that have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence. I personally attended to many women and girls who had been raped, since the number of rape victims in Nigeria is already staggering and now rapidly growing as political violence spreads. There are more and more victims of indiscriminant bomb blast victims that result in amputations of one or more limbs. Schizophrenia was widespread even in the absence of the violence which it exacerbates, drug addiction, bulimia nervosa in young girls, psychosis, etc., among child as well as adult victims.

I look forward to a lifetime of organizing advocacy programs, interactive sessions and educative forums which will target the underserved for therapeutic as well as preventive measures. I intend to at least manage if not create one or more non-governmental organizations for this purpose.  I seek to raise awareness concerning risk factors involved for various mental health related issues such as substance abuse, and better educated young people about the adverse and hazardous effects of drug abuse, as well as providing sex education to boys as well as girls. The NGO that I have in mind would begin working with children as elementary students and progress through high school. I hope to engage the state as well as the federal government bureaucracy and make it work to the extent to which this is possible in Nigeria, in a never-ending search for creative ways to move our governments in progressive directions. I also look forward to working closely with UNICEF and the International Labor Organization ILO. I also want to work to increase asses to libraries, equipping them with mental health resources. Serving as a group leader of research projects throughout my medical training has helped me to cultivate my leadership skills which I will continue to do as a student in your program since we are in desperate need in Nigeria of leaders in this field.

The bomb blasts now going off in Nigeria with increasing frequency leave entire families in a state of confusion with lasting consequences for the community. I personally treated a girl who lost her entire family at once in a bomb blast at one of the markets in a northern state of Nigeria. She started having symptoms of bipolar disorder and I made a diagnosis of neurotic depression admitted her, and did what little I could. I look forward to studying trauma and the psychological problems that it generates, even for those who are not physically injured themselves but only exposed to or caught up in the violence.

These days, most unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Nigerian families find themselves caught up in crises generated by the cross-fire between the Boko Harem terrorists on one side and the extrajudicial execution of detainees by the military on the other, with people left terrified by both sides. Fear of the unknown has also resulted in millions of internal refugees, especially from the northern states of Nigeria. Many homes are destroyed in the conflict, adding homelessness to the burden of terror.

I have always had a special fondness for and interest in children, the future of tomorrow. Most cases of violence end up affecting them directly or indirectly. Orphans, rape victims, ex-combatants, those infected with AIDS, the indigent, especially the girls, I seek to help them all in one way or another. They confront challenges that will always be with them, with us all, as a society and as humanity as we pull together to help those who have the greatest need. I thank you for considering my application.

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Master’s Counseling, 1st Generation Immigrant Latina

Now 27 years old, I am pleased that, while I was born in Chicago, my parents took me back to Mexico at the age of 2 and we stayed there until I turned 8, before moving back to Illinois. This not only facilitated my becoming completely bilingual but also completely bicultural, as Mexican as I am American, and this is central to my professional identity and aspirations.

Throughout my first two years of school in America, repeating the second grade and through the end of third grade, I had an ESL teacher who helped me to catch up with the rest of the class in English. This experience will always be with me and provides me with special empathy and understanding of the great challenges confronting immigrant children. Most recently, my little brother who is in the 5th grade has been the victim of bullying. The school counselor has been extremely helpful and I greatly admire her dedication and her passion for the well being of the children. She has inspired me as a role model.

A Latina, a first generation immigrant, Mexican-American woman, I am the only member of my family to graduate from college. Very passionate about social justice, I decided to major in Criminal Justice at the University of XXXX and graduated in 2010 and I had the special privilege of assisting Professor XXXX with the creation of a new class called “Latinos/as and the Law.” When I took the class during my last semester, we were split into groups and each group worked/volunteered with an organization that helped Latinos/as. My group worked with Voces de la Frontera (Voices from the Border) in XXXX Wisconsin. Twice a week we would go during class time to see what they need help with; we called people in the community to let them know about upcoming events and helped to distribute their newspaper around XXXX. We also helped Voces de la Frontera organize the local May 1st immigration marches.

I have spent the past few years working mostly in sales. This experience has enhanced my bilingual skills as I have worked at least as much if not more in Spanish than I in English, and I have also learned a great deal about the technology of the workplace, information systems, networking, etc. Now, however, I yearn to return to a career helping others, serving as their advocate, empowering them towards success. I look back fondly to my internship with the Probation Center of XXXX County and reflect on how much joy I found serving as an advocate for offenders, going to court with them and following up on their cases. This position served to open my eyes to the great need to protect youth not only from drugs and crime, but also from the justice system itself. I felt that my contribution was especially valuable in the case of those offenders who spoke very little English.

I spend my early years living in a small town in Mexico where I attended school through the second grade. My parents grew up very poor and were never able to finish school. Thus, they set out to make education possible for their children so that they could have a better life. Our journey back to America was not easy; it took them days to cross the border undocumented and they had to endure many challenges.  It is because of the great sacrifice and enormous effort made by my parents that I am so determined to succeed, and to attain not only the first college degree in the family but the first professional degree as well.

I am convinced that The XXXX School of Professional Psychology is the program for which I am the best fit and will be best able to excel. Your location is perfect, since your campus is in the heart of XXXX and XXXX stands at the center my heart.  I am ready to give my full time and attention to your Master’s Program in Counseling because I feel that this is the area in which I will be able to make the greatest contribution to my people, the immigrant Latino community.

I have been inspired to study counseling partly as a result of my volunteer work with immigrants, helping them to learn English and complete necessary paper work has convinced me that there is a great need for professional counselors to serve this group. I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program.

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MA Counseling Psychology, Mental Health Center


At 22, I feel that I am mature for my age. This has contributed to my dedication to the study of psychology. I feel that I am ready for graduate school and up to the rigorous challenge as a result of my intense motivation and dedication to my chosen field of study.

I hold the BA in Social Studies, with an overwhelming concentration in psychology, from XXXX State College. I want very much to continue my education and I am especially attracted to the curriculum and reputation of the XXXX University M.A. Program for Counseling Psychology. 10 years from now I would like to have a PhD and work either in private practice or for a state run facility as a mental health clinician working with all age groups.

 I took a year off of school after I graduated to gain some work experience. I currently work at XXXX Mental Health Center as a Therapeutic Mentor. I work closely with clinicians to develop appropriate treatment plans for me to implement during our secessions. I have been working there since August of 2011. Seeing first-hand the progress and frustrations that come in this field has only strengthened my desire to continue my education so that I will be able to increase what I have to offer to my profession and my community.

 My grades do not reflect the fact that I am a devoted student, as a result of not being able to decide until later in my college career what I really wanted to do with my life. Nevertheless, I am a hard worker and I do have work experience that is directly associated with my career goals. I have a good idea of what to expect in graduate school in psychology and I am certain that this will enable me help make society a better place by developing new ways to cope with depression and anxiety. I especially look forward to intensive research in these areas and I am especially keen about strategies for alternatives to lifelong medication.

 Most of all, it has been working at XXXX Mental Health Center that has opened my eyes to the challenges and opportunities for psychology professionals. Serving as a therapeutic Mentor has warmed my heart to the bounteous joys of giving, finding more in oneself as a result of giving more to others, particularly children. I especially enjoy working closely with other collaborators on each of my cases to assure that we provide the best treatment possible to the client. I take great pride in developing a treatment plans and goals for each client based on their needs and strengths.

Working with clients in the home, at school, or out in the community, I always make it a point to stick with the treatment plan to the extent to which it is possible to do so. Towards this end, I have long worked to perfect my communication skills, particularly with respect to conflict resolution, emotional expression, and/or behavior management. I work with parents to develop better ways for them to handle difficult situations with their child and set a positive example in the home and in the community.

I thank you for considering my application to your program.

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MA Counseling, Children & Violence, Middle East

When we moved from San Francisco to Dubai last year with our children, it was a permanent career move for my husband; nevertheless, I was soon horrified, angry, and heartbroken to witness how widespread was the use of corporal punishment by parents to discipline children in this culture. A rigid and cold violence against children is not at all uncommon in Dubai and it is to this issue which I have gravitated as my primary life interest on a professional level. I want to help parents by educating them concerning the effects of violence on their children. This is why I have chosen a career in family therapy. I want to empower families to strengthen their relationships and to build solid futures together that provide stable and loving homes for their children.

My original motivation for pursuing a career in family therapy is very much connected to my own complex family history. My childhood was enormously difficult in Iran, especially since we lived through the Islamic Revolution. Shortly afterwards, my parents got divorced and the family was effectively dissolved. At 16, I immigrated alone to the United States. Now, a quarter of a century later, I am still on a quest to rebuild dreams that in a sense I was not able to have. I want to make a profession of that dream and care for other families that suffer and are at risk.

 Now at 41, I have fulfilled my dream of having a family of my own. I have a wonderful and vibrant community here in Dubai and I want very much to give something back to my society. Most importantly, Dubai has a shortage of family therapists, and I am extremely excited about the prospect of helping to respond to this need. There are virtually no social services to protect children and educate their parents about parental responsibilities; and this in a country that condones corporal punishment in both public and private spheres. As a family therapist in Dubai, I want to be part of a profound cultural transformation, something of an Arab Spring between men and women, for the benefit of children.

I am an Iranian woman, yet born at the heart of the youth revolution in America in 1970, in Berkeley California. Perhaps a little of this revolution stuck with me, and is coming to fruition at this time, now that I am reaching full professional maturity. I want to struggle for progressive social change and openness where I live now, in Dubai; and by extension having a share in broader layers of social change throughout the Middle East. By living and working here in the UAE, I might also be able to exert some influence over Iran as well, my country of origin. This is because Iranian society is both isolated and insulated from the outside world. And in this situation, the UAE serves as a conduit of everything for Iran, from goods to information. It is a go-between, between Iran and the rest of the world. And from this vantage point, I want to work for Iranian liberation, especially that of Iranian women, in solidarity with her sisters in the UAE. We are already working together to strengthen our networks online, groups of women’s voices that are growing more powerful in unison.

My long term goal is to use my degree to become an advocate for children and educate families about the cumulative, detrimental effects of corporal punishment. I want to inspire and help them to use more effective techniques to communicate with their children and nurture healthier family dynamics. As an undergraduate student of business, I was not at all clear about my ambitions and was not at all engaged with my studies. My very poor grades were the result of more of a lack of interest than of ability and I believe that my grades from 20 years ago say very little about my ability to excel in your program. I see a dire need for helping the children of this country and I am extremely highly motivated and confident.  I hope to convince you that by admitting me to your program you will be helping to ameliorate the effects of cruelly oppressive social structures that foster violence against children.

After completing my education, I worked for many years in advertising, and then in sales and marketing for a pharmaceutical company. By 2000, I was married with children and settled in San Francisco for a lengthy stint as a stay-at-home mother. Of course, babies grow up; and by 2007 I was feeling the urge to again mobilize myself professionally. My own children had sparked a vast curiosity and concern with child rearing and well being, and I wanted to study their development and psychology. So I enrolled in a Child and Adolescent Psychology class in a community college. By 2010, my husband’s career brought us to Dubai, in the UAE, which we have made more or less our permanent home. So, I am an oddity, an Iranian woman from San Francisco living at the heart of Arab elegance, and, in fact, social change. The UAE does, for the Arab world, show some tendency towards greater moderation and toleration of diversity.

Since our arrival in the UAE, I have been keenly sensitive to very different standards and expectations concerning child rearing, especially with respect to the issue of corporal punishment. I have been moved very much, both emotionally and intellectually, by recent research that suggests that the corporal punishment of children often has devastating and lasting consequences that include lower levels of intelligence as well as emotional disorders such as ADHD. I want very much to work strenuously with all progressive international, non-governmental organizations in the UAE and throughout the Middle East, building networks of activists concerned with child safety, well being, and laws designed to protect them from physical and psychological brutality.

Not long after moving to Dubai, early last year, I was disappointed to discover that there are no universities here that offer a professional degree in counseling psychology; the closest thing is a General Psychology Degree at XXXX University, a British university with a campus in Dubai. At first, I had decided against earning my Master’s online, since I was concerned that my degree might not command the respect of a degree from a brick and mortar university, and I made the decision to enroll in the general psychology degree program here at XXXX U, beginning last September, 2011. I now realize, however, that their curriculum has little to nothing to do with what I most looked forward to studying, theories and methods of therapy. I simply cannot get that excited about experiments with rats and I want to learn how to be an excellent therapist. Now, I am trying to correct my mistake and I ask please for a special exception to enroll in your program despite the late date of my application. 

I am pleased to report that I have also enrolled in a short program which I think will be compatible with beginning my program at UXX Online. I have registered to study towards a Certificate with the Institute of Transpersonal Development in Spain, which begins in May. I have a solid track record so far of solid engagement with my community and your program will lay the foundation for me to make creative contributions in the art of family therapy in my new home, Dubai. My long term goal after completing your program at UXXX will be to practice in Dubai as a Family Therapist. Since spanking and beatings are an acceptable and common form of discipline in this country, my primary goal will be to educate families about the long term detrimental effects of corporal punishment on behavior and mental development. My ideal job would be to have a practice where I could help children with their issues and educate parents in communication strategies. I envision my practice as a center of progressive social change. I love children and I wish to dedicate my professional life to helping to protect and preserve their well being.

I also love families, the dynamic of families. As an intellectual and a professional researcher, I want to focus my energies on the area of the complex ways in which childhood experiences tend to determine, to some extent, what kind of success we have in the world as adults, our struggles, challenges, etc. 

I thank you for considering my application at this late date.

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Counseling Masters, Mental Health, Hispanic Mom

A Hispanic woman who is very cosmopolitan in her outlook, my greatest strengths include my open mind, receptiveness, and especially profound respect for multi-cultural experiences and diversity. I was born and raised in Mexico until I turned 18 and moved to the USA.  My experiences since that time have come together to leave me very engaged with the subject of mental health and the value of counseling. As with many Latinas, we have suffered in special ways as a result of the stridently machista character of our sub-cultures, thus we have special needs to be met by the mental health community. And I hope to contribute to greater awareness of Latina issues as a graduate student in your program.

 I began studying as soon as I arrived in the US. Eager to improve me English, I studied ESL for adults for about 3 months, when Mrs. Florence, my favorite teacher, strongly suggested that I should transfer to a junior college in town. My husband at the time, however, did not think that I needed further education. Although my dreams were temporarily cut short at that point in time, they only grew inside me. I had two beautiful children which kept me quite for a while. By the time they were in school, however, I was yearning more than ever before to find and then loose myself in my studies.

  I made my way into community college only to be forced to drop out mid semester because we moved and my going to school was causing too much friction in my marriage. I was forced to compromise with a trade school and I became a hairstylist. In this position, I was able to extensively interview dozens of women from a variety of cultural backgrounds who were to greater or lesser degrees clearly trapped in what I like to refer to as “broken traditions” unable to be all that they could be because there was someone—or some unwritten rule—dictating what they could or could not do.

 I became the unofficial counselor and adviser not only for many of my customers, but for fellow hairstylists mostly forced into the trade as I was, by a lack of better options. The fact that so many other women out there felt like I did, reassured me that I was not alone, and I was certainly not the exception; I was right! The clarity that came to me concerning how we had been discriminated against by our societies and our families finally gave me that fire in the belly that I needed to make a success of myself the next time that I tried to get an education, and I focused my sights on a degree in business administration. 

 The stakes were high, a divorced woman with children to care for; a business to run, school and home responsibilities, my grades suffered. And by the time that I finished my business degree, I had realized that my real calling in life was psychology.

 The children are now gone and have had sufficient time to develop a profound passion for social justice issues insofar as they related to Latinas. I see social justice issues as an importance facet of graduate education and look forward to learning so many things concerning culture and economic issues.  I want very much to devote the rest of my life to the defense of the human rights of Latina women and children, both here and in Latin America. I have begun networking in this regard and look forward to making enormous investments of my time in this area as a graduate student and beyond. I have made my living in the business world and I am a pragmatist who only wants to contribute to a softening of the face of industry so as to make the workplace more dignified and a safe place for women, with an emphasis on creative development. Having the privilege of earning my Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology will undoubtedly also be of service to me as a business woman, learning how to make my own business endeavors more enjoyable for everyone concerned.

 I want to study for an advanced degree in Counseling Psychology because I am convinced that your program is in the optimal area for preparing me for a lifetime of fulfilling service, especially for women and minorities. I see special business initiatives that are targeted to inner city women and especially mothers as especially hopeful for shield the next generation as much as possible from the abysmal social problems and injustices in this one. I am very enthused about new forms of community that are emerging that are dedicated to counseling, especially in the work environment. Being accepted to your program will prepare me for giving something back to my community and prepare me for a lifetime of service to the community of mental health professionals. I am convinced that the XXXX University’s Master of Counseling Program is best tailored to my interests and long term aspirations in Counseling Psychology.

XXU’s MC Program will provide me with the optimal tools for helping suppressed woman overcome barriers and liberate themselves from old beliefs and perceived limitations that prevent them from defining their true personalities, making the right decisions and choices for themselves and their children. I want to contribute to the way that greater awareness of the big picture helps conflicted women to overcome obstacles and empowers them to greater levels of education. I am most interested in the kind of women’s therapy that debunks misconceived idealisms that continue to do damage to woman, one generation after another, living lives that were not consciously chosen by them but inadvertently instilled trough culture entrapment and patriarchal traditions.

 I am a firm believer in lifelong education and I want to constantly grow professionally, emotionally, and spiritually in celebration of our multicultural work environment. I want to help people learn to choose how to live their lives. This is why I want to become a professional counseling psychologist, working at hospitals as well as women’s centers, or in the private sector.

My research interests intersect at the overlap of minority concerns and gender issues in the workplace. I hope to develop training programs that empower workers and supervisors to develop heightened understandings of and appreciation and respect for each other.  At the same time that I assist woman with long term histories of low self steam and  mistreatment—I also want to help companies develop more humane faces, with more satisfied and more loyal employees. I want to assist in the creation of more healthy work environments that are conducive to higher productivity and higher employee self stem. I am convinced that the XXXX MC Program is the key to the realization of my professional aspirations

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Masters Counseling Psychology, Korean Woman

As a girl growing up in Korea, I had little choice but to embrace the ideals of my family and accept the destiny that they had set for me: to become a doctor. As I have had a chance to mature, however, especially here in America, as a woman, I have chosen to excel in psychology and counseling is the field that I have chosen to pursue, because I am now following my heart.

I feel strongly that my diverse undergraduate studies have provided me with an excellent foundation for graduate study in counseling psychology. I now live in XXXX, Canada, and I am fascinated by the way that my own identity has been transformed as a result of leaving the little town where I grew up in South Korea and immigrating here, becoming part of a vast, multicultural society. My own immigrant experience has caused me to identify with other people of color, and I wish to devote my professional life to studying the psychology of the immigrant experience. I want to become a recognized expert with respect to the mental health of those Canadians who were born somewhere else; and, thus, face critically important and often difficult adjustments to their new society.

 By the time that I had started college, I had begun to realize that the dream of being a doctor was not my own, but, rather a dream that was embedded in my family. Ever since I can remember I was always told that I needed to become a doctor in order to be successful in life, and after several years of being away from my family, the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint them. Nevertheless, by my 3rd year at the University of XXXX, I had found my area of greatest interest and intrigue: psychology. Thus, I switched my major from Health Sciences to Psychology. I want to always advise others to follow their heart and chase their dream.

I am especially interested in doing research on a graduate level into the ways that culture and social context affect body image and eating disorders. In fact, I am certain that I want to make the complete range of and bodily dysmorphic disorders part of my area of specialization. I also yearn for an in depth exploration of the impact of culture on stress; most of all, I want to master the literature concerning the role of counseling psychology in helping immigrants to develop and implement successful coping strategies for the stress associated with cultural assimilation, especially with respect to one’s career, education, and health. The third and complimentary area which I want to study in depth is the literature concerning counseling and minority groups in general, learning how to maximize that delicate balance of mental wellness and physical wellness for people of color. Of course, as a Korean woman, I will also be especially pleased to incorporate Eastern philosophies into my research, perhaps striving for creative syntheses between Western and Eastern paradigms in theoretical analyses dealing with the challenges faced by the counseling profession in various cultural milieu.

My undergraduate courses in psychology, particularly doing research, changed my understanding of education, and, subsequently, the course of my life. My foremost professional role model is Dr. XXXX. I so thoroughly enjoyed her class in advanced psychology that ever since then I have searched for ways to become involved in research, as well as working as a research assistant for Dr. XXXX at the Culture and the Workplace Lab. By conducting both lab and field studies, I have gained extensive knowledge in research methods, design, data analysis and interpretation. These experiences helped immensely to prepare me for my writing my honours thesis, a project on which I am currently engaged.

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Counseling Psychology Masters, China, Canada

I am currently a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in psychology. Since I am a dedicated and hard working student, volunteer, and professional I believe that I possess the perceptual, interpersonal and problem-solving skills that are fundamental to work in applied psychology and in successful counseling, together with a capacity for empathy with others which has been deepened by volunteer work with homeless people. It is my intention, through post-graduate study, to develop and extend the theoretical knowledge that I have already acquired with intention eventually to help others in its practical application.

I was born and raised in China, and moved to Canada about five years ago. My ethnic background and subsequent life experiences in Toronto have broadened my mind.  I have developed a respect and appreciation of people of many cultures and the views and traditions arising from these different cultural backgrounds. I feel sure that New York City’s great cultural diversity would provide experience that could assist me in the cultural aspects of the study of psychology which I can usefully apply in my intended career in psychological counseling.

My enthusiasm for the study of psychology was fired at the very first lecture I attended on the subject four years ago and has increased over that time. Studying psychology and applying the lessons learnt has been of great assistance in the maturing of my own personality and in the adoption of disciplined and rational thinking and I am therefore very aware of its potential, when properly applied, to assist others.

I consider that my diverse undergraduate studies and experiences have provided me with a solid theoretical foundation to enable me to profitably pursue further study in this subject. As stated, I am especially enthusiastic about the areas of clinical and counseling psychology. I am aware that counseling psychology is one of the fastest growing areas in applied psychology and can be expected to become increasingly important. I am eager to contribute to its development. My strong desire to pursue a future career as a professional counselor carries with it the long-term goal of helping people by enhancing their emotional well-being. I consider the Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness graduate program at New York University is the educational opportunity that best fits my interests and goals.

Through my studies to date, I have become familiar with the complexity of the factors contributing to human motivation and resulting behavior. I have also developed some understanding of the many different psychological approaches such as: human cognitions, perceptions, social and cultural contexts, developmental life paths and psychodynamics of the unconscious. I am aware of the need to integrate these approaches to achieve as complete a picture as possible of an individual’s behavior and their motivation. It is also clear to me that the knowledge and skills arising from the study of this subject is almost universally applicable since the great majority of people will, at some stage of their lives, suffer at least mild symptoms of emotional or psychological ill-health.

Thank you for considering my application.

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Counseling Masters, LGBT, Community Mental Health

As a psychology professional, I wish to specialize in both the short and long terms in the area of community mental health. I look forward to a long and highly productive career  helping a wide range of individuals in my community to realize their fullest potential, finding happiness in life through the development of healthy relationships with both family and society.

I am especially interested in the sub-fields of spirituality, men’s mental health and LGBT mental health. I want to focus on spirituality, in particular, because I am convinced that, at least for most people, a deep-seated sense of meaning and purpose in life, together with a sense of belonging, is of foundational importance to psychological well being, achieving a sense of acceptance, integration and wholeness. With respect to men’s mental health, I am keenly interested in the directions being advanced by national men's health organizations in the United States, Australia, and Europe that call for a needs-driven rather than a gender-based approach to health care. With respect to LGBT mental health, my primary concern is with the way that mental health system continue to discriminate against LGBT individuals and the way in which they often continue to  be labeled as ‘mentally ill’ on the basis of their sexual orientation. In particular, I look forward to doing further research into the way in which being discriminated against can contribute to mental distress. I am applying for training in Counseling Psychology because I am concerned with the individual’s overall health. I believe that I have the intellectual and emotional maturity required to become an excellent counselor, helping people who suffer from mental health issues to become happier and better integrated individuals, especially by learning how to deal with dysfunctional relationships. 

 Attending your program will challenge my intellectual and emotional growth and greatly sharpen my professional skills in helping people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives through the development of positive and sustainable relationships. I am applying in response to what I see as a great need in our society for mental health practitioners. Your  program will also prepare me for further study towards a doctoral degree. I feel strongly that I have many strengths to offer as a candidate to your program. I am an energetic and enthusiastic individual who has always had an insatiable curiosity about the ever-changing kaleidoscope of human behavior.  I enjoyed helping people and I have professional experience in a variety of counseling-related fields, teaching, educational counseling, and career counseling.  I have a profound insight into understanding the minority points and the importance of a sense of belonging since I was a foster-child and later came to realize that I was gay. This is the right time for me to go to graduate school because I now have a lot to offer due to my extensive professional experience.

 I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a wide and extensive network of support which would be available throughout the course of my studies. I have a long term spouse who is fully supportive of my professional aspirations. In fact, this relationship has had a lot to do with my decision, especially with respect to my focus on counseling for members of the LGBT community. Over the course of many years living in XXXX, I have also developed many nurturing friends who also work in the helping professions psychologists, mental health counselors as well as members of my local church community. And they all support my decision to apply to your program.

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Romanian Woman, Immigrant, Domestic Violence

I would very much like to study towards the Master’ Degree in your program because I have my heart set on becoming a psychologist and I have profound respect and admiration for XXXX University. I also have enormous passion for the field of psychology and I am very determined to excel in your program. I am highly dedicated to my career goals, a strong woman, empathetic, compassionate, and a very good listener. I ask for admission to your program because I feel that the greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to provide guidance to others who are in need of support, a hearing ear, and sound advice at dealing with the myriad problems that arise in our increasingly complex world, especially problems related to sexuality as well as immigrant identity. I am especially interested in doing research in the areas of hypnosis, sexual behavior, and family psychology and I especially look forward to helping immigrant women like myself to overcome the many psychological challenges that they face.

 I am a cosmopolitan young woman from Romania who greatly appreciates diversity. I have spent several months each in Dubai, Hong Kong, and Seoul and this has provided me with an opportunity to study multicultural societies and to become wiser concerning the challenges faced by immigrants in a broad variety of settings. I come from one of the most underdeveloped countries of what was once the USSR and is now perhaps the least developed European country. I have overcome enormous personal obstacles in arriving where I have so far, this has given me great psychological and emotional strength, which I now wish to use to help others.

 Romania, my country, my cradle, the land where I made my first steps and I first said “mother.” In that world where I was born, “we were all equals”, just that “some of us were more equal than others.” As a result of government repression that strikes to the heart of all Romanians, I have learned to deal with conflict. Having long been fond of Sun Tzu’s  “The Art of War,” I dream of someday using my accumulated wisdom to write something that I would like to entitle: “The Art of Survival.” It is here that I would like to make my mark on society, helping other immigrant women to survive in a hostile world.

 I have always been a very strong, determined woman, no matter what walls life would raise in front of me; I managed to overcome each and every one of them. Each time life would push me over and make me fall down, there was a strange inner force within me that gave me the power to get up every single time, shake off the dust and start all over again. By the age of 20, I was facing the decision of choosing a career and that is when it hit me. Looking back at my life up until that point, I realized that I was born to be a psychologist. The many women that were depressed, beaten, in life situations that seemed without escape, struggling to find the will, the strength to move on, to pull themselves up, women that listened to me (even though I was still a child) and in doing so they managed to find the force to go on, to fight for their lives: this helped me to realize that I have a calling in life.

 I was always a pillar for my own family, two lonely women, my grandmother a widow and my mother divorced: I suffered greatly because of my so called “father,” seeing him beat my mother so bad the doctor asked her if she had been in a traffic accident. I entered two years of therapy myself at only 5 years old, to be able to sleep and eat. Thus, ever since I was a child, I have wanted to be able to do something with my life, something that would help women who have been victimized by men and patriarchal societies, women like  my mother and grandmother. When I was in high school I volunteered to work in an orphanage. I was still almost a child and I didn’t have the strength to cope with all that was going on there. Each Saturday we would take a few kids home with us to give them a little feeling of being loved, of home. We would cook them dinner and spoil them the best way we could. One Saturday, one of the kids told me that he would be a perfect child, he would never upset me if I would adopt him, that he would do anything ... That’s when I understood how powerless I was, that I needed to do something if I were to be able to help others.

 Under Romania’s communist regime we were oppressed, starved, not allowed to think for ourselves. When the revolution took place everything we knew was turned upside down and we had little knowledge of all the things that were coming our way. We had no idea what to do with our new found freedom and power. We were tricked into voting for people who had no intention of helping the masses .. they were only after their personal goals. Within a few years the country deteriorated beyond recognition, nothing good was done for the people and we were faced with little alternative but to abandon our homes in order to survive. I escaped and came to the West. But ever since I arrived, I have been working through the baggage of a brutal past. I have done well and have found peace. I now ask for your help so that I might be able to help other women to do so as well.

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All of the Statement samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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