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Blog posts : "PHD Clinical"

PHD Clinical Psychology, Korean, Anxiety Disorder


I decided to apply for the clinical PhD program at XXXX because of the thoroughgoing nature of your curriculum and your dedication to research, helping students to decide on the best avenue of research for their interests and intellectual strengths. I hope to become a professional researcher as well as counselor, and I look forward to being prepared at the XXXX because it appears to be the optimal platform for me to begin a career in psychology here on the West Coast, in California, a lovely place which I am increasingly thinking of as home. Your program is very strong in the area of research into anxiety disorder and I am especially looking forward to studying under Dr. XXXX who is distinguished in this area. Nevertheless, while I do hope to focus on anxiety and depression, I want to study these maladies from every angle, both historically and theoretically. I am confident that your Ph.D. Program will give me an opportunity to explore the bigger picture in a cutting-edge program that will help me to think creatively and prepare me to realize my maximum potential.

Graduate Study at the XXXX will provide me with vast opportunity to explore not only the professional exercise and practice of psychology in the United States, but I am also very much attracted to the diversity of your student body and I look forward to learning from my fellow students from all over the world, exploring the psychological dynamics of international, multicultural and multiethnic issues. In short, I see the XXXX as my best option for training to be of service to multiethnic Asian communities here in California.

I decided to come to America to prepare myself for a career in psychology because I feel that your emphasis on research and publication is much stronger here than it is at home in Korea. I also wanted to continue to advance professional within a multicultural society, like California, since multicultural issues are where I hope to make my mark in the future as a PHD graduate from your especially distinguished program.

Naturally, I think my greatest strength and my principal focus will be on the mental health issues of Koreans, both at home and those who have immigrated at some point to the USA, especially the ‘Korea Towns’ of California. In particular, I want to pay a lot of attention in the future to the way in which Korean people tend to simply ignore, or try to ignore, the reality of mental health issues and needs, because of a stigma that surrounds mental illness in Korean culture.

I also hope to distinguish myself in the exploration of the myriad psychological ramifications of the way in which Korea achieved such rapid economic growth, the psychological aspects of Korean industrialization, transforming South Korea from a highly cooperative to a highly competitive society, with special attention to the fact that we have the highest suicide rate among 30 OECD countries, with our number of suicide deaths doubling over the course of the last decade. This is why I hope to focus my studies towards the PHD at the XXXX in the area of causes and treatments of anxiety and stress related disorders.

 Most specifically, I look forward to researching the way in which anxiety and stress are related to other disorders, particularly depression, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and eating disorder in the context of multicultural communities. I am attracted to the study of these areas, in particular, because of the prevalence of these conditions among Asians. Stress disorders are especially common in Korea which is a very hectic and competitive society with respect to business as well as education. Also, although some progress has been made, many people still are reluctant to see a psychiatrist or psychologist because of the traditional stigma attached to mental illness in our very conservative society. Finally, I learned a great deal about diversity issues from my experience as a multicultural counselor. I want to continue to learn everything that I can about ways in which we might foster more effective communication among members of multicultural communities.

My most specific interests at the XXXX include the biofeedback studies and training programs offered by Dr. XXXX. I keenly look forward to an in-depth engagement with Dr. XXXX's work with a focus on its relevance for anxiety disorders.  Studying under Dr. XXXX, in particular, would be an excellent way for me to enhance my research abilities and learn to be an especially creative thinker in the area of anxiety disorders. My long term goal is make important contributions to the advancement of our study of clinical psychology in the context of international culture and community. The rapid growth of the Asian population in the USA, especially California, combined with the tendency among Asian peoples to neglect or ignore their mental health needs makes me confident that I will be able to make important contributions to our mental health services here in California. I look forward to using my language skills professionally here in America, working and helping people to heal in Korean and Japanese as well as English.

I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished program.

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PHD Clinical, Domestic Violence, Islamic Patriarchy

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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PHD Clinical, Child, Pediatric Neuropsychology

The greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to improve the quality of life of children who have suffered brain damage. To this end I want to devote my professional life to research in the area of pediatric neuropsychology.  I knew immediately that neurophysiology was the right career path for me when I saw how it could be combined with pediatrics. And I have been fortunate to work with one of the most distinguished professors and authorities in the field, Dr. XXXX, from whom I have learned a great deal. As a pediatric neuropsychologist, I hope to make scientific advances in the field that will help to increase the quality of life of brain damaged children and their families, helping them to better understand and cope with neuropsychological disorders.  

 I find research to be tremendously exciting. As I stood in the operating room that day not long ago, for example, observing a Wada test, I felt the overwhelming urge to pinch myself to make sure that this was really happening. I observed a variety of important neuropsychological tests at the University of XXXX and this has set me on a professional course for the rest of my life, solidifying my desire to pursue a lifelong career in pediatric neuropsychology. Dr. XXXX helped me to gain broad exposure to the practice of neuropsychology in the hospital setting. And I especially enjoyed working on a research project with graduate student XXXX on the test-retest reliability and validity of various neuropsychological tests.

 This past summer, I was 1 of 25 students chosen from around the country to attend the XXXX Summer Neuroscience Institute at the University of XXXX. This opportunity enabled me to attend dozens of lectures by experts in related areas and to learn my way around the  many labs associated with neuroscience, especially the brain lab. I have also been heavily involved with the National Symposium on Child Abuse where I was honored for a paper that I wrote and was able to participate in various roundtable discussions.

 I have worked under the supervision of Dr. XXXX, at psychology professor at XXXX University who studies the Impact of Childhood Factors on Various Aspects of Neurological development. She serves me as a role model as I also want very much to specialize in the area of affects of parenting styles, abuse, etc.  Last year, in 2009, I had the opportunity to learn a great deal from XXXX, a physiotherapist with whom I performed an observership of multiple sessions lasting between 60 and 90 minutes and was exposed to the practice of pediatrics in the community setting assessment and discussion regarding normal development, neuro-developmental handling techniques, treatment planning, and goal setting. The University of XXXX is my first choice for graduate school since I hope to study under Dr. XXXX because I am also very much interested in pediatrics, learning, and leukemia are closely related to my own. I believe that my GPA suggest that I am capable of excelling in your program, despite my low GRE scores, since I am on track to graduate with honors in May with a B.S. in Counseling Psychology. My profound love for children is my perennial and most critical source of inspiration.

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PHD, Clinical, Community Counseling, Hispanic

It is said that education and learning opens new doors to progress; my life to date bears witness to this truth. Born and raised in Ecuador, my journey towards the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist in private practice in the United States has been anchored by life experiences and the steps I took in my academic career toward that goal. Currently enrolled in a Masters program in Community Counseling at XXXX University, having completed my core courses and awaiting internship, my decision to enroll in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology is motivated by a desire to build on my existing academic framework of psychological concepts to explore the link between neuropsychology, trauma and behavior. Ultimately, my aim is to establish a successful clinical psychology practice that specializes in the neuropsychological assessment and management of children and adolescents exposed to trauma.  

 During the Masters program, working in the classroom with colleagues who share the same passion I have and having access to academic staff that inspired us to strive for academic excellence has been a growth experience for me at both a personal and professional level. Despite the core knowledge base I have acquired in psychology applicable to community psychology and my years of practical experience in the field as a counselor, it is the complex facets of clinical psychology that I desire to develop competencies in, especially the latest advances in research in neurobiology that offer insight into the link between organic changes in the neurological make-up of the brain following traumatic insult and the alteration in behavior and personality that occurs, especially in the developmental years.

 Understanding the psychology of human behavior has been critical to my growth as an individual and as a counselor. The awareness of the internal and external factors that determine coping mechanisms and responses to life stressors have been a valuable learning curve for me. I have had the opportunity to view firsthand the impact of this knowledge acquired in my work as a counselor at Underdue Social Services in Atlanta, Georgia, a position I have held since November 2009. The skills I have been equipped with have allowed me to successfully integrate the theoretical knowledge with practical application in the cases of the families I have been entrusted with. I believe that these skills will be optimized during my internship.

 When I first embarked on this career path, I had come from Ecuador where the shifting socioeconomic and political landscape had significantly interfered with my ability to plan a future that held a positive outlook for me and my family. Psychological problems affecting children and adolescents generally have consequences for families and ultimately communities. My own experience as a parent in raising two beautiful, strong children has left me with an empathy for families that are overwhelmed by crises that affect their children. Leaving the known of my country of birth for the unknown of a foreign country was a leap of faith in my ability. I managed to overcome any odds to achieve the dream I had of being a professional counselor who would enable and empower people to cope with life’s challenges, especially children and families affected by complex trauma.

 Being Hispanic by birth, I had to prove this journey myself. Persevering past the language limitations, cultural differences and environmental challenges I faced when I first came to the United States, I managed to embrace my new country’s worldview. The yearning I had to pursue a career in clinical psychology did not abate even though I initially had to work in different sectors of the economy before working as a counselor. Being well travelled and bilingual allows me a unique opportunity to relate to people as a counselor without a language barrier and with a shared worldview, especially those families with children and adolescents who have had difficulty adjusting to the different cultural and linguistic environment in their new country.

 As a counselor, I have seen the impact of neglect and abuse on the development of children and the deep scars left in adolescents at a critical stage in their personality development by a traumatic event. As levels of stress caused by economic challenges and natural disasters escalate, there exists a growing need for clinical psychologists who are experts in their field to assess and manage trauma-related neuropsychological problems. The earlier these problems can be identified in children and adolescents, the better the life-time prognosis for them especially when they enter adulthood. Research in neurobiological changes following trauma have advanced to the point where it is now possible to visualize changes in the brain at a microscopic level that impact on human behavior.

 As a community counselor, I have had opportunity to explore the environmental influences that create chronic stressors in families and identify families with children and adolescents at risk. Rehabilitative efforts through counseling programs have been effective to a certain degree in resolving the consequences of trauma; the exciting prospect that I am desirous of exploring is the effectiveness of the clinical psychological approach to managing children and adolescents in these situations. Developing skills that will objectively document through neuropsychological assessment microscopic changes in areas in the brain affected by trauma that gross morphological imaging assessments fail to capture, would be an exciting research project to explore in child and adolescent psychology.

 The effectiveness of therapeutic options based on evidence–based research will enhance the place of clinical psychology in the management of children and adolescents impacted by complex trauma. The pervasive nature of the deficits sustained during complex trauma is well documented in the literature. Children and adolescents are referred at present for various behavioral and psychological interventions that are based on psychological techniques developed mainly in the adult population. Given the potential consequences for the developmental process in children and adolescents, it is imperative that research focuses on this subpopulation to collate data that is both reliable and valid. At this point in my career, I am motivated to pursue this interesting and innovative area as a research focus point.

 At a personal life stage now where I am comfortable with my home and family, I am committed to pursuing the Doctoral Program; I believe that my personal attributes that include critical thinking, excellent interpersonal, organizational and communication skills and a research focus in the neuropsychology of children and adolescents make me an excellent candidate for the course. The unique life experiences I have had from my background of cultural diversity are an added strength. I acknowledge that learning is a process and insight does not always result in change unless there is commitment to the duration of the journey.

 I believe that the Masters program was one leg on this journey towards self-awareness; it has helped me grow in understanding about myself and others; the Doctoral program will offer deeper insight, heighten my clinical acumen, expand my psychotherapeutic skill and provide an opportunity for me to explore adolescent and developmental psychology. This time would be invaluable: it would allow the academic staff to continue to offer their supervisory perspective which would be critical to both the discipline and psychotherapeutic growth I would need to ethically and successfully function in clinical practice in the community. Thank you for affording me this opportunity.

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PHD Clinical, Forensics Psychology, PTSD

XXXX’s Ph.D. Psychology program is more than a logical progression for my academic and professional career, it is a truly natural choice, stemming from a lifelong desire to put action behind my passion for the inner workings of the human mind.  Moreover, I feel I have exhausted every path of challenge and opportunity at my current academic level.  While I have given all that I am to my work, my energy, creativity, I have been left wanting to give more and on a greater scale.

 Through my educational and professional experiences in law enforcement and as a mental health pool therapist in a mental health hospital, I have seen a distinct and growing need for qualified and quality Clinical Psychologists in the field and am eager to fill this need.  By increasing my depth of understanding in Criminal Psychology, I envision building my exposure in the field, helping law enforcement officials their families or victims of crime, PTSD sufferers, on their journey to sustainable, productive and meaningful lives.  At this time, I have not ruled out the possibility of research into the area of Forensic Psychology, building on my academic introduction and understanding of Criminology.

 Your Ph.D. Psychology program has the specific strength of allowing students to concentrate their studies in Forensic Psychology, and has stood out to me from the background noise of other universities.  No other school could offer me the same level of curricular autonomy or exposure to experts in their field, nor the focus and chance for intensive exposure outside of the classroom.  I feel that my academic and professional goals of working with Law Enforcement, understanding the criminal mind, social deviance, trauma and work as a professional witness will be served well for these reasons.  Furthermore, while I am no stranger to research work, I embrace the fact that there is ample room for improvement in my own set of skills.  I am confident that my research skills and analytic abilities would be heightened by the XXXX experience.

 XXXX’s accomplished student body and benchmark-setting faculty will aid in my determining which setting(s) my sensibilities, strengths and clinical acumen will serve my future clients or patients best.  Irrespective of the setting in which I focus my career, I am particularly sensitive to the needs of the socio-economically challenged, indigent and or those struggling with the assorted difficulties of acculturation.  Given the increasing influx of culturally diverse individuals into America’s healthcare system, the need to serve the unique needs of at-risk populations is only going to grow.  As with any preventative medical process, caring for the mental health of our communities is incredible important to help minimize complications that can come from undiagnosed, or under-treated conditions.

Growing up poor and in a community equally socio-economically depressed taught me at an early age the value of doing for yourself, that only through our own efforts can we ever hope to rise above, not just financially, but psychologically and emotionally.  To this end, ever since high school, I have excelled in every academic venture I have undertaken, never giving in to naysayers, consistently focused on bringing my dreams to reality.  The results speak for themselves, graduating Summa Cum Laude, Dean’s List, Psi Chi Honor Society membership, Mortar Board Vice President, and stellar GPAs. 

 Even in my extra curricular activities, I have given every ounce of who I am, earning at one point the coveted MVP soccer position for my College.  The seriousness with which I have approached my academics is reflected outside the classroom as well, and I hold professional memberships with the SEPA and ACA.  In all honesty, I cannot envision my future without including continuous education.

 From the time I was in high school, I have been intrigued by the complexities of human behavior, and excelled in the sciences.  My passion for Clinical Psychology though was not truly sparked until my own therapy experience.  Later, in college, I gained my first exposure in the field, volunteering for an after-school program that served underprivileged youth.  The experience was phenomenal, eye-opening, incredibly rewarding and solidified my certainty that my future must be in direct-client contact, aiding them through such issues as acculturation, helping prevent the underserved from falling through societal cracks.  Their situations are truly fragile, easily leading to substance abuse, deeper levels of indigence, homelessness, abusive relationships, and crime.  Their stories of struggling to fit in, to gain some sense of belonging and to bring their own personal dreams to life will stay with me forever. 

 Currently, in my position as a pool mental health therapist at a mental health hospital, I have been convinced that where we cannot help those from falling into self-destructive spirals, we, as Clinical Psychologists can do a great deal to bring healthy, sustainable lifestyle choices and strategies for living to those who need it most.  My exposure to diverse individuals and families has increased through this work, and I feel confident in my abilities to serve them well.  The realities of the underserved, the socio-economically challenged, at-risk populations and the marginalized have ignited a fire within me, a passion for helping them at all costs.

 Furthermore, my experiences working within law enforcement have exposed me to the imperative needs of law enforcement officials and their families.  Quality Clinical Psychologists are needed for not just a curative role, but also in a preventative capacity, helping families identify warning signs and develop proper coping skills for such issues as PTSD.  Oftentimes, it is the spouse or children of officers that are on the front lines themselves of problems that they are simply not equipped to deal with.  Upon building my exposure, post-graduation, I want to be instrumental in these situations, bringing the reality of a happier, healthier home life that I know can be attained to fruition, as well as sustained through effective relapse prevention plans, trigger identification and warning sign awareness.  In the most practical terms, my work in law enforcement and fire dispatch have developed my ability to work well under pressure, to think clearly in emergency situations.

My strengths are not just in my practical experiences, but academics as well.  The field of Forensic Psychology is truly transsystemic, and I feel that my own background in the pure sciences of biology, physics, chemistry as well as the social sciences of psychology, sociology, criminology and graduate mental health education are an excellent reflection and preparation for my future in the field.  Having conducted and presented research, I am confident in my abilities, my own skin, and in the validity of my work.

 Clinical Psychologists oftentimes work in conjunction with other mental health professionals, teams, even occupational therapists.  Having worked in sports situations as a sports coordinator, head soccer and trainer for XXXX Soccer Association, as well as my own sporting activities, I have taken and applied lessons learned on the field, a sense of cooperation, goal-minded orientation and camaraderie to professional situations, to great effect.

 No activity, no field has nor ever could bring me the same level of personal or professional satisfaction than when I have aided others in rebuilding their lives, or developing strategies for being.  I look forward to my time serving my community, the poor, the needy, the marginalized, or those that feel they can no longer cope with life’s assorted difficulties get back on the path of living, and contributing to their lives and the lives of others.

 Thank you for your time and consideration.

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