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PHD I/O Psychology, Management, Turkish

An international business woman born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, now 39, I have spent the last several years living in New Jersey with my beautiful family, where I can commute easily to the marketing capital of the world, New York City. I now hold a Master’s Degree from XXU in Marketing - Integrated and Digital – along with more than a decade of professional experience in Marketing and Management. I also hold a certificate in Brand Management. Thus, I feel strongly that I am a natural choice and a very good fit with the PHD Program in Organizational Behavior at XXXX University, with your diversity, global perspective, and focus on the implementation of innovation.

Surfing as well as skiing have been a big part of my life and reflect my lack of fear and passion for intense action. I started surfing very late and I remember my instructor telling me: ”Try a few waves before you find the ideal one, each wave is a unique experience, but in the end there’s no feeling as satisfying and euphoric as catching that perfect wave” That’s the time I began to realize every experience emerges as a significant predictor of the ultimate goal of your life. My experience at XXU gave me a chance to re-establish my life goals once more and do my very best to lay a foundation upon which to achieve them. I feel very strongly now that I could profit a great deal by earning a PHD, especially in Organizational Behavior, and particularly at XXXX, in order to fully round out my education in such a way that I will be able to make my maximum professional contribution to my society. Your PHD Program in Organizational Behavior at XXXX will prepare me for a lifetime of additional learning and research with respect to employee gender, motivation, and especially performance.

Serving as Team Leader for our Global Google Online Challenge Project at XXU was the highlight of my professional life so far and when I think about it I miss academic community and camaraderie – the challenge. I day dream about writing a doctoral dissertation in the area of employee motivation based on self-management, along with differences in this area with respect to diversity and gender. Nothing excites me more than the analysis of employee needs and how they are related to performance, the never-ending search for increasingly effective organizational models in which employee satisfaction is treated as a top first priority.

While working at XXXX’s, the company consolidated and the New York office ended up being the headquarters, so I had a chance to experience all the challenges of organizational restructuring and in two years I was promoted and given responsibility for the Marketing Departments of all branches of XXXX’s in United States with (+50 million customers) database. I gained Analytical techniques to provide insights and enhance data driven strategies by using a variety of software tools.

From 2011 through 2014, I built my own business along with several associates, EventASL LLC, New York, NY. 2) We specialize in private social events featuring full catering capabilities, custom entertainment and all inclusive packages. While developing the company, I spearheaded all planning activities from concept to execution for high-end, limited attendance events for young professionals in NYC. I was also responsible for the analysis, support and maintenance of the company website and social media marketing campaigns. I hired an IT person to help me launch the website and then took classes online so as to be able to maintain, improve, and enhance it on my own, launching media initiative that generated thousands of leads. This experience inspired me to earn my Master’s at XXU in a marketing program focused on digital marketing. This experience, as well as working at XXXX’s, taught me a great deal about the organizational behavior of Americans generally speaking, and New Yorkers in particular.

One recent highlight for me was taking Steve Blank’s Lean Startup Course, helping me to better appreciate the value of empowering employees so that they synchronize with each other and share their skills; thus organizations could expect those employees to market the products or services to the customers in the most effective ways? As the marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, enhancing employee motivation and effort is critical to staying ahead of the competition. Employee motivation needs and employee performance needs could be the disruption that makes a difference in the organizations.

I am especially looking forward to working with Professor XXXX since I especially admire his research in the area of employee motivation and self-management. His recent research dealing with holacracy and transparency as they relate to employee motivation is particularly impressive. I would be more than honored if I could earn a spot in Professor XXXX’s research group. It would also be a special privilege to study under Professor Gino, since I also find her research concerning self-serving biases and motivated information processing to be especially inspiring. In order an organization have the full power of employees through self-management it should emphasize the diversity of that power. I would be honored to work with Professor XXXX, since his recent researches based on diversity and I would like to do further research on how the motivation based on employee centered/powered organizations could be able to boost the diversity a? Where as Professor XXXX stated that managers work around performance systems but ratings don’t boost diversity

I love surfing because surfing is one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what's behind and  it is a unique experience of feeling the true freedom and the connection with the world at the same time. I like thinking challenges as waves; we can not stop them coming but we can learn how to surf!  The waves as challenges can not be rushed or forced, you must slow down and allow for the process and wait for the perfect wave (option) to arise. For me, that wave is now: XXXX’s PHD in Organizational Behavior. I rise to the occasion as a Turk, a woman, and a New Yorker.

I thank you for considering my application.

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MS Counseling, MFT, Military Issues

I am extremely highly motivated to become a licensed mental health counselor specializing in Marriage and Family therapy primarily as a result of having spent 18 years as a member of our Armed Forces and having learned all too well how military life generally adds great strain to a marriage. I have also learned first-hand through trial and error how certain strategies are more helpful than others for saving marriages and families from the frequently painful consequence of divorce. Now 42 years old, I seek career advancement in new directions by earning the MS Degree in Counseling at XXXX University and becoming a certified mental health counselor, so that I might put what I have learned to work helping so save some marriages and helping those that are beyond repair to navigate a divorce process that is as amicable as possible.

I see my professional future as a marriage and family counselor working primarily with military members or veterans and their families. I look forward to many decades to come giving my all to the education and support of my clients in their personal development and family relationships. I will give my all as a highly trained and licensed professional providing treatment to families, individuals, and groups – especially couples - promoting optimal mental health, wellbeing, and family harmony. I look forward to engaging in marriage counseling in particular but also look forward to building a research base in this area and publishing in the future concerning the special strains and pitfalls that accrue to marriage when one or both spouses are in the military. I plan to become an expert in the whole gambit of issues that are central to the complexity of this stress on marriage, stress management, substance abuse, addictions, parenting problems, family problems, suicidal ideation, and self-esteem issues, to cite a few. I also plan to pay particularly close attention to the way in which soldiers and veterans are able to benefit from drug and alcohol abuse therapy in groups as well as on an individual basis.

Nothing excites or attracts me professionally as much as the way that mental health counselors make observations that help them determine a treatment plan that will accomplish their client’s goals, often using personality, aptitude, and psychological tests to determine more precisely the needs of a particular patient.  I also very much look forward to the close collaboration of the mental health counselor with other licensed professionals, especially psychologists, other family and marriage professionals, psychiatric nurses, school counselors, psychiatrists, and social workers. I would feel very much at home working as a mental health counselor in a hospital or another type of medical facility, with psychiatric patients or with mentally ill adults in out-patient day treatment programs.

I see my central long-term goal as providing not only group and individual therapy to soldiers, veterans, and their families but also providing educational lecture presentations – especially in the area of substance use disorders. I am particularly concerned with issues of violence and spousal abuse. In most of these cases, perhaps even the vast majority, substance abuse is a factor. I fully intend to follow the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for making diagnoses, formulating treatment goals, and applying appropriate clinical intervention. I will also be very much devoted to and engaged in the development and maintenance of community resources for veterans with substance use disorders, providing safe, effective, and cost-effective service delivery in a variety of situations.

I look forward to distinguishing myself at XXXX University in fulfillment of all of the requirements to achieve a license and become officially certified as a mental health counselor, learning everything that I can about human growth and development, psychopathology, career and lifestyle development, group dynamics and group psychotherapy, individual appraisal, and professional orientation. I look forward with keen anticipation to the completion of an internship as part of your program learning everything that I can from my supervisor as part of the licensure process as a professional counselor.  Finally, I intend to surpass the 35 hours of ongoing education every two years that is required to maintain a license since I am most devoted to lifelong education and anticipate being enrolled in at least one course at any given time, so that I will constantly improve in my professional capacity.

I first contemplated earning a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in counseling psychology, but after comparing curriculums, I decided that I was a much better fit with the a Masters in Mental Health Program at XXXX University because it dovetails nicely with my central ideals and professional plans – especially insofar as I will receive cutting-edge training in providing my clients with state-of-the-art treatment.

While I do intend to work with families, I am focused primarily on helping adults, including the elderly who suffer from some mental disorder or some cognitive impairment.  I spend a lot of time reading about anxiety and depression since they are so widespread and represent such a critical and complex public health issue.  I will bring to your program at XXXX University 18 years of experience in the health care field. I aspire to learn everything that I can in your program concerning the improvement of social and psychological well-being by learning how to cope with social and academic challenges, especially with our American war veterans.   I also want to work towards the prevention of mental illness, especially when working with families of civilians as well as soldiers or veterans, focusing on education, relationship building, emotional self- care, and social action.

For eighteen years I have served in the armed forces, 15 years of active duty in the US Army and currently an Army reservist.  In the active duty phase of my army career, I worked in health care as a radiology technologist. Working in the medical field and being a soldier was a most enjoyable experience and I learned a great deal, especially about medicine. I fulfilled a need that I had to do what I saw as my duty as an able bodied young man with a patriotic mindset and I am proud of the fact that I provided quality care to other soldiers and their families.

I also volunteered my time for years with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 2008 through 2009 and El Paso, Texas from 2010 through 2011.  After leaving active duty military in 2012, I had the opportunity to work as a Medical Support Assistant at a Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic and also as a Residential Specialist at La Frontera, a health facility that provides housing and support to drug addicted teens. My success in both of these positions provided me with additional confidence and determination to earn my Bachelors Degree in Psychology and reinforced my desire to continue on to earn a graduate degree in mental health counseling.

A white man who celebrates diversity, I am passionate about multicultural experience and seldom miss an opportunity to explore America’s subcultures and enclaves. One of the things that I loved most about the military was the opportunity to travel to many different parts of the world serving to greatly enhance my understanding of cultural, ethnic, and even psychological diversity. This has equipped me to be sensitive to the cultural factors that come into play with each client that I will work with in the future, always doing my utmost to provide culturally sensitive care and advise that in many cases leads to successful interventions. I will always treat all people in a highly respectful manner irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, or any other factor.

It was not always easy for me growing up.  I did not grow up with both parents.  My mother worked 2 or sometimes 3 jobs to support us.  If my mother was unable to find work or we were moving to a different location, I would live with my aunt who was in the US Air Force, which did result in my travelling almost everywhere in the US.  I personally had to deal with numerous stressful situations, being divorced was very traumatizing, even to the point that I needed to acquire my own took kit to ward off depression for a time. Having gone through these experiences, I can easily empathize with how my clients feel in similar situations. I can relate to their circumstances well because I have the ability to reflect inwardly on the complexities of the situations that are confronted by my clients. I faced/confronted many of my problems through therapy and reading the counseling and self-help literature, an experience that strengthened me and gave me the courage to face my difficult circumstances as well as help other people facing up to similar problems. Reading widely on psychology in my spare time and going to school for my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the same helped me to cultivate patience, discipline, consideration, diligence and flexibility, qualities that have helped me to more fully understand the complexities of individual predicaments and gave me the will to look past problems by seeking logical and responsible solutions to all kinds of issues. My own process of maintaining and enhancing my own mental and emotional well-being was another inspiration for my determination to pursue graduate school in Mental Health Counseling.

Once after returning home from an overseas tour, my superiors assigned me to a VA Hospital that was connected to a US Army medical facility.  Every day, as I walked to work, I would see the many veterans standing in line waiting to be attended to for medical and/or mental health treatment.  Since that time, I have read widely the rapidly augmenting literature on PTSD and other emotional disorders, especially depression and anxiety as a result of combat experience. Families of veterans, as well, may be struggling with domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse or suicide.  I feel called to serve as a resource for soldiers and veterans that have experiencing traumatic events - including homelessness, substance/domestic abuse and PTSD.

I have grown enormously on a personal level because I have a wonderful therapist who is marvelous at helping me with self -exploration. This experience helped me to realize that I have a calling myself in this area with the intuitive and intellectual capacity to excel at counseling.  Nothing brings me as much joy as touching someone’s life by helping them to achieve greater clarity in self-understanding. I always feel compassion for those who are suffering.

I thank you for your consideration of my application to XXXX University.

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MA I/O, Worker Satisfaction, Cuban, Miami

Now 24 years old, half Cuban and half Spanish, Miami has always been my home. I invested much of my time growing up dancing ballet from the age of 2 until I was 15. I also played piano and tennis – both very well, still do; but, it was ballet that was my central dream. My performances were always lauded and I was told that I had great potential to be the very best. In truth, however, there were always a handful of other girls who were one little step ahead of me; and in ballet only the very best of the best continue. My consolation has been psychology, which I had already embraced as my career choice by the time that I was finished high school. 

With one semester left before graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from XXXX University, my dream career is now unfolding before my eyes and I am convinced that I will find the deepest possible professional fulfillment in the near future by earning the MA Degree in I/0 Psychology and serving as business consultant, helping organizations to make their workplaces more efficient by placing a priority on the welfare of the workers and their families, particularly in terms of worker satisfaction.

Probably the greatest strength of my application is the fact that my city, Miami, is arguably the most bi-cultural, bilingual Spanish/English city in the world, and I am a fully bicultural and bilingual woman who feels strongly that she has a lot to give to her community and is very determined to do so. I want very much to continue on and also earn the Master’s Degree in I/O Psychology at XXXX, simply because I am so comfortable studying here, happy and engaged with the academic community. I feel like it is our university, XXXX, that is inspiring me to strive for perfection, and that the superlative nature of your graduate as well as undergraduate programs will provide me with a crucial edge in a very competitive professional environment. I am highly dependable with a great work ethic and a broad variety of experience. My attention to detail is impeccable as are my organizational and problem solving skills.

Since I will soon be entering my final semester at XXXX, I have developed advanced analytical skills and enhanced problem-solving abilities. I have always been a very determined and studious individual; most of all, I am a really hard worker who has distinguished herself in several challenging work environments. I now hope very much to be accepted to your Master’s Program as the next step along the way to becoming an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist.  I consider myself to be particularly well suited to a career in I/O Psychology since I pay a great deal of attention to detail and take intense pleasure in the analysis of social issues and controversy on the one hand, and conflict resolution on the others – always taking note of how people’s opinions and memories are influenced by external factors. My reading of Maslow and Herzberg have left me enormously excited about the prospects of harnessing the power of their theories for the enhancement of the quality of the workplace; and, hence, the professional relevance of I/O Psychology. One of my career highlights so far has been working on a research project entitled “Can money buy happiness” facilitating my exploration of practical applications for Business Psychology to be found in the works of Rotter as well as Skinner, with respect to the role played by cognitive processes in finding happiness in particular.

Working at a law firm for the past 4 years has helped to build my confidence and enhanced my communication skills since I am in constant contact with clients and colleagues. It has also helped me to refine my time management skills balancing work with school. I have learned a lot about how to run a law firm since the owner has entrusted me with a great deal of responsibility, greeting and interviewing clients and prospective clients, pleading preparation, scheduling hearings and mediations, drafting motions, gathering all information necessary in a timely fashion. I also do the billing for the firm, prep invoices, and prepare checks for closings as well as being in charge of commissions and bonuses paid to associate attorneys and the management of real estate owned by my employer.

Nevertheless, the above is just a job. I am not at all attracted to the idea of law school because I do not want to be an attorney. My heart lies more in investigation, public debate, administration, and education. I have volunteered at an Elementary School as an Assistant Teacher and I have a passion for research, statistics, and finding practical applications. I am civil notary public and also have an insurance license

10 years from now I see myself as a professional I/O Psychologist fully engaged in cutting edge research designed to ultimately address important social and ethical questions that emerge in the workplace of tomorrow. The principal foundation for my career advancement will be earning the Master’s Degree in I/O Psychology at XXXX. I feel strongly that the training and experiences offered by XXXX University is the perfect match for my career goals.

Education is and has always been the basis of the individual that I am striving to become. My specialty is making strategy happen: prioritizing goals, defining outcomes, aligning stakeholders, and executing against strategic initiatives.

I see your Master’s Program in I/O Psychology at XXXX as the optimal intellectual springboard to propel me forwards towards the greatest possible fulfillment as a mover and a shaker in the Miami workplace.

I thank you for considering my application.

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Additional Admission Essay Material, Chinese

Please describe an interpersonal conflict you experienced and how you went about resolving it.

While volunteering as a tutor with an afterschool program, Brandon a Chinese-American boy in the 8th grade grabbed my attention on my first day there. As I would continue to reflect on and learn from the case of Brandon and the challenges that he presented, I came to see him as a case study of the kind of child that I especially look forward to helping in the future. During homework time, when everyone was working on their essays or math assignments, Brandon would walk around the classroom, trying his best to distract others.don’s parents were first generation immigrants, both of whom worked 11 hour days 7 days a week in a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. While this may seem brutal to the average American, working these kinds of long hours are commonly seen as necessary in order to achieve the American dream, so that, most of all, “the next generation will have a good future.” Self-sacrifice fo the 1st immigrant generation for the next is a common theme among recent immigrants to America that intrigues me greatly. Brandon’s parents and many other low-income Asian families are determined to make it in the USA regardless of how hard it is so that they children and grandchildren might have a better tomorrow.

What I find most interesting about Brandon as a case study is the way in which what his parents see as a worthy and in fact noble ‘sacrifice’ of their own self interest, time, effort, expense, for an investment in their child, carries with it its own burden and psychological hazards. Although Brandon’s parents thought they were doing something good for Brandon, Brandon did not perceive it that way. The pressure put on Brandon was huge and he was clearly traumatized, which is why he was acting out. Brandon lived exclusively with his grandparents in China before starting school. Later, upon arrival in the U.S. he faced an uphill battle to adjust to his new environment, not just in terms of language but perhaps even more importantly, the vast cultural differences. His parents were unable to compensate for those early years when they were not part of his life, working instead around the clock in restaurant in America to be able to afford to bring their child to join them in the USA. The bonding experience with their child never took place because it did not fit in with the dream, which required putting the restaurant first. Now, Brandon’s parents have little opportunity left to bond with him as an adolescent, especially since they still have little time left over from the restaurant, and much of the opportunity that they did have was lost forever by the 8th grade. Brandon likes doing exactly the opposite of what his parents ask him to do.

After getting to know Brandon and learning about his family background, as his tutor, I realized that acting like an authority figure might not be the best strategy for helping him. As a Chinese woman, my own parents placed a very high importance on my academic achievement, their insistence on giving me extra homework and criticizing my grades because they were not the highest in the class did serve to turn me into a high achiever. Nevertheless, in many if not most cases, this parental pressure and high priority pressure can result in great challenges for children and young people and not all meet up to those challenges in equally successful ways. Brandon, for example, exhibited a form of double stress; one resulting from traditional Chinese collectivistic culture, which requires him to be compliant and dependable; and the other resulting from American individualistic culture, which encourages him to be autonomous and assertive. Forcing him to do homework he does not feel like doing impinges upon his sense of autonomy. Brandon is at a stage where he seeks answers to who he is in terms of gender, race, and culture. Peer relationships are even more important than family relationships in this developmental stage, considering the time they spent with their peers. When Brandon tried to build connection with peers, he went about it the wrong way by teasing them, even during homework time.

In time, I decided to insist less on asking Brandon to do homework, and took the time to get to know him better and develop a positive mentoring relationship that included affective ties, listening to his opinions and focusing more on encouragement and positive reinforcement. I met with much more success when I strove to not be just another authority figure like his parents, but to be his friend, providing him with a model that helped him to foster relationships with other kids, how to perceive himself as an Asian student, how to interact with members of other ethnic groups, and how to organize his schoolwork and social life.

I enjoyed a great deal of success at earning Brandon’s trust and he began to treat me with trust and respect as a teacher and a friend, he told me what was on his mind as we played chess. When Brandon finally sat down and started doing his homework, I would praise him. Later I learned that he was good at math, and I would ask him to help others for whom math was difficult. This worked wonders, even serving to inspire his enthusiasm for writing, which he was not as good at as he was with numbers. I was especially pleased to see some of the very students that Brandon helped with math, now helping him with his creative writing.

Brandon started to learn to balance the values he learned at school with the values he was exposed to at home. Telling him about how I grow up in Shanghai and how I interpret my own parent’s strictness with me, seemed to provide him with a much needed context to better understand the strictness and what he sees as the overbearing nature of his own parents. I even shared with Brandon my own dream of becoming a mental health counselor and helping underserved population to get access to mental health services. He fell silent and started writing about his own dreams.

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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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PsyD Psychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis

My mother is Japanese and my father is Jewish. Both me and my father were born and raised in Chicago and the city is very much part of our social identities. I have spent most of the last few years in Washington DC., New York City, and Boston, however, and I am now in the process of moving back home to Chicago. I have been working very hard this summer to prepare myself for graduate school in Psychology by studying at the University of XXXX in XXXX, completing an Introduction to Psychology intensive course and currently enrolled in “Research Methods in Psychology.”

I hope to earn the PsyD Degree in Clinical Psychology and develop a central focus on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. XXXX is my first choice because I see your program as the most innovative and thoroughgoing among programs in Chicago and the best fit for my intellectual and professional interests. In particular, I appreciate your emphasis on the “practitioner-scholar” model of training.

I seek a total immersion as a doctoral student in the study of primary social forces and subject positioning. What does it mean to say that we have inner lives? Is this fantasy, metaphor, or allegory? Drawing critically on the traditions of post-structuralism and post-modernism, I want to engage with these questions. I am intrigued by the pervasiveness of complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding meaning making endeavors, especially for people struggling through difficult situations – particularly in light of the psychological, social and cultural applications of psychoanalytic theory.

I am especially interested in issues of gender and identity and their relationship to the development of one’s social life, and to questions of otherness, marginalization, and oppression. Looking forward to an in-depth study of how identities, beliefs, intimacies and hatreds are transmitted across generations as well as between contemporaries, I am especially interested in secrets that are passed down from one generation to the next, the pull of the past. Processes of change occurring at personal, microsocial and macrosocial levels will be my central focus as I examine the psychological investments made in both change and resistance to change. Looking in broad strokes at strategies of empowerment and liberation, I want to think with increasing creativity about what opposes the march towards freedom and realization.

I plan to devote my professional life to the study of why so many people tend to remain in love with their chains. This entails raising many conventional and fundamental questions with respect to both psychotherapy and social action. The psychosocial project is complicated by the fact that psychotherapeutic practices are by no means uniformly progressive in their politics or in their effects. Indeed, much commentary on psychotherapy - from feminism to critical theory - has been directed at the conformism embedded in its assumptions and practices: adaptational, elitist, ideological, controlling, patriarchal, bourgeois, etc. Clearly, psychotherapy is embedded within some form of modernist epistemology which assumes the possibility of expertise, integration and individual self-development, and which often brackets out the “social” aspect of the psychosocial subject. I have no commitment to any particular way of doing psychotherapy--or even to psychotherapy as a basic good, which it might or might not be; rather, I am interested in questions of social and personal change, independently of the extent to which that change has occurred as a result of therapy. As a practitioner-scholar, I am fascinated by historical and area studies that shed light on the social psychological aspects of social change, the examination of shifts in action and experience over time and place so as to learn as much as possible about the mechanisms that inhibit or facilitate progressive adaptation to one’s social environment.

My intention in undertaking research at the doctoral level is to further my personal understanding of the dissonance between my own inter-subjective experience of reality and the objective one in which I struggle daily. I do this with the hope that in doing so I may discover something which will help to further the self-understanding of others as well. I want to contribute to the actualization of one potential over another and in this way promote a social order characterized by greater levels of freedom and more equitable relationships among people. I do not believe that we should try and create such relationships by force, or, its correlate, control, but through empowerment and participation grounded in principles of justice and human dignity. I hope to become a “good-enough” (to use Winnicott’s term) psychotherapist to be able to provide someone with the opportunity to seize hold of lost or hidden meanings and re-own them, recover them; empowered to tell their own stories and reflect back in a way that enables these life-stories to be owned, understood, and put to the service of one’s liberation.

I am committed to psychoanalysis on both professional and personal levels, seeing my own analyst for the past 4 years, completing courses in psychoanalysis and reading a lot of the major texts, Freud and Jung, object relational theorists such as Winnicott, Klein, Segal, Fairbain, Bion, Kohut, etc. To be committed to psychoanalysis, for me, implies putting the insights and forms of attention learned in the clinic (or elsewhere) to the test in everyday life.

I measure success in life by its level of passionate fullness; by one’s ability to bear tension, frustration, and anxiety; by felicitous reflection on and the ability to work towards the attainment of various and varied desires; by the well-cultivated capacity to receive and respond to our desires and meanings as well as those of others. I also see this as the ultimate measure and meaning of one’s commitment to psychoanalysis.

I would like to eventually have my own private practice providing psychoanalytic psychotherapy to clients from diverse backgrounds and helping as many people as I can. I also hope to secure a position teaching, continuing my research and writing/publishing in my areas of interest. I have worked hard to enhance my capacities to tolerate, reflect, and work within the space of ambiguity and tension through self-observation and integration of overwhelming affects, fears, desires, anxieties, and sensations. My research interests and the work that I want to pursue provide me a sense of personal vitality and authenticity and for this reason I will work as hard as I can to fulfill my passion. I feel especially attracted to the research undertaken by Dr. XXXX at XXXX and I believe my research interests are such that he would be a good fit for me as a mentor to guide me with respect to directions in my research.

I earned college credit from Columbia University and New York University in the summers of 2003 and 2004. I graduated cum laude from the XXXX University in 2006 and was on the Dean's List at GWU for two semesters (fall 2004, fall 2005). I was also awarded a place in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at GWU (fall 2003). I also completed a Graduate-Student-at-Large program at the University of XXXX and took courses from the Committee on Social Thought and Philosophy (2007-2008). I have traveled much of the world, spending a full year traveling through India and Asia (Tibet, Burma, Bhutan) after I graduated from college. I have been to China several times (Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Taishan), Tokyo, Taipei, Bali, Indonesia, Western Europe (I lived in Paris for 6 months). My parents moved to Milan, Italy for one year when I was 12 for their work as fashion designers. Thus, I was able to see much of Italy. I have also been to Cape Town, South Africa as well as Kenya and Tanzania. In Latin America I have visited Argentina, Chile, Peru, Cuba, and in the Middle East Dubai.  I read and speak French at an intermediate level and I Spanish as a beginner.

Very much influenced by humanism, critical theory, Gramsci, Foucault, and a variety of feminist perspectives, I have drawn from these individuals and theories because they struck a cord that resonated through the whole of my personal and intellectual search for self-understanding and direction. They gave voice to and expanded the personal knowledge that I brought to my efforts to reflect on and make sense out of my own experience.

Schultz's concept of phenomenology, for example, speaks to my belief that all knowledge is relative and normative; that empirical facts and data are meaningful only when they are placed in a normative and value-laden context; and, that "into every act of knowing there enters a passionate construction of the person knowing what is being known and…this coefficient is no mere imperfection but a vital component of [her] knowledge" (Polanyi, 1958). The Freirean philosophy of consciousness and empowerment, as well as humanism, speaks to my need to believe that collectively and individually we can freely choose the values and assumptions from which we name reality.

Gramsci and Foucault, in different ways, give voice to my understanding of the intensity of the struggle in which we must engage, both collectively and individually, in order to be able to make the choices that lead to our fullest self-realization. Finally feminism addresses most directly my own experience of oppression as a woman.

I thank you for considering my application to XXXX.

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PsyD, Husband, Father, Cancer Survivor

The PsyD Program at XXXX University is my first choice for study at the doctoral level because of your location and the fact that I see my interests as the best fit for your program. A husband of 28 years and a father of a 23-year-old daughter, I am also a cancer survivor and a recovering alcoholic for more than a decade; thus, I feel that I have developed wisdom that will be useful for helping others. In particular, I look forward to continuing to help young men caught up in the juvenile justice system to avoid some of the pitfalls that snare so many young substance abusers, especially teenage alcoholics. I also look forward to helping others to face up to the battle against cancer.

A graduate student in a Clinical Mental Health Program specializing in Reality Therapy, I am a responsible self-starter who communicates well and is dedicated to caring for the mental health of my clients.  Team-oriented with a strong record of establishing solid relationships with clients, co-workers and administration, I pay great attention to detail and documentation and I am well read in the area of professional ethics and public policy.

The internship of more than 700 hours that I completed at XXXX Department of Corrections (DOC) has been formative in my career direction and I have simply become addicted to the challenge presented to our society by teenage substance abusers. I am especially enthused after this experience with the power of group counseling to change the way that young people think, helping them to achieve greater levels of control over their behavior.

I spent most of my adult life in the restaurant business in which I was highly successful; now financially independent at 53 years old, I have turned my full attention to what I love most: the study of psychology, healing, therapy, and most of all counseling. My special passion for counseling which drives my application to the PsyD Degree Program at XXXX University is born in part from my own highly positive experiences over the last couple of decades with counseling for myself, an alcoholic in recovery currently celebrating very close to one full decade of sobriety. Thus, it is easy to see why I am so dedicated to helping others. I have been actively engaged with AA and NA for many years now and have went to our local hospital’s detox and dual diagnosis units to help out as a volunteer on frequent occasions. I am fully focused on salvation and redemption and enjoy nothing more than talking the talk and walking the walk of sobriety. I feel that I can make my strongest contribution to my community in the therapy and rehabilitation of young offenders in the juvenile justice system. I am experienced in this area and I have found that when I share with these young men about my own struggle years ago and the problems that alcohol caused in my life, they listen to me much more intently than they would do so otherwise. From my experience, counseling that comes from the heart and stays close to the bone is the most effective.

As a young business man, earning my BS in Business Marketing back in 1985 was a natural choice. My interest in psychology and mental health - my calling and vocation - was something that developed over time. This coming year, however, in 2017, I will earn my Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health from XXXX University. Alcoholism and substance abuse are only part of the issues in the psychology of healing in which I look forward to continuing to immerse myself for the balance of my professional a lifetime.  The way I have dealt and continue to deal with my own addiction is to look at myself attentively in the mirror every morning and saying to myself everyday that I'm an alcoholic, mindful of my condition at every moment. I keep my Disease in front of me at all times. This clearly works; otherwise, I would not be maintaining my 4.0 GPA at UXX.

My long term goal is to make a positive change in human lives through the DOC, especially with young offenders. These teenage offenders come from a broad variety of backgrounds with all different types of obstacles in their path that they must overcome. I feel very strongly that juvenile offenders are in a separate moral category than their adult counterparts and that they deserve special consideration and investment. Everything that applies to the adult offender in terms of deserving another chance, a shot at rehabilitation and re-insertion into society: much more so does it apply to the offender who is a legal minor. They deserve a special chance; an education and the assistance that they need to overcome the obstacles that stand in their way to becoming a productive member of society. I firmly believe that some will be very successful if they follow a well put together program that has guidelines and parameters that effectively prepare them for re-entry into society. I firmly believe that many if not most juvenile offenders could become very successful members of the community if they were to follow a program that had well designed guidelines and parameters that effectively prepared them for re-entry.

Several of the clients that I have worked with stand out in my mind and I continue to reflect upon them and their situation. I had very intense conversations with AH, for example, who was in a sexual offender group at the age of 19.   According to him, his victim was 13 years old and he was 18 and he was set up because she never told him her real age and he never asked.  Throughout all of our long sessions he went into great detail on what actually transpired.  For the first few sessions, I could not put my finger on it.  But then, after reviewing my notes, by the third session I could see that things just didn’t add up and I realized that AH was a chronic liar.  Almost every single thing that he told me was contradicted by something else that he said in a group or in a subsequent session. I reflected on the possibility that AH has Extreme Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I have heard that one cannot change a narcissist, that they must change themselves. In the fourth session with AH I began to expose his discrepancies.  I thought that he might either shut completely down and/or feel rage at being exposed; most likely continuing in his narcissistic way of thinking and interacting. AH was one of my first clients in the DOC and he was not my greatest success. Nevertheless, with AH I became aware of the fact that my age was an asset, and that I was shown at least a minimal amount of respect because of my real life experiences. He left me with the impression that I had resources that a younger counselor may not have, at least with AH. 

Another inmate I will never forget is MJ, a 17 year old inmate sentenced to life.  During my fifth week in the DOC I learned that MJ’s mother had passed away unexpectedly.  Since I had already met with him on several occasions in regard to behavior incidents, I was selected to tell him that his mother had passed away.  I was a nervous wreck because there is no easy way or text book example on how to handle a situation such as this.  When MJ walked into the meeting room in cuffs and shackles, he asked why he was meeting with me.  I said to him: “I have some bad news for you.” MJ screamed “what happened to my mom?”  I looked at him and said nothing, only staring into his eyes.  At that point, MJ fell on the floor and began sobbing.  I went over to him and sat down next to him to show support.  MJ never knew his father, his mother was a crack addict and he grew up on the streets of Philadelphia.  As I sat with him on the floor for nearly the entire session he finally asked me what had happened to his mother.  I told him that it was a tragic accident involving a tractor trailer and that she passed instantly.  MJ looked at me and said: “That’s a relief to know that she wasn’t shot and she didn’t suffer.  She died with some dignity.”  I was assigned to counsel MJ for an hour every week and I tried to see him about three times a week and it usually worked out.  After about a month of grief counseling, I saw MJ in the general population and he came up to me and said, “Mr C I just want to thank you for the way you told me of my mother’s passing.  I knew it was hard for you but I’m glad it was you.  Thank you.”  That was the most rewarding experience I’ve had in counseling so far and I want more. 

I believe that many of the problems our society faces today are a direct result of negative behavior that is learned from parents as well as society as a whole. The reason that I want to earn my Psyd is to learn by experience with a hands-on clinical approach. I firmly believe that the best way to learn is through experience, being there, putting what one preaches into practice.

I thank you for your consideration of my application to XXXX University.

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PsyD Clinical Psychology, Children of Color, Mom

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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PHD Behavioral Science, Internet Communication

I write the following in support of my transfer from the MLIS Program to the PHD Program in Behavioral Science at the University of XXXX. Earning my PHD in Behavioral Science in your dynamic program at UXX will enable me to fulfill my long-term dreams, which have taken shape more recently- hence the transfer. In particular, I want to do research on role-playing as a form of interactive group therapy and study the psychological peculiarities of online interaction in depth. I’m prepared to put my computer skills to work at the service of research in psychology

An avid aficionado of Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs), I have found myself increasingly intrigued by connections between these games and human psychology and what these games can teach us about  human nature and the way that we habitually tend to interact. I see these interactions are pulled into stark relief by the relative anonymity of cyberspace and cyber barriers to emotion and moral clarity. I am interested in the nature of the escape mechanism provided by assuming an avatar personality and the extent to which it can be either harmful or beneficial in video game fights, team raids, quests, and other simulated activities. I desire to study the biological connections as well; learning everything that I can about biofeedback and then applying what I learn to discovering therapy-biofeedback combinations.

I could not be happier than I am at XXXX University studying towards my Master’s Degree in Library Science. I enjoy everything having to do with information and how it is used and I shall always stay abreast of cutting edge development in information systems and organization; especially insofar as these systems are useful for applied research. Nevertheless, as I have matured over the course of the last few years, I have become increasingly immersed in my study of Psychology, especially with respect to application to computer and information-related possibilities. Most enamored by the vast potential of new technologies to aid us in understanding human behavior, I look forward to the development of new virtual arenas in which patterns of behavior can be deciphered. I am also very much enthralled with your distinguished faculty and the extremely exciting, pioneering research being undertaken in the Behavioral Science Program at UXX.

I especially admire the inspiring work of Dr. XXXX in the area of human avatar interaction as well as Dr. XXXX on stress management through the use of creative writing mechanisms. It is my sincere belief that my undergraduate minor in English and my writing skills will propel me to special excellence in this topic.

The other reason why I want to transfer out of my MLIS program at UXX and into your doctoral program in Behavioral Science is strictly financial. I do enjoy what I am studying and see it as relevant to my central objective of harnessing developments in technology to ground-breaking research ends. I am still young and in no great hurry; thus, if it were not for financial considerations I would probably finish my MLIS degree before beginning full time study in Psychology. My source of funding for my graduate study, however, is my grandmother and she is only willing to fund one graduate degree and she is encouraging me to transfer directly into your doctoral program.

I hope to earn the PHD at UXX so as to devote myself to a lifetime of applied research. I look forward in particular to learning how to best interpret and improve the virtual social interactions of children and adolescents suffering from mood and anxiety disorders—especially since they represent such a vast and vulnerable sector of the world’s online population.

I thank you for considering my application.

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PHD Counselling Psychology, Arab, Dubai

It was always my intention to ‘make a difference’ with my life rather than merely to ‘make a living’. Since my earliest days, I have been very interested in how the mind works and the wide differences between individual reactions to similar situations and challenges. All my adult academic and working experience has been devoted to the study and practice of psychology and counselling except for a period spent in a ‘call centre’. This experience was also very useful as one cannot function well in that field without acute listening skills, a genuine ability to empathize and then to find and apply effective solutions.

I now seek to extend my skills and knowledge in Counselling Psychology to maximize my utility to clients, to enable me to eventually pursue a Ph.D., and then to practice and teach as an expert in the field. My interests are wide but I have developed a particular area of interest is in assisting child patients and their families because of the levels of distress and sacrifice that I have observed.

Once I had been awarded my Bachelor degree (B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology with Counselling) I was fortunate to be offered an internship at a prestigious center for the treatment of ‘special needs’ children in Dubai in January 2013 and, once the internship was complete in August 2014, to be offered a full time position there as an ABA/VBT Therapist. I believe that this appointment was made in acknowledgement of my enthusiasm, effectiveness and commitment to clients and their families during my internship.

I have been the beneficiary of first class training provided by expert therapists and specialists. I am now allowed much autonomy in my current role but always with easy access to expert support and oversight. I have acquired significant ‘hands on’ experience of cooperating with other team members, relating well to clients and their families and in planning and flexibly implementing treatment plans. I have found enormous satisfaction in the work to date. To see even small incremental steps achieved and the smiles of the children and their families, once reached, has been highly rewarding.  My experience to date has fully confirmed me in my career choice and my wish to acquire all the skills and knowledge of which I am capable to assist as many clients as possible and to enable others to do so by sharing the fruits of my own advanced studies and work.

While my work to date has been limited to child therapy, I am also very interested in acquiring the skills to enable me to treat adolescents and adult clients in such matters as substance abuse, the making of educational or career choices, family problems and living with disability. It is my hope to be able to assist those facing one or more of these challenges during the program.

I am excited at the prospect of assisting in some area of research and hope to be able to do so in one of the following areas: Positive psychology, happiness, humor and the effect of work status on psychological well-being.

I am a great believer in the saying ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. The sometimes distressing situations faced at work call for absorbing and demanding hobbies to provide ‘balance’ in life. I find that soccer is a great physical outlet that also demands a ‘team mentality’ in order to be effective, as at work, it is also a splendid way of making new friends.

I have happily studied, worked and socialized with people of many different ethnic and social backgrounds. I enjoy sharing knowledge of my own culture and enjoy learning from others about theirs. I am regarded as an amiable person and find satisfaction in learning from others and in sharing my own knowledge and skills. In addition to being fully fluent in English, I speak Hindi and Konkani with reasonable fluency and have a basic grasp of Arabic. I have visited the US, the UK and Singapore and am a frequent visitor to India.

This particular program attracts me by reason of the prestige of the faculty, the scope and success of its history in research and the professional success of its graduates. It is my firm intention to seek to add some ‘lustre’ to its, already high, reputation during my participation in the program and in my subsequent career.

To summarize, I have a highly relevant grounding in terms of study and work to date which, I believe, will enable me to ‘add significant value’ to the program and, even more importantly, have a genuine passion to help others, in an empathetic and effective way, to deal with the challenges that they face and to do so positively and creatively. I can assure the reader that I will apply myself with great enthusiasm and diligence to the program for my own benefit and that of my colleague students, the faculty and all those that I hope to treat and to train in my future career.

Thank you for considering my application.

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PsyD, Soldier, Priest, Counselor, PTSD

I ask for acceptance to earn the PsyD Degree at the XXXX Institute so that I might add the final and most important professional hat to my repertoire of historically interconnected or culminating roles. First, I gave my all for my country as a soldier; then I became an Episcopal Priest. Since June of 2014, I have served as the Director of Admissions at the XXXX School Prior to this position, I served for two years as a parish priest at XXXX Episcopal Church in XXXX. The cause to which I have decided to vote the balance and hopefully by far most significant part of my professional life is that of helping our veterans to heal. My comrades have been thrust into questionable moral situations for a very long time, forced to engage in many morally questionable activities, and with all too great a frequency fall into moral decay, as a result of stress, violence, and in some cases their own moral failure. I see the Wright Institute as the best fit for my interests, an academic community in which to find support and ideas to empower and inspire me to write a doctoral dissertation on the subject of Moral Injury and how it is related to PTSD.

I look forward to many decades to come fully immersed in an exploration of the ways that Moral Injury has, in the words of Rut Gubkin: "biological, emotional, neurological and spiritual and/or existential dimensions." As a priest of ecumenical formation, I believe that I have education/training/experience that will prove to be of great value in the development of models for healing that incorporate spirituality from a diverse body of religious backgrounds with a central focus on spirituality itself, rather than spirituality as it exists within any given religious tradition. I am especially interested in first studying, perhaps even helping to perfect or contribute to the development of Moral Injury Event Scales (MIES). I am pleased that there is already an extensive body of literature with which I have to work as a foundation, helpful data regarding moral injury resulting from transgressions by others, transgressions by self, and transgression by betrayal, resulting in stress, PTSD, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, anger and rage.

I look forward to connecting some of the dots from my own experience as a soldier, with Moral Injury Theory which suggests, for example, that those who suffer Moral Injury as a result of the transgressions of others rather than their own are especially susceptible to PTSD. I saw this to be glaringly true of the poor fellows who I interacted with in the mortuary affairs unit overseas. They are the ones who process the bodies of those killed in action. They processed both Americans and the local Iraqi population who were killed in action (KIA). It's a terrible thing to see a mother and father lying on a table next to their children, the entire family KIA. It is even worse to see this several times a day, almost every day, for long periods of time. As if this were not yet tragic enough, these soldiers were well aware that many if not most of these casualties of war that come from air strikes that are not reported on the news and sometimes not reported at all. The transgressions of others often occur by people making simple mistakes with deadly consequences; these transgressions are also the most heavily correlated with PTSD.

Transgressions of self, on the other hand, have been shown to be more strongly associated with hopelessness, pessimism, and anger. One young marine from my unit was the gunner on top of a vehicle and the driver fell asleep and lost control, flipped the vehicle, and the young marine was crushed and mangled beyond recognition. Despite the fact that what happened was an accident, the driver of this vehicle is likely to experience more trauma than would have been the case if he had fallen asleep in civilian traffic and taken a life—due to the sheer chaos and ambiguity of combat. Adrenaline, fear, and a desire for revenge can be most lethal combinations resulting in soldiers all too frequently transgressing their own sense of morality in the heat of battle, making split-second decisions that will haunt them for a lifetime, leaving the with invisible scars that are sometimes not easy to detect.

I am especially concerned with the variety of ways in which Transgressionsof Self in warfare can have deadly consequences. One suicidal young marine that I dealt with in my office stands out in my mind. He had been standing guard on a dirt road in Fallujah when a car was approaching his checkpoint. The car was not slowing down so he aimed his rifle at the driver and pulled the trigger. The bullet struck the driver in the head and the car came to a slow stop. There was a 5 year old boy in the front seat covered in his father’s blood. The young boy was crying uncontrollably as the driver was still grasping for his last few breathes. Radio communication was not working properly and the marine who pulled the trigger spent 2 hours with the young boy and his now-dead father before backup arrived. This had happened 3 months prior to our conversation. I glanced down at his boots and noticed that the bloodstains were still there.

Finally, I seek to excel in Moral Injury Theory and PTSD treatment in my research concerning “Betrayal.”  The damage that occurs from the perception of being morally betrayed is especially evident among Iraq veterans who feel strongly that they were betrayed by their government because they were required to fight an unjust war, and that the blood that has been spilled in Iraq has been spilled in vain. The struggle to recover for these veterans who suffer from a sense of Betrayal is compounded by the fact that evidence has continued to emerge that they were indeed sent to war on the basis of false intelligence (no weapons of mass destruction). Many joined the military because they felt that they were serving a greater purpose after the country was attacked on 9-11. Now they have to deal with the fact that Saddam/Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. They are left with the unsettling question about the atrocities of war they participated in and what was it all for? 

My central objective in life has always been to serve others, first in the military, followed by the ministry; these days I mostly serve the needs of prospective graduate students. My experiences as a priest in the Episcopal Church have given me a platform for making connections with groups on every level, from the Bay Area to internationally. I have valuable connections to important people that will help me to excel, with the leaders of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) for example, an international relief and development agency that is currently operating in over 40 countries. This is also why I feel strongly that I am an especially good fit with The XXXX Institute since your motto is "Educating Clinicians to Society.” 10 years from now I hope to be serving as a psychologist with ERD, working on an interdisciplinary team of medical doctors, nurses and social workers.

My ideal roles and responsibilities include that of educator as well as clinician providing psychological services in the various parts around the globe served by ERD to populations that have been displaced by war, within refugee camps, and areas affected by natural disaster. As an educator I want to be a valuable resource to the leadership of ERD concerning the needs that exist for psychological services in crises areas around the globe, in addition to attending to the psychological needs of the staff and volunteers of ERD. Over the course of the last 2 years, I have come to increasingly recognize a calling to pursue a new career direction in clinical psychology, meeting twice a month with a therapist about this career change. I feel confident that I am making the right decision and have the support of my wife as well, an attorney with an established practice here in XXXX, and most certainly one of the most valuable of my social connections and human resources.

I appreciate XXXX’s commitment to diversity, social justice and equality and how you require students to be in a field placement getting real world experience each year of the program, including the first year. I want to gain as much experience as possible and I believe that getting real world experience while in the midst of academic study is an effective strategy for creative learning. The therapist whom I have worked with for over a year about my career change is a Psychiatrist and Marriage and Family Therapist and he suggested the Wright Institute. I very much admire the research endeavors of your faculty, most especially the work of Dr. XXXX and his research into anxiety disorder. A former Lutheran minister, I particularly look forward to comparing notes with and learning from Dr. XXXX.

In addition to Moral Injury among veterans, I am also looking forward to an in-depth study of the extent to which Moral Injury occurs in non-military, even non-violent situations. I want to study the history and range of both PTSD and Moral Injury in an exhaustive fashion, especially in light of ethical transgressions, attorneys who make poor life/death decisions for their clients, negligent doctors or nurses, financiers that have committed fraud; at least theoretically the possibilities are endless, hence the search for the best way to define or delimit definitions of these terms in psychology that have become increasingly important to our efforts to diagnose and cure, especially our veterans returning from the field. I thank you for considering my application. 

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MS MFT, Marriage and Family Therapy

Now 27, I came to America from my native Bangladesh at the age of 12, just in time to learn to speak English really well, with an accent that is barely noticeable. Still, I was old enough when I made this journey to remember well my land of origin with its culture, language, and feelings.

Most of all, I not only successfully survived the immigrant experience at a delicate age, but I did so in inner-city America. Thus, my application to your program is strengthened by the wisdom that I have gained from a lifetime of experience so far dealing directly with the challenges faced by minority groups in our urban setting, including recent immigrants. My familiarity of the general social context and resources (or lack thereof) of those individuals that I seek to help will help me to excel as a student in your MFT Program at XXXX College. I look forward to contributing to the diversity of your program as a Bangladeshi woman with extensive experience working in New York City and learning about the many challenges faced by people of color and their families in our inner cities.

I hope to spend my professional lifetime caring for children, protecting them, and doing so by keeping their family together if at all possible by becoming a very hard working MFT professional. Your distinguished MFT program at XXXX College is my first choice for graduate school for a number of reasons principal of which is the opportunities that you offer for students to gain “real world” experience and participate in an internship program.

I am most essentially an introvert who is much more interested in the lives of others than I am my own. I simply love to listen to people and their stories. Every person I encounter intrigues me and I become curious about their backgrounds, their likes and dislikes, and the mundane details that shape their daily lives. Even though I am often told that I am shy and quiet, I exude a certain warmth that makes people feel comfortable in my presence and opens them up so that they feel comfortable sharing with me.

When I graduated from High School, I didn't know what I wanted to do but I knew that I wanted to work with people. I did know that I did not want to sit behind a desk and stare at a computer all day. I knew that I wanted face-to-face human interaction and emotional engagement. That is the reason I majored in Family and Consumer Sciences, so as to build a special focus on the family. While in college, I decided that I wanted to pursue my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy but unfortunately my father died and I had to put my professional goals on the back burner for the time being. Now 27, my dad died a few months shy of my 25th birthday. He literally dropped dead in front of us of a massive stroke, leaving me behind along with my bereaving mother, who barely speaks English, and my two younger siblings, aged 9 and 11 at the time. Growing up we didn't have much but my dad provided enough so that we never felt like we were missing out on anything. After his death, I realized how much he did for us. As the oldest of the family, I had to steer the ship, however, and despite the fact that dad was a hard worker, he left us with a lot of debt.

Not only did I have to face my own emotional challenges and financial hardships, and help my mom and younger siblings, but I also had to deal with the pressures of our community. In our Bangladeshi community, girls are supposed to be married by a certain age and people were starting to shame my mother and started calling me a spinster. People would tell me that I should find a suitable husband for myself so he could take care of me and my family. I always had rebuttals for these statements but they would make my mother very upset.

I also dated men outside of my culture and this caused a great stir in our community. And in the midst of all this, I also learned that my younger sister was being severely bullied at school. She lost 40 pounds in one school year along with racking up 30 absences. I had to go through hell and high water to change her school. I also found a good therapist for her who addressed her issues. The death of my father took a great toll on my family and life was not easy; but facing up to these difficulties was excellent experience and it strengthened me, making me into the kind of person who can be a highly effective counselor, well versed with respect to the challenges faced by typical families and sincerely concerned and engaged.

My family and I eventually overcame these challenges and we are all in a better place now. My personal challenges helped me realize that I want to help families that are vulnerable, marginalized, with few resources, and all too often on top of that beset by most unfortunate circumstances, such as in my case with an entirely unexpected death in the family. I want to help them to find better ways to communicate more effectively so that the family is able to pull together to overcome day-to-day challenges and strengthen relationships.

My professional experience so far has been as an Administrative Assistant in the area of office management and staff support, this past year with XXXX Inc. in Jamaica, New York. Prior to this position I indulged my special love for children which I intend to continue to develop for a long lifetime of research and practice in the psychological care of children in our community. As a Study Plan Teacher of XXXX World Early Learning Center in Springfield Gardens, New York from November of 2013 through June of 2014, I enormously enjoyed working with assigned groups of infants and toddlers applying best practices for infant/toddler care. I made a special effort in each case to facilitate and nurture the development of each child’s self-esteem, trust, and sense of autonomy, planning and implementing lesson plan activities and experiences that were developmentally appropriate, accurately documenting initial and ongoing development using screening and assessment tools at established intervals.

I want to build a career as a marriage and family therapist because MFT helps individuals within the context of their relationships with others; and I believe strongly that effective therapy needs to be focused on the set of relationships in which the person is imbedded. Your program at XXXX College with prepare me for a professional lifetime of excellence, meeting with families, listening to specific concerns, and offering strategies for communication, affection, and compromise. I hope to repair cracks in family foundations for many decades to come.

I thank you for considering my application.

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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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Autobiographical MS Counseling, African-American

I was born in San Antonio, Texas but was soon flown to Tulsa, Oklahoma to live with my Caucasian adoptive family when I was three months old. I would not find out until many years later, naturally, but somehow this fact is relevant to what I have become personally and my professional goals for the future, in ways that I am not yet fully understand or am able to appreciate. What I do know is that given that fact that I am African-American woman raised by white parents, I grew up throughout my formative years with a badge strapped across me 24/7 that said ‘adopted child’. In fact, some of my earliest memories are associated with comments concerning my color as compared to that of my parents. Thus, I wrestled very early on with profound questions of color, identity, parenthood and racism as well, in a variety of forms, some more subtle than others. This is quite clearly a primary factor why I seek to devote my life to at-risk children, primarily children of color—in all shades—those who are in need of community care.

Now 25 years old, along with my undergraduate studies at XXXX University in XXXX, the most formative experience of my life has probably been my volunteer work at the Community Food Bank of XXXX. It is a private hunger-relief organization that provides food and other donated products to 450 Partner Programs in 24 counties in eastern Oklahoma. I worked in the food pantry sorting and putting labels on food cans and also assisted in loading the food truck. I soon discovered that this work gave me the keenest sense of accomplishment and productivity.  I sorted and boxed toiletries, clothes, and toys and later wrote a paper on our experience. One family at the food bank stands out in particular as inspiration to my career development, a stay at home mom, a father who worked for a manufacturing company, and a son and daughter who were both in middle school.  They all came together as volunteers and I deeply admired their communal spirit. They did not have many friends or family in the area and just wanted to reach out and connect, precise the type of spirit that I look forward to fostering in the future both as a professional and a volunteer in the community.

I am troubled as a member of our community here in XXXX by people who are focused primarily on what they do not have, what they are not accomplishing, and what they want. I am troubled by what I see in our community as ‘an every person for themselves’ mentality and envision themselves in a sink or swim environment supported by a life boat ethic that leaves little to no room for some of the most vulnerable among us. I locate this keen sense of social justice that I have been cultivating for some time now to my own experience as an African-American child and later woman in a small American town with few black people and few minorities of other ethnic groups. Thus, despite the fact that my parents were white, I have long felt myself to be the ‘other’ in my own society, which has resulted, I feel, in both my keen interest in questions of identity and my extremely high motivation to excel in your graduate program in counseling. I am most pleased you’re your program in counseling places a high priority on the importance of diversity and the need to reach out to, come to better and understand and subsequently better serve those members of our community who are underserved and from under privileged backgrounds.

Fundamental to my own sense of identity, both personal and professional, is that I am not just African-American or a member of a minority ethnic community; first and foremost I am a woman and it does not matter what color my mother was, either adopted or biological. While studying in college I noticed that there is still a lack of respect and a hostile undercurrent directed against women in roles of power and this made me angry, fueling my rise. I very much admire and reflect upon the long history of struggle on the part of my sisters before me and I treasure the way in which this struggle has made it possible for a young woman to launch her own private practice.

I think most white parents who adopt black children are probably good people. Mine were, still are. This did not mitigate the challenge, however; but my parents did help to cushion the blows as best they could and they have taught me useful coping strategies throughout my life concerning my quest to mold my own identity. I hope to continue to turn to them for inspiration for many decades to come, as I develop my career both during and after your program and I continue to face challenges, especially as a professional who seeks to shoulder a great deal of responsibility and to provide a great deal of care to many, especially those in greatest need who have the least resources for which to repay me. My parents are kind people who also love their community, XXXX, and my autobiography is in many ways little more than a tribute to a couple of normal, good, decent white folks who did the very best they could with a little black girl who was always a real handful.

I thank you for considering my application to your program and I look forward to meeting you in person.

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PHD Counseling Psychology, Community

My mother’s illness in 2007 provoked a career shift for me, from business to psychology. Once I found out that she had brain cancer, I immediately withdrew from my MBA Program and threw myself entirely into the study of this new enemy. At the same time that I struggled to adapt to the increasingly dementia-like symptoms that resulted from the tumor, I began to realize that I wanted to study for professional advancement in this area. By December of 2011, I had earned my Post-Graduate Certificate in Dementia Studies along with my Adult Training and Development Certificate. Since then, I have been completing the prerequisite courses for acceptance into the XXXX.

The XXXX is my first and only choice for graduate study because I share XXXX’s priority focus on the human ability to create positive social change. I am a good fit for your program because I am convinced that your curriculum, both didactically and experientially, most fully encompasses my areas of greatest interest, particularly structural community intervention. Dedicated to the empowerment of older adults to become active citizens in their community, I very much to devote my life to reducing levels of social isolation for elderly people in my community.

I speak Hebrew as well as French. Born in Canada, I spent some of my most formative years in Scotland; later, we returned, first to Montreal and then Toronto. For me, relationships are the foundation of our humanity and our connection to our communities is an especially critical part of the process of healing. I am most engaged with the psychology of older people, women in particular, and their special need for community support and sense of belonging. Being Jewish, I have a strong belief in the power of the Jewish philosophical concept of healing the world through community engagement and social action. I have had many rich life experiences that have helped me to grow personally and professionally, challenging my own personal fortitude and ultimately reaffirming my belief that relationships are the foundation of our humanity and our connection to community can bring about healing.

I am at a stage in my life where I am well poised to fully appreciate the opportunity to return to graduate school. Even as an MBA student, I was most interested in business issues related to psychology. I was in France in the Spring of 2007 when my mom called with the news, participating in a practicum and working to complete my graduate research study investigating the brain’s response to anti-smoking advertising. We went on to share the last three years of her life together, adapting to the new realities of what we were facing, together and as individuals. At first, I felt wholly unprepared for the challenge, as a caregiver and as a daughter losing my mom. I responded by seeking the advice of a counselor and drawing strength from my beliefs in Jewish philosophy. Through the process of introspection and practice of reflection in counseling, I learned to cope with my fears, feelings of sadness, frustration and stress. Little by little gaining a sense of acceptance, I became more open, learning to focus almost exclusively on the positive.

I believe that my professional experience will also help me to excel in your program. My strong belief in the Jewish philosophical concept of “tikkun olam”  (healing the world through social responsibility and community engagement) led me to serve from 08/07 through 06/08 as part of the devoted team at XXXX Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, teaching an integrated kindergarten class—“one that invites able-bodied kids to attend a school for children with physical disabilities.” This was a pivotal experience helping me to focus on life with meaning, purpose and value. We created a parents’ support group that helped me to better appreciate the power and beauty of group therapy. From 10/07 through 09/09, I served as the Director of the XXXX Foundation, responsible for functions involving strategic planning and program development. I nurtured partnerships with key Canadian, American, and Israeli allies to ensure mutually beneficial, productive, and sustainable working relationships. As a part-time Research Assistant with the Mental Health & Addictions Emergency Alliance, 08/11 through 12/11, I worked collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams investigating psychosocial vulnerability, helping to develop new initiatives and creating a web based application (QLAB system) for assessment over time.

I have learned that I love nothing as much as reaching out to isolated and depressed people, particularly the elderly. I was moved by the stories shared during intake interviews and resilience training, soon coming to realize that I have a very special soft spot in my heart for elderly patients, because of their vulnerability, isolation, and the fact that they so seldom take advantage of the mental health services that are available to them. Colleagues have invited me to collaborate in program initiatives in the areas of palliative care and support groups for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My understanding and appreciation of older adults’ mental health needs has greatly expanded through continuous reading of current literature, attending conferences, workshops, and professional rounds. I now have experience conducting cognitive and behavioural testing, co-facilitating group therapy sessions, and developing treatment plans for patients exhibiting challenging behaviours. Since January of 2012, I have been serving as a Research Project Coordinator for the Centre for Mental Health, XXXX, where I lead evidence-based health research in support of strategic educational and organizational innovations within the priority areas of cognitive impairment and mood disorders. I keenly look forward to further developing my research skills at Adler and contributing to our body of literature on the elderly in the future.

I connect with elderly patients; and my greatest joy is seeing what a profound and immediate difference I am able to make in their lives. The XXXX program is the ideal location for me to learn how to do best enhance the quality of education and support services for patients and family caregivers through in-service knowledge transfer training for clinicians, developing a seniors-specific mental health education website, and implementing a peer-led support group for caregivers of patients suffering chronic depression.

I thank you for considering my application.

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PsyD Integral Studies, Spirituality, Vietnamese

I am a humble applicant to our program who has overcome great difficulty in arriving where she is in life. This is why I ask for special consideration with respect to my low GPA which resulted from the fact that I had to simultaneously work and study full time.

Now 33, I left Vietnam at 7 years old with my grandparents on a fisherman’s boat as a small child. The engine died and we floated for 2 weeks with little to no food left and were even robbed by pirates of what we had. Fortunately, we were saved by a cargo ship heading to Thailand, were we spent 4 months in a refugee camp. We were able to immigrate to the USA so quickly because my grandfather had served in the US army during WWII. My parents and siblings would come to California in time, later on, but I am to this day the only member of my family who is fluent in English, and I have always been a major breadwinner, especially since I lost both of my grandparents who brought me here to America.

Nevertheless, I feel strongly that I am an excellent candidate for your PsyD program because of my profound passion for studying the potential contribution of Eastern spirituality to Western psychology. I came to America from Vietnam at the age of 6, so I am as American as I am Vietnamese. This helps to provide me with unique perspectives and a sense of direction in terms of Asian-American spirituality, particularly Buddhism since I am a devout Buddhist, all in the context of New Age movements generally speaking. A vegan with a deep respect for animal life, I believe that yoga is medicine and that emotional healing can be greatly advanced through the pursuit of eastern spirituality, harnessing its power to great strength of counseling psychology as developed in the West.

The XXXX is my first and only choice for graduate school for a variety of reasons, most of all my profound admiration and full endorsement of your emphasis on the importance of spirituality, diversity, and multiple ways of learning and teaching and experiential learning models. I like the way that your program facilitates student engagement with adventure and cultivates our direct contact with and appreciation for the complexities of cultural variation in human experience. Among the world’s finest professors who teach at XXXX, I am particularly looking forward to studying under Dr. XXXX since his interests dovetail nicely with my own passion for research in ADHD, biofeedback, and meditation. I also focus much of my study of Buddhism on Tibet and its relation to physiology and transpersonal psychologies.

I believe firmly in the importance of searching for core problems and addressing them through connectedness on many levels, social, psychological, emotional, and particularly spiritual. I want to dedicate my life to the cause of understanding my patients and their families on the level of their whole beings, so that I will be better able to help, uplift, and inspire them to achieve greater levels of fulfillment, security, and tranquility in life. I'm a very dedicated and loving soul who by nature goes out of her way to help mitigate the pain and suffering of those with whom I come into contact. An active participant at my local Buddhist center, I find great strength in community and the sharing of spirituality.

I wish to devote my life to the cause of my people, the Vietnamese, in the spirit of culturally appropriate mental health and cultural services. In particular, California is in need of more highly trained Vietnamese psychologists in order to meet the needs of those residents whose first and primary language as well as culture is Vietnamese. Most immigrants to America from Vietnam, children and adults, experience some level of culture shock and often experience decades of difficult adjustment, including on psychological levels. Many report that they feel trapped: “stuck inside a shell.” I think that much of this is due to their lack of information processing skills and tools, and often fall into negative rather than positive thinking patterns complicated by poverty, little support or even contact from family, language barriers, and vast culture differences that run counter to Asian understandings. For me, the greatest a blessing in life is the opportunity to help someone overcome what they are fearing.

Elderly Vietnamese immigrants often suffer as a result of feeling that they are a burden to their family, exacerbated by the fact that their children don’t spend much time with them because they are busy working. Frequently, these older immigrants want to be both more independent and better connected to others in their new world, but they need help in order to achieve this. Children offer suffer severe culture shock on arriving from Vietnam, and I have first-hand experience in this. Children who cannot yet speak English or who do so with a heavy accent are picked on, bullied, and humiliated, and they need our support.

 I want to assist adolescents in their critical struggles for identity development, helping them to avoid hiding within themselves just because they feel different from their peers, to have confidence, and to learn to express themselves so that they will avoid problems later in life, especially with intimate relationships and with their children. Many Asians and some Vietnamese elderly people come to our Buddhist center. Many feel lonely and alienated from their children. They come to the temple to converse with others and to do some good deeds along the way. As someone dedicated to lifelong learning and a Buddhist who hopes to become a psychologist, I intend to give my all for the rest of my life to helping the members of my community to escape from pain and suffering and to find inner peace, each in their own way, through the practice of Buddhism and/or by a touch of science. I look forward to an in-depth exploration of the science behind the Buddha’s dharma teaching.  

Most of all, I want to live my life for Vietnamese and other immigrant children, especially orphans or foster children, on both sides of the ocean. While working on my PsyD, I plan to open a child care center at the XXXX Buddhist Center in Westminster so that young ones will have a place to learn about dharma and for family and parents to drop them off for day care and after school programs, so they have a place to go to after school and not wonder around in the streets getting into trouble. I'm currently working on my Director of Child Development Certificate so that I can open and operate this facility. I owe this dream to the wisdom and energy of my masters/gurus. They have also inspired me to labor in the coordination of groups of volunteers to pack food bags to be distributed to low-income families and seniors. We now have over 30 volunteers who distribute food to more than 1200 families monthly.

I was given a blessed opportunity from my grandparents to come to America and I want to give back to my community by serving as a voice for those who have no voice. I would like very much to someday create my own non-profit organization and adoption agency to help Vietnamese children. I hope to spend the balance of my life working hand in hand with temple/centers where the monks or nuns can teach the core of Buddhism at the same time that we keep people off the street and help them build and recover lives of dignity.

I am a very determined young woman, highly organized, and I turn negatives into positives. I am keen on adventure and would be especially honored by the opportunity to participate in your two-week study abroad course in Sri Lanka studying Sinhala Buddhism. I am convinced that Buddhism has much to contribute to our mental health here in America. Americans suffer from stress, for example, and could benefit greatly by learning to relax through meditation. A clear mind also makes one more productive, especially in creative disciplines. We learn to live in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. We do not worry about meaningless things, but always search for the bigger picture. There have been numerous studies pointing to the health benefits of meditation, especially in the alleviation of stress and anxiety. If we can reduce stress, many health benefits follow. Meditation enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self. Through meditation we can gain a better understanding of our life’s purpose, diving deep into the heart of the matter in order to gain access to our soul--our inner reality---and find inner peace. Once we understand the fourth noble truths of Buddhism, we can cut out through our suffering. 

I think Buddhism can benefit children, in particular, helping them to learn to be compassionate through instruction in dharma, praying before each meal, thankful for everything you have in life or everything that has been given to you, mind training is much easier at an early age, let them be aware of their conscious, give them the foundation in life, teach them what is right and what is wrong etc! It is thought that children are really closer to Buddha Nature than adults are by their very youth, thus having an inherent advantage over adults in undertaking the practice of meditation and advanced study.  I believe that our children are the foundation for our future; if we teach and guide them at an early age we can build a better world for all through hope.

I do not wish to limit myself, however, to working with children. I also want to help adults who are struggling emotionally--if you help them they will then be able to help their own family and children. I want to help children and adults alike to find a road map and to give them a helping hand, showing them how to live productive, positive, and fulfilling lives, becoming successful professionally and spiritually by cultivating a balance between these two aspects of our lives.

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

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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 Autobiographical Sketch, Marriage Diversity

I am a young Korean woman educated in Japan who now lives in America and wants very much to excel in the area of psychology. I have fallen in love with California and hope to complete my graduate studies here. Since I majored in “Cultural Properties” or issues in Japan, I particularly enjoy studying the complex relationships, at once psychological and historical, that exist among various different Asian groups here in California. The greatest strength of my application to your program is that I am one of few Korean applicants who are fully fluent in Japanese as well as Korean, helping me to bridge one of the most prominent and historically bitter divides in Asia resulting from Japan’s historic occupation of your country.

I feel strongly that much of what I studied in Japan has immediate and profound relevance to the study of psychology, especially the psychology of cultural differences, barriers, and/or conflicts, particularly those that involve language. The XXXX is my first choice for graduate study because I feel that I am the best fit for your particular program. I deeply respect your commitment to seeing mental health and mental illness in socio-cultural contexts and your hearty endorsement of research and intervention that is relevant to the multiple cultures in which they are conducted. 

My application is further strengthened by my service as a Volunteer Peer Mentor at the XXXX, in XXXX , Japan (July 2008 - October 2009). I helped newly arrived international students to adjust to their new environment helping them to meet people and to learn to interact with people from many different countries all at the same time. In fact, I advised resident students on a broad range of issues, personal as well as academic, as well as helping to organize and implement international cultural exchange and recreation programs and events. I believe that this experience will help me to think creatively about the many multicultural issues facing Asian residents of California as well.

My passionate interest in psychology began during my high school days as a result of my own mental health challenges. Even though I had good grades in my classes, I began to suffer from chronic depression. It is very common in Korea for adolescents to suffer from mental illnesses due to the great amount of academic pressure that is piled upon them in a very competitive educational system. Students in Korea are often made to attend classes from 7am to 10pm, as I did, going to private schools at night. Surveys have shown that most Korean high school students sleep only 4 to 5 hours a night.

I went through a very difficult period in high school where I felt that I had lost my goals in  life and I suffered from low self-esteem. At times, I even felt that life was meaningless since we would all just die anyway. I even had thoughts about suicide. (As in Japan, our suicide rate for adolescents under pressure is alarmingly high.) Thankfully my mother convinced me to see a psychiatrist and soon I was undergoing treatment, counseling and art therapy, for my depressive disorder. At that time, I began to learn to look inside myself, observing my feelings and behavior with new, more critical eyes. Soon, I recovered from my depression as a result of intensive and highly successful treatment. My extremely positive experience in recovery set me on a road to pursuing a career in psychology.

I had a wonderful psychologist by the name of Dr. XXXX who changed my life completely for the better, helping me to see things in a much more positive light and to learn to monitor and control my feelings. I was able to see things much differently. Dr. XXXX helped me to control my feelings through reflection, critical thinking, and discipline. I began reading extensively in the area of psychology in my free time and by the time I was ready to begin college I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the area of mental health and dedicate my life to the cultivation of new ways to see the world in a more positive light through psychological discovery.

About the same time that my interest in psychology took off, my mother also began to study psychology, coinciding with her volunteer work as a counselor at a high school guiding juvenile delinquents. She told me many stories about her work that also served to deepen my interest in the power of counseling. I became immediately apparent to my mother and I both that many of these troubled juveniles were suffering from mental illnesses as a result of some type of trauma or abuse, often at the hands of their parents.

I chose to major in Cultural Properties in Japan because of my fascination with culture and the impact that it has on our psychology. I spent four years on this intriguingIsland taking courses mostly concerning ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation Science’ at XXXX University, located in Kyushu.  I learned a great deal about cultural restoration, in particular, and componential analyses of heritage. Studying culture was especially useful to me since I also served as a Counselor at the XXXX House as well, facing so many cultural issues in a fully international context.

.After my graduation, I returned to Korea and began working for a trading company. Soon, I faced another serious challenge to my mental health as I was shocked to experience a panic attack in a subway station which left me with the after effect of feeling scared when using overcrowded subways or buses, which are unavoidable in Korea. I plunged into a full immersion in the literature about panic disorders and this has helped me to become much stronger. Now, here in America, I feel I am at the optimal moment in my intellectual and emotional maturity to study in your distinguished program.

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PsyD Counseling Psychology, Mindfulness

I am applying to your competitive PsyD Program at the XXXX because I am convinced that my drive and determination will enable me to excel. I have a great passion for research in psychology, particularly in the areas of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now 36, psychology is a career change for me, a new professional beginning. Married and divorced, I spent 10 years in the mortgage business with my family in the small California town of Visalia where I grew up. After my marriage failed, I completed my bachelor’s degree in 2 ½ years and then sold my home and moved to the city of XXXX.

I like to think of myself as a compassionate woman; and that my concern for the suffering of others is what has propelled me towards the study of psychology and the completion of both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in this field. I have found my calling in life helping those who suffer from mental health issues and challenges. Now, I keenly look forward to continuing on in my studies, completing the terminal degree in my field at the XXXX, and attaining a cutting-edge foundation upon which I will be able to make my maximum contribution to our discipline. I am especially passionate about therapeutic initiatives centered on the concept of mindfulness, most of all with respect to its potential for evoking positive changes in brain chemistry.

I am passionately engaged with the issue of how psychology professionals might best go about helping to erase the stigma that is all too often associated with mental health services, particularly among certain ethnic groups; most notably Latinos who figure quite prominently into mental health assessments and services here in California. I am working with my Rosetta Stone for Spanish and I hope to continue to make rapid improvement in my Spanish skills so that I might eventually be able to use this language to some extent in the professional arena as well.

I became a member of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology because I am a thinker who loves to ask questions and a firm believer in the importance of balance between mind, body and soul for optimal health, studying our own past in order to prepare ourselves for the future, at the same time that we learn to savor each moment of the present. I am most fascinated with the human mind, its capabilities and limitations, and the debate between dualism and monism. At the center of my focus is the mind's ability to heal the body and the role played by spirituality.

A sense of debt that I feel to my community and nation has also helped to propel my interest in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially but not exclusively among our soldiers returning from combat in places like Afghanistan. The fact that I personally have no military experience or any military family members only reinforces the sense that I have of wanting to give something back to those who have sacrificed so much. For years now, I have invested a great deal of time, energy, and heartfelt reflection in the area of PTSD and I want to build a lifetime focus in this area of psychology, to practice and publish about the great challenges that PTSD represents for our society and to do everything that I personally can to respond to this challenge.

I will be finishing my Master’s Degree in December of 2014 and hope to begin studying in your program right away, in January of 2015. The focus of my Master’s Program has been in the area of Marriage and Family Therapy and I also want to remain engaged with this area as a lifetime focus. I feel strongly that mental health issues are best dealt with when one is not alone, and I feel special empathy for those who have to wrestle with mental health issues in the context of a failing marriage often aggravated by the stigma associate with mental health issues. I want to devote my life to helping each individual that comes to me for support to feel less alone in their struggle. If I could help them to save their marriage, this would be ideal.

Several years back I was struck by an image of the “Marlboro Man,” a US soldier in sustained combat in Fallujah, Iraq. He had been firing his canon for about 24 hours when the photo was taken, mud, blood spattered all over his face, a Marlboro cigarette dangling from his lips. A young man from our state of Kentucky who volunteered to go to Iraq to defend our freedoms as our government saw fit; although he sustained no major physical injuries, he would never be the same. Most importantly, his case is not at all unique; there are tens of thousands of similar cases in America. He came into the spotlight and attracted press attention to his story only because of the award winning photo. The Marlboro Man returned to Kentucky to marry his high-school sweetheart. Within a couple of years she would leave him because of his nightmares where he would sometimes half strangle her in his sleep. Alone now, he keeps smoking and suffering on full disability. The costs of PTSD to our society are staggering.

After earning my PsyD and beginning my practice, I intend to put the Marlboro Man photo on the wall in my office. I also plan to pay very close attention to the issues surrounding PTSD and substance abuse/addictions. My central, long term goal is to create my own non-profit organization to help our veterans. I have several ideas and I am confident that they will mature as I make progress under your expert guidance towards completion of the PsyD Degree at the XXXX. I have been profoundly inspired by the example set by the organization Puppies Behind Bars in New York, which rescues dogs from shelters to be trained by inmates, and then given to veterans with PTSD. I find this model to be especially inspiring because of the broad scope of those who benefit, the inmates, the animals, and especially the veterans and their families. No organization such as Puppies Behind Bars yet exists in California. In fact, here in California there is a long waiting list of veterans who need trained dogs. In addition to providing company, these dogs are trained to do things that specifically respond to the needs of the veterans who suffer from acute PTSD, such as checking the perimeters.

I am particularly passionate about the use of animals in therapy because I believe they reach places that people sometimes are just unable to go, especially when the individual is otherwise all alone. This avenue of research and practice dovetails nicely with my volunteer work with the Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals. Volunteer work is in fact central to my identity and mission. I also serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and participate in numerous events related to the care of children.

Finally, I hope to engage professionally at some point with virtual reality tanks as a compliment to therapy. I see exposure therapy as a most promising resource, allowing the PTSD sufferer to go back and confront their trauma in a safe environment. Sometimes we need to face the monster under our bed in order to make it go away.

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

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Masters Counseling, MFT, Immigrant Romania

Why have you chosen the profession of Counseling for graduate study?A recent immigrant from Romania, I have now been living in the US for two years working very hard at bringing my English skills up to a professional level. I worked as a practicing psychologist for 1 year in Romania before I immigrated to the USA at a nursing home, studying and working with patients with Alzheimer’s who came to adore and still miss very much to this day. I also volunteered in my country as a group facilitator and counselor at a shelter for domestic violence victims. I currently volunteer at Southwest Hospital in City, State, where I help discharge patients. I pay special attention to the counselors that I work with in the hospital and I am learning a great deal by befriending them. They have also encouraged me to apply to graduate school in counseling.

Now 35, my studies have led me to the firm conclusion that mental health challenges are best addressed in the context of the family. For this reason, I have decided to focus my Master’s Studies in the area of Marriage and Family Therapy and your competitive program at Akron University is my first choice for graduate study primarily because of your strength in this area of Counseling Psychology.

I hope to contribute to the celebration of diversity in your program as a woman, an immigrant, and someone with a lifetime of experience as an ethnic minority. Since I was born into a Russian community in Romania, my first language was Russian. Only when I went to school did I learn the Romanian language along with Romanian cultural values, attitudes, and biases as well, including negative stereotypes of Russians. 30 years later I have been living through the struggle of integration once again, and, I like to think, with equal success.

Why have you chosen the specific master’s program you selected? Becoming a professional counselor here in my adopted land means fulfilling my heart's desire, quenching my intellectual curiosity and reconstructing my profession on a new level all at the same time. My determination to pursue the study of counseling on a professional level dates from an early curiosity that I had to learn about brain function. Another prominent factor that helped to set me on a course towards further professional study in psychology was the fact that my mother was misdiagnosed with a personality disorder and administered a treatment that turned her into a withdrawn lethargic before my eyes. The desire to help my mother was a great spark that ignited my passion for mental health issues. It is for these reasons that I switched my major of study as an undergraduate from linguistics to psychology. My have instructors have served me as role models and inspired me to embrace psychology as a career because of my enthusiasm for our field. Last but certainly not least, I have benefitted personal from counseling, all of which makes me especially eager to study psychology on a graduate level at Akron.

It is my intention to focus on the Marriage & Family Counseling track as a student in your program at XXXX for a number of reasons. First, my own experience as an immigrant together with my observations of other immigrants have provided me with both an awareness and a passion for addressing the special mental health challenges faced by immigrant families. I am also aware of and seek to respond to the especially great need that exists for counseling and family therapy within my own immigrant community as well as other immigrant communities generally speaking. Becoming a professional psychologist in the USA and re-creating my profession in a new language and a new system, represent a very special triumph for me as both a professional and a recent immigrant.

I am also concerned with the fact that 50% of marriages in the USA will end in divorce at current levels. I believe that this fact alone highlights well the need for more marriage counseling. I would consider it to be a great privilege to assist people to overcome stressful situations and to fend off challenges to a successful, functional family life. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the professional prospects for family therapists are very good.

Comment on the extent that you are acquainted with the counseling master’s degree programs offered by The University of XXXX. After thoroughly reviewing a substantial number of programs in counseling I have chosen to apply to the Marriage & Family Counseling track in your program at the University of Akron. The University of Akron offers a diversity of master's degree programs which constantly produce stellar graduates, a fact reflected by the high pass rates for your graduates on the licensure examination. I am also drawn towards your particular program due to its dual COAMFTE and CACREP accreditations which offer a dual licensure track. Your students also have high levels of success in internship placement and excellent post-graduate employment opportunities. Most of all, however, is my dream of participating in clinical training through the Clinic for Individual & Family Counseling since this would allow me to work with the populations of my interest. I feel strongly that I am a good fit with your program at Akron University because of the diversity of students that you help to become multiculturally competent counselors helping their respective communities.

Describe any professional or volunteer work experiences which you have had related to your career goals. I am very pleased to have had the experience of working as a psychologist in Romania before coming to America, spending one year at a nursing home as a psychologist. My principal responsibilities were to conduct clinical interviews, to assess and record daily functioning status, to guided therapeutically interventions, and organize recreational activities. This experience gave me an insight into the broad variety of family dynamics that are an integral part of facing up to mental health challenges. Prior to my year in the nursing home, I completed an internship at a local domestic violence shelter as a victim counselor, facilitated group counseling and providing community education and problem solving assistance. Since moving to the US I have stayed busy working at Southwest Hospital and I have also learned a lot as a result of my work helping to discharge patients, which has also improved my communication skills in English enormously.

Describe your personal characteristics/strengths that will contribute to your being an effective counselor. I consider myself a solid candidate due to the relevance of my volunteer and professional experiences, on the one hand, and my education on the other. I am highly motivated and persistent. Mature, calm and very emotionally stable, I am most often praised for my listening and observation skills along with my empathy. I have consistently pursued my dream. My career switch happened early on, since I was 26 years old when I decided that working in an office does not fulfill me and a degree in languages is not what I want. It wasn't like a moment of epiphany but, rather, the result of a persistent and growing passion to be able to make sense of my social world in psychological terms. It was a persistent attention and inclination to find and explain  things around me in a psychological way. Early on I came to the conclusion that that if I want to know the ultimate cause for everything I have to understand the human mind.

In adolescence I remember myself having a lot of friends that shared their secrets because they knew that they could trust me. Then, when I heard that my older friends were reading Freud and Jung, I started to read these authors, although I did not understand them very well at the time, clearly, they stayed with me. In my Romanian culture many girls became teachers because this was a safe option that my parents wanted. Thus, I became a teacher and went on to study Russian and French languages. After graduation I found employment in an international pharmaceutical company. Psychology was seen as a rather extravagant option, a fancy choice with nebulous outcomes and I was not really permitted such fanciful choice early on. I studied hard and with pleasure. After earning my masters degree in clinical psychology I was lucky to find a job in this field. I was thrilled to land the position at the nursing home. It was the most fulfilling period of my life. But I got married to an American citizen and here I am. It was a difficult decision to make because I knew that I would have to put my career in psychology on hold for the time being. But now I have been here in the USA for two years and I am completely free to fully immerse myself in graduate studies.

What is your computer competence and literacy and how will you become more competent?   I have completed 50 hours of training in Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques and Clinical Hypnosis at AHPCC, Bucharest Romania. I consider myself to be very computer literate but also entirely self-educated in this area. I thank you for considering my application to your program.

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