MSPP Student Ambassador
St. Mary's University
MA in Mental Health Counseling (Boston College)
4th Year Advanced Standing Clinical PsyD
Latino Mental Health Program
Greetings future students!
Originally "from Russia with love," I immigrated to Texas where I got my Bachelors in Psychology and wrote an honors thesis on foreign language acquisition. During my undergrad years, I studied a semester in Spain where I started learning Spanish. Upon my return from Spain, I continued falling in love with the language and the Latino culture which is very present in the Lone Star State. Traveling is a passion, so after my Bachelors, I was set on continuing my education outside of Texas and came to Boston for my Masters in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College (BC). While at BC and going through a crisis regarding my future professional identity, I was dragged, by a friend, to MSPP's open house. My crisis was about convincing myself and the people around me that I WILL have a doctorate in psychology but, during my Masters, realizing just how much I did not like research and did not want to pursue a PhD. Hearing about MSPP's practice oriented Clinical Psychology doctoral program and the Latino Mental Health Program with immersion experiences was the selling point for me. Getting a PsyD and being in the Latino Mental Health Program fit my needs exactly and I couldn't be happier with my decision to come to MSPP.
My ultimate professional goal is to culturally and competently work in a group and independent practice, supporting people's individual growth by focusing on strengths, skill building, and insight through therapy and assessment in multiple languages. Primarily, my therapy interests are in working with adults but all ages are of interest to me when it comes to assessment and testing. Mood disorders, multicultural issues, and trauma have been particularly fascinating. In terms of theoretical orientations, I am drawn to humanistic, existential, cultural-relational, cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral, narrative, and integrating Eastern approaches like mindfulness and meditation.
In my short career as a blossoming psychologist, I have worked at a dual diagnosis day treatment center doing group therapy and crisis intervention with adults 18+. I have also worked in a therapeutic elementary school doing play therapy, social skills groups, and assessment with children. Going into this practicum, I knew I did not want to work with children and this opinion did not change by the end; however, I learned that I do enjoy administering psychological evaluations to children and I deepened my therapeutic understanding of symbolic, creative, and indirect communication which has been invaluable in my work with adults. I am currently at Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC), one of the five APA accredited internship sites part of the MSPP Consortium. It is a demanding placement with a multicultural population of all ages, has assessment opportunities through the consortium and the Brenner Center, therapy in all modalities, and exposes trainees to every diagnosis in our ever changing DSM. At LCHC, I am leading a Spanish speaking CBT group for anxiety/depression, am doing individual therapy in English/Russian/Spanish with adults 21+, and am conducting psychological evaluations.
As an external advanced standing student in my final year, I can offer the following survival tips:
The program is demanding not because the content is incomprehensible but because it is physically exhausting to balance going to class, practicum/internship, homework, applications for next year's practicums/internships, applications to APA internships, doctoral project, progress notes, assessment reports, etc. You will hear people constantly telling you that "self-care" is important and you'll laugh preposterously at the mention of it because you won't have time for self-care. You MUST make time for it. Re-organize your schedule, take one less class, you might even have to quit a part-time job as many people do, rework your plan towards graduation and slow down, but find time to sleep, eat, see a friend, go out to dinner, anything you consider as an activity in which you are being good to yourself. You can get burned out very easily and from personal experience, even though I have always been able to handle a lot and have sprinted towards the finish line on multiple occasions, the MSPP experience is better survived with the mindset of "slow and steady wins the race."
You are paying for this experience and you must follow certain requirements and rules, but you have some freedom within the set structure to make this your own training experience so you can be the professional you want to be. If you want more direction, support, have a particular curiosity that you want to explore, reach out and express that. People at MSPP will support you in your quest for knowledge and professional development.
I have more survival tips but I don't want to overwhelm you with something the size of a mini novel. You are in for a transformative ride, and if I can support you in any way, please let me know. Take care!