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Counseling Psychologist As a Social Worker

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    My reason for pursuing a Master’s of Social Work is to work as a LCSW and counsel individuals who have been through trauma, specifically members of oppressed groups. Although I am young, I have lived a trying life that has inspired me to pursue a career of counseling as a social worker. I have been living with mental and physical disabilities since a young age and have been in psychotherapy for the past eleven years. I entered therapy at age thirteen for depression and anxiety, which led to me taking medication for comorbid mental illnesses at the same age. At age fourteen I was struggling with an eating disorder and attended a treatment center program where I was the youngest person in attendance. I developed chronic back pain at age fifteen, which led me to use a mobility scooter for accessibility. The pain eventually got so intolerable that I had to leave school and earn my high school diploma through Palm Beach Virtual School. My mental health plummeted during this time, and I was hospitalized for my mental illness.

    Despite all of these traumatic events in my life, I still managed to graduate high school as planned and applied to colleges without help from a guidance counselor. The only help I received throughout those difficult times was my therapist, and for that I will always be grateful. Instead of repressing traumatic events, I worked through them with my therapist. This allowed me to make meaning from said events and my emotions towards them. Therapy also helped me better understand my relationship with myself and with others. Although it is more comfortable to repress trauma, it can show up in different ways – for me, it was manifested in my anxiety, depression, and chronic back pain. When I started working through my trauma in therapy, I was able to experience relief. I hope to make meaning of my negative experiences and turn them into something positive through my work with others, counseling and helping them experience that same relief.

    There is no question that graduate school is a demanding challenge for anyone, especially for a person who suffers from mental illnesses. I plan on managing the rigorousness of the coursework by staying organized, connecting with my professors and classmates, and remembering to ask for help when necessary. I will continue to work on my personal growth through regular sessions with my therapist and psychiatrist, as well as making sure that I have enough time for a mental health day at least once a week. I also plan on living with my emotional support animal, Gene Parmesan, a five-year-old cat whose presence has decreased my anxiety greatly and encouraged me to take care of something other than myself on days I don’t feel like doing either. After receiving my MSW, I hope to receive the certification to become an animal-assisted therapist. As a person with an emotional support animal, I have found animals to be a great source of comfort in life, and I believe that they can provide that same comfort for future clients. The comfort of having an animal nearby can potentially help clients be more comfortable in the mental health setting and be more willing to continue receiving psychotherapy.

    Along with personal experience, my educational and professional qualifications have inspired my future career goals. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and interned one summer at a nonprofit called NoStigmas, an organization dedicated to erasing the stigmas behind mental illness and suicide. During this time, I learned how to properly educate people who had stigmas about mental illness and suicide. The next summer, I interned at a family law firm, where I worked with a diverse population of clients, specifically focusing on collaborative family law. This position prepared me well for the emotions that come with working with underprivileged populations, as many cases dealt with child and spousal abuse. After graduating from college, I started working as a corporate immigration paralegal, representing a diverse range of clients from the England to India. I learned how to better communicate with clients of various races and ethnicities during this time, as part of my job was to be a liaison for the client and attorney. My interest in law, however, was a continuation of my family’s hope for me to go to law school after pursuing my Bachelor’s in Psychology. Based on the number of lawyers in my family, along with my interest in history, I figured that going to law school would be a smart move for my future.

    However, I found myself wishing that I were doing something more aligned with my interests, as I was much happier doing the work at the internship I held in Summer 2014 with NoStigmas. After I was a part of several layoffs at the law firm, I decided it was a sign to pursue my passion of studying social work and helping others. I started babysitting part-time and dog walking in my free time until I felt it was the right time to pursue my career in social work. Through these professional experiences, I learned how to better communicate with clients of various races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and ages, showing my desire to work with vulnerable populations. These experiences also show that I am well prepared to handle the emotional distress that can come with working with said populations. The skills I have developed through my personal and professional experiences align with my chosen concentration of Mental Health and specialization of Sexual Health and Education.

    My chosen concentration and specialization, along with the Brown School’s mission to seek new knowledge and greater understanding of an ever-changing, multicultural world, are ideal for working towards my career goals. Classes I took in undergraduate school called “Sexual Identities Across The Lifespan” and “Love Actually” sparked my special interest in Sexual Health and Education. These classes taught me that sex and sexuality can be complicated, but through working with a sex therapist, one can experience relief from distress related to the subject. My interest in sexual and gender identities is not only educational, but personal as well, as close friends of mine struggle with their gender identities and struggle to find sufficient health care (including therapy) for this reason. In addition, I have an interest in the field education portion of the Brown School’s practicum, specifically the trauma-informed care portion. I am looking forward to learning how to translate the theories and methodologies learned in the classroom intro professional practice to treat clients with trauma. I will use my knowledge, skills, and values learned in school combined with my own life experiences and personal ethics. I plan to use these methods to work with an individual’s different systems, such as their family, environment, community, and society, so as to fully understand and provide the best treatment for my client

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