Spring Series: Spring into Learning

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This semester marks a year since the MA Professional Development and Clinical Training Department started our monthly lunch and learns. Over the year we have been able to connect with so many students (over 300 have attended!) to provide resources and answer questions about the program and practicum. A big thank you to the Clinical Training Coordinators for helping our students!

Here are some of the most common questions that were asked during our Spring into Learning series this Spring semester!

When should I start practicum?

Practicum (662) will be three consecutive semesters (ex: Fall, Spring, Summer). We suggest that practicum be taken the last three semesters of your time at Pepperdine. If you plan backwards from when you want/anticipate graduating, this will help give you an idea of when you need to take practicum and what classes you need to complete to do so. Keep in mind other factors like how many academic classes you will have while in practicum and if you’re working. Some students choose to only be in practicum. Some students take 2-3 classes during practicum. In general, your hours at your practicum site will be around 15 a week, though this is entirely dependent on your site. It’s always a good idea to know what you want your practicum experience to look like when it comes to your schedule and workload.

Once I know what semester I want to start practicum when should I start looking for and applying to practicum sites?

Most sites will accept applications 3-4 months before start date. However, it is never too early to get prepared! Start exploring Handshake to learn more about what a site’s requirements are and to see what sites appeal to you. To find approved Pepperdine sites in Handshake search at the top for “MACLP” to view. Some sites accept volunteers which gives you a chance to gain experience and get a foot in the door. Pepperdine also has a mentor program where we can connect you with a student if they are at a particular site you’re interested in.

What do I need to send when applying?

It depends on the site. On Handshake we provide information for applying to each site. Keep in mind that you do not apply to a site through Handshake. Most likely you will be emailing a contact at a site your resume and cover letter. If you need help with your cover letter and resume we HIGHLY recommend that you schedule a 30 minute appointment with Career Services to help guide you in the right direction. They are experts at wording and revamping any resume, especially for those who have changes careers/fields! Pepperdine also gives students access to LinkedIn Learning where they have a great cover letter tutorial.

What’s the average number of hours a student completes in one term of practicum?

Pepperdine requires that each semester you have a minimum of 30 direct client contact hours and a minimum of 10 weeks of supervision for the Fall and Spring semesters. For the Summer semester Pepperdine requires a minimum of 14 direct client contact hours and 5 weeks of supervision. Students cannot take two Summer sessions of practicum; it is only offered in Summer session 1. These are just the minimum requirements to get credit in your 662 class. To graduate from Pepperdine with your MFT you will need to get 225 hours at your site (150 direct client contact hours and 75 client advocacy hour). If you also want to gain your PCC certificate you will need to get 280 direct client contact hours. Hours between MFT and PCC can be counted together. Please see the student handbook for additional details, including student’s responsibility for maintaining their practicum and BBS paperwork. 

When in doubt….

Always read your student handbook. It provides a great foundation for understanding the ins and outs of the practicum process.

Know that the Clinical Training Coordinators are here to help! They also join each 661 class to help prepare you for practicum, as well as join the 642 class to help prepare you for graduation and applying for your associateship. There are also mentor panels and new student meetings to help give students as much information as possible.

Schedule an Quick Meet with a graduate assistant! Each campus has dedicated GAs who can help guide you through whatever questions you may. We all have to start somewhere, so we welcome any questions!

Other common resources we discussed:

Join CAMFT and a CAMFT Chapter. Being a member allows you opportunities to network with other prelicensed trainees and associates and licensed professionals, as well as provides continuing education through webinars and conferences. They also provide free liability insurance for student members of CAMFT.

The BBS has many resources available to students. When applying for your associate number or licensure watching their Facebook Friday events can be invaluable to giving those on the road to licensure more information. Below are links for handbooks and FAQS for MFT or PCC licensure.

MFTPCC
Requirement InformationRequirement Information
LMFT Handbook 2020LPCC Handbook 2020
FAQFAQ
BBS resources for your road to licensure!

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Launching Your Career Beyond Grad School – January 29, 2021

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On January 29th GSEP’s Career Services and the MACLP Professional Development Department brought students Launching Your Career Beyond Grad School. As students come close to graduation and begin to prepare for their future after school, there are a lot of unanswered questions. This event focused on the ever daunting “WHAT’S NEXT?” and how to be best prepared to answer that question and be successful in the workforce.

Pepperdine’s Career Services helped provide tips for getting organized and thinking through next steps: from how to prepare for a virtual job market to how to make a living wage as a therapist and a lot of stuff in between! Recommended was reflecting on one’s experiences:

  • Where have you been to see where you’re going next?
  • What has changed since you started your program?
  • How has practicum been helpful from you?
  • How has your concept of being a therapist evolved or developed throughout the program? From advocacy, coaching, consulting, to teaching, a lot of students stated that they realized how many avenues and communities of therapists there are.

Defining a professional brand and career objectives is great place to start piecing together what you would want your next steps to look like. Filling out a guide with specific details about what you like and what you want to do helps give definition to your future career. Below are examples of broad answers and specific answers to important questions.

Articulating your career objective is another great way to narrow your focus towards next steps. A career objective is specific and detailed. This is the “Tell me about yourself?” questions in interviews. You will come across as a better candidate when you have a better sense of who you are. It’s marketing, but for yourself! When you know what you want it will also help target your job search verses an unplanned and broad search.

Looking forward to next steps you should be proactive! Instead of being reactive in job searching (i.e., chasing after jobs posted online), make your job search proactive. Being proactive means pursuing jobs that may not even be available. Be intentional about your job search and the services you can provide. Remember that job titles come in a lot of variety and may not just be “licensed therapist”. Research an organization’s mission and values and see if they match your own.

When applying remember to tailor your resume to the job description. Use your career objective and the information you’ve gathered in your research. It’s okay to have many different versions of your resume for different organizations; it’s less effective to use the same resume. Keep in mind that cover letters are still important. They allow you to introduce yourself, why you are a good fit for them, and why they are a good fit for you. Luckily, Career Services provides one on one appointments to help you with this! You can schedule an appointment with them HERE. Career Services can also get your access to Job Scan which helps you tailor your resume to a particular job posting. If you need work on your interviewing skills, try HireVue to practice! Note that the information that you put out on social media speaks to who you are as a mental health professional, as organization will do search on your social media.

Lastly, networking is another way to find people and organizations that you might want to work with. It also allows you access to contacts who can help mentor you through your career. Even through COVID you can still network on LinkedIn, PeppConnect, Facebook groups, professional associations (CAMFT, CALPCC, AAMFT), with professors and your peers! Ask people who are in the industry to chat with you or have coffee (when safe to do so again). This is not to ask them for job, but just to keep you on their radar in case they hear of any job opportunities that might fit you well. Keep up with what they’re doing and offer your time and help to them when you can. Over time these connections can provide a lot of opportunities for you!

Below are additional helpful resources provided to students:

A big thank you to Career Services to joining us and providing our students such valuable information in advancing their careers after graduation!

Fall Series: Spice Up Your Knowledge

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The Pepperdine MACLP Clinical Training team was back with their fall series, Spice Up Your Knowledge. Clinical Training Coordinators, Kathleen Wenger (Irvine), Rebecca Reed (West LA), Harper White (Encino) and Ellie Duck (Malibu) were there each month during to answer all Pepperdine student’s questions! Please keep in mind the that LMFT/LPCC Handbook is a great way to learn more in-depth information about the program! Below were the most commonly asked questions during Spice Up Your Knowledge:

How do I find a practicum site? And, when do I start looking?

  • Each student is responsible for finding and interviewing for their practicum sites. Pepperdine does not automatically assign students to sites.
  • Approved Pepperdine sites can be found on Handshake.
    • Search at the top for “MACLP” to view the MACLP Practicum Sites.
  • We recommend that you start looking for practicum sites as soon as possible, so you can get a feel for their requirements, listed on Handshake, and where you would possibly like to do your practicum hours at.
  • If you’re not quite ready to start practicum, we recommend that you volunteer at a site to get your foot in the door and to experience what working at a particular site that interests you would be like.

Can you work at multiple practicum sites?
Most students only work at one site, but there are a handful who have two sites. Some students will add another site to have a varied population and different experiences or they need to meet the hour requirement for MFT and PCC. Keep in mind most hours will be earned post-degree and your goal is to earn enough hours to graduate.  

What are requirements to graduate? How you can you become dually licensed?

  • Pepperdine’s MACLP program meets the coursework requirement for both MFT and PCC licensure
  • Note you are required to take all prerequisites before entering into practicum (662). Pepperdine requires that all students take 2 full semesters of 662 and 1 summer session. Typically, 662 is only offered in Summer Session 1.
  • Hours do not start accruing until your start the practicum 662 class and have secured a site with a signed 4-Way Agreement between your site and Pepperdine
  • MFT:
    • Hours accrued while in school only count while you are enrolled in practicum AND only count towards MFT licensure.
    • 225 hours are needed through practicum before you graduate and your degree posts. 150 hours must be direct client contact hours and 75 are client advocacy.
    • For licensure: 3,000 hours are required and you must have a minimum of 500 hours with couples, family, and children. Always check the BBS websites listed below for all requirements for applying to become an associate or licensed.
  • PCC:
    • In order to obtain your PCC certificate, you must accrue 280 hours in practicum before your degree posts; these hours do not count towards licensure hours.
    • If your degree posts and you do not have hours 280 hours you cannot obtain your LPCC certificate.
    • PCC hours reset to zero upon obtaining your certificate Pepperdine with your MA in Clinical Psychology.
    • For licensure: A minimum of 150 hours in a public mental health are required. Always check the BBS websites listed below for all requirements for being an associate and licensed.
  • Note in order to graduate your practicum hours don’t have to accrue separately for MFT and PCC.
  • If you are unable to obtain your hours in time, you can request a delay in your degree posting and have 90 days in order to accrue enough hours. Otherwise, you will need to take an additional practicum class.
  • To apply for licensure always reference the BBS requirements. CAMFT’s Road to Licensure is helpful.
    • There will be four sets of applications
      • MFT: one applying for your associate number (within 90 days of graduating), the second when you apply for licensure/to take the exam
      • PCC: one applying for your associate number (within 90 days of graduating), the second when you apply for licensure/to take the exam
    • There are also four different exams:
      • MFT: one law and ethics, one licensure
      • PCC: one law and ethics, one licensure
      • Law and ethics exams are taken upon graduation AND receiving your associate number (for each MFT and PCC)
      • Licensure exams (for each MFT and PCC) are taken once you have met the license requirements for each
      • How to study for the exams: There are several testing organizations and groups (Jerry Grossman, Caldwell Testing Materials, Career Development Center). Being a member of CAMFT you’ll have access to their publications and different groups that offer help preparing for exams. The MFT Guide Facebook page is a community of people going through the licensure/testing process. Also, become a part of social media groups (our favorites are listed below)
    • It typically takes 1-2.5 years to complete your required 3000 hours for licensure

What’s the difference between MFT and LPCC?

  • Great job opportunities: there are around 150,000 LPCCs throughout the country vs. 60,000 MFTs.
  • LPCC licensure in CA makes it easier to become licensed in other states that don’t have LMFTs.
  • From a marketing standpoint, people only see marriage and family when reading MFT. PCC opens up and broadens your outreach to clients and your marketability.
  • If you wanted to teach in a program – being dually licensed is more advantageous.

Other helpful resources that were shared are below!

Thank you to students for attending and asking such engaging questions!

Clinical Connections: Maintaining Clinician Wellness in Uncertain Times October 30, 2020

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On October 30, 2020 virtual attendees joined Baaba Hawthorne, LMFT the Clinical Director in Los Angeles of Two Chairs to learn about how we can help support ourselves during uncertain times. 2020 came with a lot of overwhelming stressors, may that be from a pandemic, racial injustice, political unrest, financial insecurity, or other life events.

At times these stressors have led us to have to have difficult conversations. Baaba’s suggested to navigate through these conversations by creating emotional safety, acknowledging issues can be personal and validating and normalizing our feelings. Mental health providers are both personally and professionally having conversations about how difficult these times are, leaving some to be subject to burnout. Trying to keep up with constant demands can lead one to feel physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. Healthcare professionals can experience low energy, lack of motivation, impaired cognitive function, ineffective communication and compassion fatigue. Patients could then have a negative experiences with providers or receive poor care.

To help manage provider wellness and burnout Baaba discussed a handful coping strategies. Mindfulness as a way to help interpret the body’s stress response and pay attention to the present moment in a non-judgemental way. Acknowledging that we have stressful thoughts, but instead of getting rid of them we should observe when the mind wanders to these thoughts and gently guide ourselves back to the present moment without judgement of ourselves. Engaging each of our five senses at the present moment can help guide us as well. Other tips are meditation and diaphragmatic breathing. Reframing by way of self-compassion allows us to also examine our “thinking traps”. Taking time for ourselves is another helpful way to recharge. This could include time to exercise, taking PTO or getting in some much needed sleep. Seeing one’s own therapist to learn coping skills from a professional is a great way to also help in these times of stress.

Ultimately, Baaba emphasized embracing emotions, focusing on what you can control, becoming a joy seeker and telling people how you’re feeling and how they can help you. She reminded us all that it is okay that we don’t have it all together and we need to give ourselves permission to feel overwhelmed. Thank you Baaba for your wonderful presentation on how we can help ourselves when facing difficult times!

Clinical Psych Doctoral Admissions: An Applicant’s Perspective – Jessilyn Froelich September 19, 2020

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On Saturday, September 19th, attendees got the opportunity to learn about clinical psychology doctoral applications. Jessilyn Froelich of The Daily Psych blog presented her perspective and knowledge of the application and admission process. Jessilyn is a clinical research assistant, study therapist, lecturer, and blogger currently preparing applications for clinical psychology PhD programs. Her research interests include maternal trauma, childhood development, attachment, and dissemination of effective treatments. She also teaches various psychology courses as a lecturer at San Jose State University and work as a clinical research assistant at the National Center for PTSD.

Jessilyn’s goal is to help provide resources and advice to those looking to start their doctoral path, and her presentation did not disappoint! Students received a wealth of firsthand knowledge about both PsyD and PhD admissions; the below bullet points outline some of the insight Jessilyn presented:

  • Be sure to gather information from multiple sources
  • Use your best judgement to figure out what approach and program works best for you
  • Break out what you want your career looks like (ie. 60% research, 10% teaching, 20% clinical, etc)
  • Gain research experience and build strong relationships with faculty and those in research

PsyD programs tend to follow the practitioner-scholar model of training, with an emphasis on understanding research but focus on clinical practice. These programs are generally completed in four years. PhD programs tend to follow the clinical science or scientist-practitioner model of training, with an emphasis on both research and clinical work. They take an average of six years to complete.

In looking at PsyD programs, Jessilyn recommended choosing one that is within a larger university system and is APA accredited. That their APA internship match rate and licensure rates are high. Pepperdine’s PsyD program has both and is ranked #6 PsyD program in the US! Their program has an emphasis on science-informed, evidence-based practice with an appreciation for multicultural context and cultural adaptation. Application requirements include: a master’s degree in psychology or a relevant field, GRE, two professional recommendations, 5-8 autobiographical paper, and clinical and research experience. If you’re looking to apply for Fall 2021, application deadline are as follows: Priority Deadline: November 15th, 2019. Final Deadline: January 6th, 2020. To find out more about Pepperdine’s PsyD program click HERE  

As Jessilyn is a currently preparing her PhD applications, she helped students gain better expectations of what it takes to apply and get into a doctoral program. She recommended that mentorship be gained from a professor or researcher with knowledge of the doctoral admission process. It is highly advised to have 1-2 years of research experience, have a publication as first author (if possible), and have statistics training. Start with looking for programs that are APA accredited, as well as ones where you feel you would fit with the faculty research. Reach out to faculty, previous grad students, and program coordinators as way to gain more information about a particular program, as well as build relationships and gain research opportunities.

Relationships that you build throughout schooling and work will help you gain not only experience, but they could be led to someone who could potentially write a letter of recommendation that speaks to who you are as a person and your capabilities. If you can get a positive and detailed letter of recommendation, you’re that much better off. Lastly, when looking at writing your personal statement for an application considering using statement journaling to help define things like: your scientific values, what you hope to contribute to the field, firm up your research interests, and what skill you already have.

The most important thing to take home is that if you’re applying to a doctoral program, do your homework on the process and figure out where you’d like your career to go, what your research interests are, and what it will take to get you there. Having research experience and strong relationships with faculty and other researchers is will help set a good foundation towards admittance into a program. The path towards a doctoral program can be cumbersome, but Jessilyn’s thoroughness and honesty helped build achievable expectations for our Pepperdine students.  Thank you, Jessilyn!

Additional Resources:

Other resources:

Private Practice Visit with Carly Ketchum, MA, MA, LMFT – August 28, 2020

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Our August 28th virtual Private Practice event had a fantastic turnout from students across all Pepperdine MACLP campuses, both on-ground and online students! An upwards of 80 attendees came to hear from Pepperdine adjunct professor and alumni, Carly Ketchum, MA, MA, LMFT who shared her experience on how to have your own private practice. 

Carly shared the three biggest obstacles she had to overcome in starting and building her private practice and how she navigated them.

First, she discussed that marketing doesn’t have to feel like pushy self-promotion.  It is actually a great way to show people that you have something to offer them as a therapist that they wouldn’t otherwise know about. Marketing is simply a way of letting people know that your services exist. That, “it could be that counseling with you is exactly with someone else needs to change their lives”. She prompted attendees to think and share services that had no idea about, that turned out to be benefit their lives, if it hadn’t been for their marketing.

Carly’s enthusiasm and passion for the field was an inspiration for students!

Next she the importance of having a niche that you work with when you first start out. It is easier to get referrals for your services if other people know what you are about as a therapist. She provided the following questions to help stimulate how you think about your self-promotion: what kinds of clients do you see, what trends are you seeing, what modalities or theoretical orientations do you work with, or is there a particular problem you like working with? Having a less generalized answer to these questions can help people to see your passion about your work as a therapist and want to refer to you.

Lastly, Carly discussed how setting boundaries can make running your own practice easier in the long run. She stressed having the mindset of following the policies you set for your business, as if you were an employee of the business who needs to follow the rules that have been set. Setting boundaries on what your budget is, how many sliding scale clients you accept, your cancellation policy, when you do your charting/paperwork, and having structure of how your practice works are all good ways to know exactly what your expectations are when clients are asking you questions.

The biggest thing Carly wanted everyone to know is that we have a valuable skill set. That people will be so glad that they found you and get to work with you. We aren’t just good listeners; we have training, education and experience to help change someone’s life.

Summer Series: Lunch, Lemonade & Learn

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Our Summer Lunch, Lemonade and Learn series was a great success! With the quickly changing professional environment we are all working in, students came with a lot of questions for our Clinical Training Coordinators, Kathleen Wenger, Rebecca Reed, Harper White and Ellie Duck.

Through all meetings this summer, the Clinical Training coordinators emphasized the importance of the LMFT/LPCC Handbook. It’s a wealth of information to help start you off with a good foundation of what the MACLP program requires of its students from coursework, practicum hours, and rules/regulations for hours towards licensure.

Where to get the ball rolling before practicum was of great interest to attendees. Here is some helpful information:

  • Familiarize yourself with the LMFT/LPCC Handbook for a better understanding of the program and its requirements. The student handbook will be getting a revision for the 2020-2021 school year. Please contact your Clinical Training Coordinator for the most recent handbook.
  • Explore Handshake to look for practicum sites
    • In Handshake search at the top for “MACLP” to view the MACLP Practicum Sites
    • See if a potential practicum site that you want to be at accepts volunteers. This gives you a chance to gain experience and get a foot in the door
  • Set up a quick meet with a graduate assistant to get your questions answered
  • Use our mentor program to talk to other students about their practicum site experience
  • The Pepperdine M.A. Psychology Clinical Training & Professional Development Departments hosts career fairs at the beginning of the year. This is an opportunity for you to meet many site representatives in one place
  • There are also practicum fairs where practicum students and pre-practicum students meet to discuss the practicum experience
  • Career Services have helpful resources; they can help with resume and orient it towards new people in field
  • Interview now, if you can, and ask sites when they’ll be accepting new trainees

Other practicum tips:

  • Students can work full time and still find practicum sites. Hours tend to be in the evenings or on the weekend. If you’re in LA ask Rebecca Reed about the list of sites she has that are more flexible for full time working students.
  • As of August 2020, trainees and associates are able to see clients and receive supervision via telehealth; some sites are starting back on-ground. *This is subject to change to follow guidelines put forth by the BBS and the state of California in regards to the pandemic.  
  • COVID safety for practicum students: addendums are in place for safety of Pepperdine students that state sites are following necessary COVID safety protocols and what they will be
  • Make sure you have completed all prerequisites for practicum – this includes: 600, 606, 612, 623, 637, 639 & 661
    • When you take practicum is dependent on you. There are four semesters of classes, including pre-practicum (1) and practicum (3). Work backwards from when you want to graduate and then think about what has to be done going backwards. Map out your courses out accordingly to make sure you’ve taken your prerequisites
  • Practicum sites are available throughout the year
  • MACLP students are responsible for keeping track of the original copies of their paperwork, especially for the BBS. Pepperdine only keeps copies.
  • CAMFT also provides student liability insurance to its members. More info can be found HERE

The differences between PCC and MFT were of great interest to everyone. Here are some helpful pieces of information:

  • Benefits of being dually licensed:
    • Great job opportunities: there are around 150,000 LPCCs throughout the country vs. 60,000 MFTs.
    • LPCC licensure in CA makes it easier to become licensed in other states that don’t have LMFTs.
    • From a marketing standpoint, people only see marriage and family when reading MFT. PCC opens up and broadens your outreach to clients and your marketability
    • If you wanted to teach in a program – being dually licensed is more advantageous
  • How you can you become dually licensed?
    • Pepperdine’s MACLP program meets the coursework requirement for both MFT and PCC licensure
    • MFT:
      • Hours accrued while in school only count while you are enrolled in practicum AND only count towards MFT licensure.
      • 225 hours are needed through practicum before you graduate and your degree posts
      • For licensure: you must have a minimum of 500 hours with couples, family, and children. Check the BBS websites listed below for all requirements.
    • PCC:
      • PCC hours can be accrued AFTER you obtain your certificate upon graduating from Pepperdine with your MA in Clinical Psychology.
      • In order to obtain your PCC certificate, you must accrue 280 hours in practicum before your degree posts; these hours do not count towards licensure hours.
      • If your degree posts and you do not have hours 280 hours you cannot obtain your LPCC certificate.
      • For licensure: a minimum of 150 hours in a public mental health are required. Check the BBS websites listed below for all requirements.
    • Note in order to graduate your practicum hours don’t have to accrue separately for MFT and PCC.
    • If you are unable to obtain your hours in time, you can request a delay in your degree posting
    • To apply for licensure:
      • There will be four sets of applications
        • MFT: one applying for your associate number, the second when you apply for licensure/to take the exam
        • PCC: one applying for your associate number, the second when you apply for licensure/to take the exam
      • There are also four different exams:
        • MFT: one law and ethics, one licensure
        • PCC: one law and ethics, one licensure
        • Law and ethics exams are taken upon graduation AND receiving your associate number (for each MFT and PCC)
        • Licensure exams (for each MFT and PCC) are taken once you have met the licenses requirements and hours
        • How to study for the exams: There are several testing organizations and groups (Jerry Grossman, Caldwell Testing Materials, Career Development Center). Being a member of CAMFT you’ll have access to their publications and different groups that offer help preparing for exams. MFT Guide Facebook page. Become a part of social media groups.
      • It typically takes 1-2.5 years to complete your required 3000 hours for licensure
  • BBS Websites that contain all requirements for licensure:

We want to make your Pepperdine experience as stress-free as possible. The Clinical Training Coordinators and their Graduate Assistants are here to help you through every step of the process!

Our information series will be continuing through the Fall Semester for Pepperdine students, stay tuned for additional insights!

Clinical Connections: A Self-Compassion Approach to Disordered Eating – May 21, 2020

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Our first virtual Clinical Connection was held via Zoom on May 21st! It included over forty attendees from all four Pepperdine campuses. This event was a personal reflection from our speakers Melissa Boswell, MA and Meg McGuire on self-compassion in disordered eating. Melissa teaches Group Therapy and Interpersonal Skills at the GSEP Irvine campus and has 33 years of recovery from an eating disorder. Meg is a current Pepperdine student in the MACLP program and is in recovery herself.

The event started with the statistic that anorexia is the third most common chronic illness in adolescents, after asthma and obesity. It also has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, even more than depression. Disordered eating is such a prevalent condition that it needs to be discussed more, as 70% of those with an eating disorder will not seek treatment due to the stigma, shame and the secrecy that comes with it. Both speakers brought their firsthand knowledge to the event to provide an overview of what factors can lead to disordered eating. Through the book “Eating in the Light of the Moon,” by Anita Johnston PhD they discussed how those trapped in an eating disorder experience a painful cycle of unrelenting self-criticism, negative body image, unhealthy eating behaviors, and shame. Disordered eating can stem from an emotionally intelligent child observing unstable family dynamics and being rejected for voicing their perceptions. Emotional and physical boundaries are also unstable. This leads to a false self and denial of authenticity as one works to appear perfect to please the family who rejects them. Obsession over food, calories and exercise take the place of emotional family support, negative feelings are pushed down with
food. Being unable to express themselves they get stuck in the cycle of losing weight to fix emotional problems.

Melissa and Meg’s personal experiences encouraged a discussion about strategies which can help mitigate self-destructive patterns, including:
• Shifting the focus from shame to empowerment
• Replacing the harsh inner critic with self-compassion and curiosity
• Somatic interventions for reducing negative self-talk
• Calming the nervous system and regulating emotions in triggering situations
• Daily suggestions of: yoga and body movement, meal planning, daily support with other people, individual/group therapy (include EMDR and CBT), meditation, positive affirmations, breaking habitual patterns, finding and cultivating your own passions, boundaries/assertive skills/communication skills, and learning to say “no”
• Knowing that unlike other additions, you cannot choose to abstain from eating. Finding a good certified dietician can help
• Realize that every disorder has very different set of rules, where emotional and food triggers vary vastly from person to person
• Recovery is a labyrinth and progress is not linear

Thanks to our wonderful speakers, this event was insightful, information and engaging!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

SUPPORT GROUPS
For people who struggle with Anorexia or Bulimia:
Eating Disorder Anonymous (free self-help meetings.)
National Eating Disorders (wide variety of support groups)
Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous 12 Step Meetings (free self-help meetings)

For people who struggle with Binge Eating:
Overeaters Anonymous 12 Step Meetings (binge eaters/compulsive)
Weight Watchers (unlimited virtual workshops and digital access to app for easy-to-use tools to help you reach your goals) *Caution: WW is not helpful for people in acute phases of an eating disorder like bulimia and anorexia, especially if the client has an obsession with losing weight, and they already are at a normal body size.

EATING DISORDER WEBSITE
Eating Recovery Center

BOOKS
“Eating in the Light of the Moon,” by Anita Johnston, PhD
“8 Keys to Recovering from an Eating Disorder,” by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Grabb
“Powerful Thoughts”, by Louise Hay
Eating Disorders Anonymous

Doctoral Roundtable – March 12, 2020

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On March 12th, six students attended the Doctoral Roundtable with Dr. Ashleigh Louis and Dr. Jerrian Peters. The students were very happy to have a more intimate setting as they were able to dialogue back and forth with Dr. Ashleigh Louis and Dr. Jerriann Peters. The following is a list of questions students came prepared with: 

  1. What is the main difference between a Ph.D. and a Psy.D.?
  2. How many years were you a licensed MFT before you pursued your doctorate?
  3. How did you keep up with your social life?
  4. What is the shift like being a master’s student compared to a doctoral student?
  5. What does it mean for a program to be APA accredited?
  6. Is it worth it to get your 3000 hours as an MFT if you are planning on pursuing a doctorate?
  7. Would I be more limited if I was only licensed as an MFT?
  8. How do you make yourself competitive to get into a doctoral program?
  9. Do you have any tips on financial aid or financial help?
  10. Is the doctoral program full time?

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Both speakers are current professors in the Pepperdine Irvine graduate program; the following paragraphs are brief summaries of their journey through mental health.

Dr. Ashleigh Louis’ experience is along the Ph.D. track.  She pursued her masters at Chapman University and her Ph.D. at Capella.  She has been licensed as an LMFT since 2012.  She did a vast majority of her hours in the schools; she worked at elementary schools, high schools, and community colleges. Teaching was her primary goal while she was in her Ph.D. program.  After all those years with kids, she realized that her true passion was working with individual adults with anxiety and ADHD.  So two years in, she decided to work towards licensure, she just finished her second 3000 hours to be licensed as a Psychologist.  She did those hours exclusively in private practice.  

Dr. Jerriann Peters’ experience is with the Psy.D. track.  She received her masters and Psy.D. from Alliant University and finished in 2013.  She has a private practice in Orange, she also works at the Village of Hope as a therapist where she also runs a women’s support group.   She supervises at Anchor Tides Recovery, she has also supervised at Loma Linda and the Pepperdine clinic.  She completed her 3000 MFT hours at the Pepperdine clinic and finished in 2009.  She identifies as a narrative therapist.  She has been teaching at Pepperdine since 2014.  

 

Doctoral Roundtable November 12, 2019

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Doctoral Roundtable

November 12, 2019

Speakers: Dr. Kim Cox, Dr. Shannon Wilson, Dr. Kristen Miller-Burton

In a packed room at the Irvine Graduate Campus, the doctoral roundtable began with students ready with their questions for the panel. Questions that were asked included: 

  1. “How important is having research experience prior to getting your PhD?”
  2. “What are the options for continuing with the Masters/MFT track and then wanting to get your PsyD?”
  3. How did you afford your doctorates? 
  4. If you could go back, would you still get your doctorate degrees?

Dr. Kim Cox’s experience is along the PhD track, she pursued her MAP degree here at Pepperdine University and realized along the way that she was interested in remaining in academia, got her PhD and has been working as a researcher/professor ever since. She is a full-time faculty member at another university and has published two textbooks, one published this year! She notes that your doctorate program will be harder than a Master’s as it is focused around independent-study rather than guided assignments. You have to be very self-motivated to stay on track, in regards to the dissertation,“if you’ve only written chapter one in a year, no one’s going to be telling you to hurry up”.Dr. Shannon Wilson also began her journey on the MAP track at Pepperdine University and then continued onto the PsyD program. For her, she knew she wanted to do assessments so the PsyD program was more suited to her interests and future career path. Her comment is to make sure students are aware of the time and money commitment that goes into your doctorate programs. Dr. Kristen Miller-Burton received her MACLP/MFT degree from Pepperdine University. She then began counseling within the school system and after continuing her career, is now pursuing her PhD. The professors helped ease the anxious minds of the students who are trying to sort out the rest of their academic journeys. In regards to funding, they discussed other options including grants and scholarships. One of the biggest emphasis points was to do your research in choosing a school, finding a format that fits your schedule as well as financially and geographically.