Month: March 2014

Career Connections 2014: Irvine Graduate Campus March 26, 4 – 6 p.m.

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If you missed the Career Connections event at the West LA campus, you’re still in luck — GSEP Career Services and M.A. Psychology and Psy.D. Clinical Training are bringing this volunteer, practicum, and employment fair to the Irvine campus on March 26.

As of March 13, the following attendees are confirmed with more to come!

Boys and Girls Clubs of Garden Grove

Bridge Teen

California Youth Services

Casa de La Familia

The Center Long Beach

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Hope House

Irvine Unified School District

Laura’s House

Outreach Concern

Pepperdine Community Counseling Center

Providence Community Services

Pryde Program

The Salvation Army

Turning Point Center for Families

The Weichman Clinic

Western Youth Services


Separating Fact and Fiction in the Nutritional Treatment of Eating Disorders

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Check out this great upcoming event!

“Separating fact from fiction in the nutritional treatment of ED”
Presented by Sherry Fixelle, RD

We will be looking at the beliefs we hold as clinicians about food and eating and where these beliefs originate to try to better understand how our patients develop their ideas about food and body image. We will look at how tightly our patients hold onto their beliefs when in their eating disorders. And in spite of developing a relationship with our clients they will go to great lengths to keep their diseases. We will discuss honesty and trust and the lack there of. And look at the popular ways our client try to manipulate an entire team and family into keeping their disorders. And how to combat these maneuvers without destroying rapport.


Participants will be better able to:

-Request appropriate documents and tests from/for clients who present with allergies, sensitivities, or diseases that limit food choices
-Describe the physiology of Celiac disease and its prevalence rates
-Treat ED clients who claim to have Celiac and do not have the illness
-Treat ED clients who have been told they have Celiac and don’t have it
-Treat ED clients that do have Celiac Disease.
-Will be better able to educate families and the other healthcare providers on the team the importance of including as much variety as possible into a healing clients meal plan. Especially if there is no medical reason not to include it.


Sherry Fixelle RD
Sherry has been in practice for 20 years treating eating disorders. She graduated Hunter College in NYC and began working at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s Psychiatric Institute and then the Cardiac Care Unit where she and Dr.Oz founded the Complementary Care Center at Columbia Presbyterian. She has been featured on television with appearances on The Montel Williams Show, Prime Time Live and Freedom Speaks, and in multiple articles in publications like Vogue, The Village Voice and ReNew Magazines. She currently has a private practice in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, California and consults at Ocean Recovery; a transitional living program for substance abuse and eating disorder recovery.

When: Friday, March 14, 9-11 am

Where: National University, 3390 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa

Click here for registration

Student Spotlight with Sergio Enriquez

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Interview by Courtney Crisp


Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Sergio Enriquez and I am a police officer for the City of Santa Ana, 22 years of service. I was born in Los Angeles, but raised in Downey, CA. I live in Santa Ana with my wife Liz and my 13-year-old daughter Savina.

What brought you to Pepperdine/the field of psychology?

With respect to psychology, I like to think that psychology chose me and not the other way around. I served 17 years before I decided to back to school to pursue my undergrad in psychology. After reaching the halfway point of my career, I wanted to study a discipline that would enhance my understanding of people in general, as well as being able to understand my own experiences.

I selected Pepperdine because of its reputation amongst professionals in the mental health field, as well as the flexibility in class schedules.

What are you hoping to do/who are you hoping to work with after you receive your Pepperdine degree?

I would like to obtain a PsyD so I can work with the law enforcement community in selecting new recruits, create wellness programs, and work with peer support groups during critical incidents.

What has been your favorite Pepperdine class so far and why?

Anne Kerbrat’s group therapy class (PSY 606). I appreciated getting to know everyone in class at a level that I may never again experience. I also enjoyed the diversity of our respective backgrounds. It gave me an opportunity to be an ambassador of law enforcement, thereby embracing the opportunity to show another side of my profession.

What have you learned from other students at Pepperdine?

That diversity in ideas with the ability to be open can yield far more learning than you ever intended.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two…”stand up for what’s right, even if you stand alone”

“It’s not about how hard you get knocked down, it’s about how fast you get up”

Who has been the biggest influence on your life?

My father because he taught me about staying true to my word.

What might people be surprised to know about you?

Two things – I love taking care of my trees and I’m a book hoarder.

Where is your go-to relaxation spot on your nights off?

The dinner table with my wife and daughter.

What is your favorite food?

 Anything that goes well with red wine.

Psychology Twitter Accounts Worth Following

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By: Eric Ruffing, MFT Student

Following athletes, celebs & news gets most of the attention on twitter but there are some very important accounts for students of psychology to follow. All of the links below offer daily “tweets” you should be aware of, APA for example has at least 11 accounts and all APA divisions have their own accounts as well. Resources such as SAGE and Elsevier also tweet regarding their latest articles. Having some of these accounts in your feed will help your research, career, education, lecture info and grant finding.

American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists

American Counseling Association: The American Counseling Association is the world’s largest association for professional counselors.

American Psychological Foundation: Transforming the Future Through Psychology


APA Convention: The APA Annual Convention, Washington, DC August 7 – 10, 2014

APA Divisions: The Division Services Office of the American Psychological Association serves the 54 APA divisions or interest areas. Connect, Network, and Grow!

APA of Graduate Students: The magazine of @APAGradStudents‬. Covering mental health research, fun facts & tips for surviving life as a psychology grad student.

APA Help Center: Tips, news and talk about stress, mind-body health, behaviors and emotional well-being from the American Psychological Association.

APA Monitor: The flagship magazine of the American Psychological Association. Covering all the wacky, weird and wonderful things humans do.

APA Practice: Advancing and protecting the practice of psychology, the APA Practice Organization promotes the professional interests of practicing psychologists.

APA PsycNET: APA delivers its electronic research databases on APA PsycNET. You can research psychology topics across journals, books, reviews, tests, gray lit, and more.

APA Style: Official tweet companion to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition.

APS: A nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of scientific psychology & its representation at the national & international level.

CA Psychological Association: Chief Executive Officer, CA Psychological Association. Interests: association leadership, what makes organizations tick, group facilitation

California Psychological Association of Graduate Students:

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists: California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, mental health experts, therapist and counselor finder.

Elsevier: Elsevier’s official Twitter channel. Connecting communities and sharing stories in science, technology and health.

Elsevier Psychology: Official page for Elsevier Psychology. Follow us for general psychology news, as well as info & discounts on our related products.

Grad Psych: The magazine of APA Grad Students. Covering mental health research, fun facts & tips for surviving life as a psychology grad student.

National Institute of Health: Office of Behavior and Social Sciences Research: OBSSR furthers the mission of NIH by emphasizing the critical role that behavioral and social factors play in health.

Neuroscience: Latest news, research, books and journal articles in neuroscience, neurology, psychology and alzheimer’s disease.

Psychology News: Psychology headlines from around the world.

Psychology Press: Keeping you up-to-date with news, offers, and more from psychology books and journals. Part of the Taylor & Francis Group.

Psychology Today: Everybody’s Favorite Subject: Ourselves

Psi Chi: Psi Chi is the International Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, & maintaining excellence.

SAGE Health Research: Follow us for the latest research in public health and health services, as well as general news items of interest.

SAGE Neurology: Follow us for the latest info in neurology and neuroscience, as well as general news items of interest.

SAGE Psychology: ‏The latest info on SAGE psychology books and journals, as well as general news items of interest.

US Department of Health and Human Services: News and info from U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

Five Websites Worthy of Your Bookmarks Toolbar

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By: Katy Byrom, GA

Graduate Study Online. For those looking to forge ahead toward a doctorate, this online database provides detailed comparisons across all APA accredited doctoral programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology. In addition to basic application requirements and program costs, students can find in-depth information on each program’s admission criteria (average GRE scores, GPA, etc.), acceptance rates, areas of research and clinical interests, funding opportunities, as well as how far the program leans toward research or practice on a 7 point scale (with 3 signaling an equal emphasis). $19.95 will give your 3 months of access.

+gradPSYCH blog. Hosted by the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), this approachable blog offers lots of food for thought for psych students at every level of education. Topics range from self-care to how to “Deal with an Advisor who is like Voldemort.” For those who wish to try their hand as a word slinger, relevant guest submissions relevant (e.g. those that are topically related to psychology and/or grad school) are welcome!

Social Psychology Network. This page compiles links from across various psychological organizations offering resources and discounted membership to psychology students. It’s a great starting place to search for upcoming conferences, scholarships, and networking opportunities.

Research at Pepperdine University. This page lists the many ways for students to get involved in research across Pepperdine. Research opportunities are listed by college to help students narrow their search. Check out the many potential placements listed under GSEP!

MFT Practicum Preparation. This site hosts the knowledge and materials you need to prepare for practicum and land your placement at a qualified site. It also provides links to other sites offering professional development resources for MA Psychology students.

Research Corner: Interviewing Sarah Knapp

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by Courtney Crisp

For those hoping to transition from a Pepperdine Master’s into a psychology doctorate program, gaining research experience can be one of the most important experiences most people don’t have a clue in how to go about getting. Sarah Knapp knew she needed research to be a competitive applicant for a doctoral program but had no idea where to start. But through persistence, a polished CV, and some serious online sleuthing, she is now a Research Assistant at the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Research Lab at UC San Diego. Below is a window into her research experiences.


If you could tell your former, research position-hunting self one thing knowing what you know now, what would it be?

Breathe and ask yourself what you want. I was so focused on getting research experience that I skipped over the most important part—what do I want to learn and what topics speak to me? I am very happy that I have ended up where I am, but could have saved a bit of time by worrying less and trusting myself. Doctoral programs are very competitive and I felt rushed to figure everything out quickly. I have not been let down once since I focused my interest and stopped rushing things.

What made you head down the research-hunting path in the first place?

It really wasn’t something that was on my radar for quite some time! I was finishing up my BA and decided to apply to Alliant’s PsyD program. I received a rejection for not having any research experience and so reluctantly started the searching process. I had no idea that I would end up wanting to pursue a career in research and aiming toward a PhD instead.

How did you find the process of searching for a position?

For me, the process was more difficult than it needed to be. When I found out that I needed this experience for grad school, I panicked! Thankfully, necessity forced me to get out there and figure out how to get into a lab. Those I have worked with/for have been happy to have the help and generous to share their experience with me.

How do you like your position now?  

I love my position now! Today I realized that I had been at the lab for hours and hadn’t checked the clock once! I am grateful to have finally found my passion and equally grateful to be in a positive environment with like-minded and professional people who have gone out of their way to help me learn.

What is your favorite thing about research and/or your current position?

I have really enjoyed getting to learn about fMRI’s. We are conducting part our current study from a computer monitor while the participant is in the fMRI so that we can study the brain as they complete a computer task. Neuropsychology was completely foreign to me up until 7 months ago and I love being able to see this side of things. I really enjoy research that uses a combination of things (behavioral tasks, fMRI’s, self-report) to analyze the person/behavior from all sides. It has given me a more multifaceted understanding of people’s behavior (in this case anxiety). It has been really rewarding to begin the data analysis side of things, as well.

How do you think your RA position will be useful to you in a doctorate program and beyond?

I think it will be extremely useful! The lab that I work at now is really somewhere that I could see myself long-term. Best-case scenario, I would be able to attend a doctoral program with a lab that is as similar to my current lab as possible.

 I am fortunate to work for a wonderful doctoral student in the UCSD/SDSU Joint doctoral program who is helping me learn everything from participant selection through phone screening to carrying out the study protocol to analyzing the data and presenting research findings. I was fortunate to begin my RA position as she began this particular study for her dissertation and have been able to see the process unfold from the beginning. I think this has given me a really well rounded picture of the whole process and will definitely be of great value when I am able to conduct my own research.

What would you suggest prospective research assistants look for in a potential research lab?

It sounds so obvious, but find a lab most in tune with your personal interest. I was so focused on getting experience immediately, that I felt I was lucky to get in anywhere. The truth is that there are plenty of labs out there that are happy to take on research assistants. I learned this after I moved from a lab that was not such a good fit to a lab that was. There are so many labs and I think it is much better to work in a lab that is in line with your future goals than one that will just get you “experience.” It will be so much more enjoyable too!

What is one do and one don’t for the RA interview?

I actually talked to our Lab Coordinator about this one. She said that a good GPA helps, but most importantly a genuine interest in the research that the lab is currently conducting is most important. They don’t want you to be under stimulated, and an interest in the research can trump experience if you are willing and excited to learn.

A big don’t is over disclosure. Although it may be true and tempting to state that your interest stems from personal or familial experience, that is better to keep as a private motivation; especially if the lab deals with any kind of psychopathology.

Evolution of Psychotherapy 2013: A View from the Student Seats

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By Katy Byrom, GA

Bounding into the Anaheim Convention Center for the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference this past November, I felt as if I had stepped through the looking glass. All of a sudden, the personalities I had read about in my basic theory textbooks were sharing the same line for the ladies’ room. It was difficult at times not to be star struck; “Hi, Marsha! I just loved you in that DBT demonstration!” Recapping the experience with some fellow Pepperdine students who were also in attendance – all of us new to field after switching gears from a previous career path – it is plain that this conference will go down in our memory books as the one that reeled us in.

  evolution 1

The microcosm that is the Evolution of Psychotherapy is so well crafted that it often feels as big as the field itself – CBT, DBT, mindfulness-based therapy, Buddhist psychology, positive psychology, hypnosis, neuropsychology, child, couples, and family psychology were all seated at the table. At certain times, the dinner conversation got contentious, as with the debate between Scott Miller and Steven Hayes over whether technique or the ability to adapt to client feedback is the secret ingredient within effective therapy. At other times, things got quirky, as when Bill O’Hanlon demonstrated the power of group think by showing a clip of a lone rebel, who –engaged in some awkward rhythmic-type flailing at the edge of a reggae concert – started a dance revolution among the crowd that first trickled in to mock him, but then flocked to avoid being left out of the fun. Sometimes things got pretty out there, as with Ernest Rossi, whose ideas on the epigenetics of creating new consciousness are so big that even he got lost amid the beautiful expanse. There were moments of genuine sweetness, as in every time the Gottmans were in the same room together. There were some squirm-worthy moments as well, like when a certain member of the audience attempted to commandeer the entire post-presentation Q&A to plug his nascent manuscript on abuses of power within clinical practice (Note: Don’t be that conference attendee). Fortunately, to re-center yourself, you could simply meander down the hall to where Jack Kornfield was emanating the deep and ancient glow of the compassionate Buddhist.

evolution 2

Among the takeaways from this year’s conference is that it’s an exciting time to want to be a therapist, although it’s difficult to know whether the field is burgeoning with a wave of new findings from neuroscience or dying out – an impending casualty of insufficiently trained therapists operating under the burden of managed care. I suppose it depends on which room you’re seated in – the one where Daniel Siegel is unriddling the adolescent brain with the jubilance of a Halleluiah chorus, or the one where Scott Miller is inciting an emergency mobilization around the elephant in the room – namely, that therapy is no more effective today than it was 60 years ago. Despite the shaky view of the future of psychotherapy, the torrent of ideas waltzing and colliding across the ballrooms of the expansive Anaheim Convention Center left me reeling with anticipation at being among the next generation to jump into the fray and help determine the direction in which the field will shift.

evolution 3

For me, the definite highlight was the generosity of spirit sprinkled over the conference attendees by the older generations – Minuchin, Meichenbaum, Yalom, and Beck, among others – who still very clearly relished the mystery of what happens between therapist and client. Having long ago carved out their places within the field, they had nothing to prove, but much to give away in terms of wisdom accrued over the decades of working as clinicians and researchers. It seemed that those personalities whose reputations warranted the greatest reverence did the most to demystify their practices and laugh at themselves. Don Meichenbaum, for instance, insisted that he learned all he needed to know from the 1980’s T.V. sleuth Columbo, and repeatedly offered that the best skill a therapist could have is the ability to play dumb. Salvador Minuchin promised to show us at least half of everything he knew in 7 minutes. I cannot say whether he accomplished this feat, but he made an impression with his ability to help families deeply entrenched in a particular way of interacting to see each other anew. Irvin Yalom, with his masterful narrative style, told stories from inside the therapy room, where he seemed to revel in the experience of shape-shifting between existential healer and confounded novice (often within the course of a single session) as he fielded the unique challenges posed to him by clients young and old. Then there was the venerable Aaron Beck, up-close-and personal via Skype, whose work in integrating cognitive theory to apply to diverse populations is still very much at the forefront of ushering in the next evolution of psychotherapy. Apart from their remarkably keen minds and prolific bodies of work, what impressed me about each of these speakers was their humanity – their capacity to look with the eyes of a child to discover the unique strengths of each client. Drinking in the wisdom of these giants, I felt a sense of urgency to prepare myself for living up to the privilege of standing upon their shoulders.

Want a further taste of the 2013 Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference? Session handouts are available at A full conference DVD will also be available later this year at