Faculty Spotlight: Shannon Wilson, Psy.D.

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“A teacher enlarges people in all sorts of ways besides just his subject matter.” – Wallace Stegner

As students, many of us possess a great deal of curiosity about the unknown lives of our professors – the journeys that led them to their present careers and what it is that they do outside of the classroom to fuel the wisdom and insight they bring to the podium. Recently, we touched base with Shannon Wilson, PsyD – who teaches PSY 659 (Behavioral Principles and Theories of Learning) and PSY 603 (Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families) at GSEP’s Irvine campus – to get a glimpse of her interests and work outside of Pepperdine. Here’s what she had to say…

What are your primary clinical interests?

Depression and anxiety in adolescents and adults; core beliefs; assessment.

Do you have a particular theoretical orientation?

If I had to put myself in one category, I’d say CBT is what I practice most.

Are you currently working on any research? If so, what is the focus of your research?

Yes!  I am supervising research with current Pepperdine students, focusing on the effects of laptops/cell phones (different types of technology) that may alter classroom dynamics and attention/focus levels.  I also have a very exciting opportunity coming up for our students where we will look at archival data focusing on therapy session attendance/no show rates in diverse populations; we will be looking at numerous possible correlational variables such as length of assessment period, connection/rapport with caregivers, SES levels with special focus on transportation issues, diagnoses, extent of distress, etc.

Who/what inspired you to get into your current profession?

I started off pre-med but realized my talent was in psychology.  I was soon inspired by the experiences of really helping people to live happier lives without so much suffering.  The connection I feel with my clients and students inspires me and provides much satisfaction in my profession.

One piece of advice you have for students working toward their MA in psychology?

If I could grab hold of every single student and teach them one thing only, it would be to always follow your heart and gut instincts and BE YOURSELF.  I see so many students trying to please the “profession,” trying to be what they think they should be instead of just being themselves and knowing that who they are is perfect, just the way they are.  Many of our students applying to doctoral programs attempt to mold themselves into what they think the schools are looking for instead of walking in there knowing the schools are lucky to have them.  Obviously they need to have the proper schooling, grades, experience, etc., but they forget they are okay just the way they are.

What’s the best piece of advice you received during your clinical training?

HA!  When I was faced with a decision to do what I wanted to do and what I felt was right for me versus what I was expected and told to do, some very wise person I will forever be grateful to said “Shannon, just be you…you are the best you that you can be.”  And so I did.  And I was.

One fun/interesting fact about you?

My favorite TV show is Judge Judy…I never miss an episode! My kids also have me looming (making those rubber band bracelets) constantly on the weekends; they bring me orders from all of their friends.  I am a very popular mom right now. 

Something that inspires you?

My clients that really have extremely difficult lives in numerous ways and they keep trying, keep going.

Something that turns you off?

People that have no compassion or empathy for others; lack of common sense.

If you could have dinner with anyone in history, past or present, who would it be?

I would love to have dinner with my maternal grandfather who died when I was three months old.  I want to see what he was like, his mannerisms, his humor.

What book is currently on your nightstand?  

Princess Bedtime Stories and Dragon Slayer’s Academy.  You asked!

If your life were a literary work, what would it be called?

The Mommy Who Wanted To Freeze Time So She Could Take a Nap.

What do you need to start your day?

Enough sleep! I wish I was a coffee drinker!

How do you unwind at the end of your day?

Watch Judge Judy!  Haha!  Actually, my husband and I can’t wait to get the kids into bed so we can just relax; it’s our golden time and there’s never enough of it, but that’s my favorite time of day.  The kids are safe, clean and cozy in their beds, and we get to finally relax.  Also, my blind, snorting pug snuggles with me and that relaxes me instantly!

What food can you not live without?

Mexican food!!

When I’m not teaching or seeing clients, you can find me…

Spending time with my family.

Favorite quote/words to live by?

“That’s not okay,” “that doesn’t work for me,” and “100% worthy, just the way you are.”

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Faculty Spotlight: Andria Glasser Das, Psy.D.

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A teacher enlarges people in all sorts of ways besides just his subject matter. – Wallace Stegner

As students, many of us possess a great deal of curiosity about the unknown lives of our professors – the journeys that led them to their present careers and what it is that they do outside of the classroom to fuel the wisdom and insight they bring to the podium. Recently, we touched base with Andria Glasser Das, PsyD, who teaches Assessment of Intelligence at GSEP’s West LA campus, to get a glimpse of her interests and work outside of Pepperdine. Here’s what she had to say…

What are your primary clinical interests?

The main focus of my clinical practice is psychoeducational assessment, in which I seek to find out why a child or adolescent is having trouble in school.  My assessments include evaluation of cognitive, executive and adaptive functioning, visual and auditory processing and memory and language abilities.

Do you have a particular theoretical orientation?

No, but I frequently use Cognitive-Behavioral interventions in my treatment recommendations.

Are you currently working on any research? If so, what is the focus of your research?

About 12 years ago, I started writing a book called “Marriage After Motherhood,” about the impact of children on the marital relationship.  As part of my research for the book, I launched an online survey through which I obtained nearly 200 participants.  The survey yielded great statistics as well as a wealth of qualitative information.  Unfortunately, I haven’t put in the time necessary to finish the book.  Maybe someday…

Who or what inspired you to get into your current profession?

I enjoyed assessment from my first class in graduate school.  I noticed that most of my peers did not share my enthusiasm for the subject so I thought it might be a good niche for me.  Assessment suits my personality and my lifestyle.  It is highly structured but not rigid.  There is flexibility in the selection of instruments for each individual battery.  There is art in not only the interpretation and synthesis of test scores, but also in the administration and scoring of tests, while still maintaining standard protocol.  I love the process of discovery—where each new test exposes information that confirms or refutes my hypotheses, or suggests new ones.  It is like a mystery that unfolds revealing not only the client’s deficits, but their strengths as well.  I like figuring out ways to leverage a client’s strengths to compensate for their weaknesses and help them maximize their potential. Also, as a mother of 2 children, I appreciate the flexibility that assessment offers in terms of making my own schedule.  Since the bulk of assessment work is scoring, interpretation and report writing, much of my work can be done at home.  I try and schedule clients for test administration during the day while my kids are at school and then I can be home by the time they get home.  I’m working, but I’m home.

One piece of advice you have for students working toward their MA in psychology?

Actively participate in your classes as much as possible.  Your professors will be among those who will write your letters of recommendation for doctoral programs, clinical placements or jobs.  The more familiar they are with you, the more specific they will be able to be in their letters.  Also, the more they know you, the more likely they will be to take on the role of mentor, serving as a resource for your professional development.

What’s one interesting fact about you?

I have a birthmark on my knee that disappears when pressed.

 

What’s something that inspires you?

I am inspired when I see young people who have put in the time and dedication to excel in something beyond school, whether in music, art, dance, athletics, robotics or in launching a business idea.

 

Something that turns you off?

Seeing children glued to electronics.  I have seen toddlers in restaurants or in their strollers with a Nintendo DS or an iPad.  These devices are used by parents the same way that TV was used a generation ago—as a babysitter, keeping the child occupied and quiet.  This is even more dangerous though, because these devices are portable so a child (or parent) is often never without them.  I don’t think that kind of constant stimulation is good for the developing brain or for social development.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

“Eat, Pray, Love.”  It is not the kind of book I usually read.  I am more of a James Patterson or Jonathan Kellerman murder mystery kind of person.  However, I took a continuing education class in mindfulness and the instructor showed the class Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on the nature of creative genius.  She was such a compelling speaker and showed such amazing insight that I decided to give the book a try.  I am really enjoying it.

 

What do you need to start your day?

I need more sleep, but usually a chocolate muffin will have to suffice.

 

How do you unwind at the end of your day?

I play a couple of rounds of QuizUp on my phone (usually the Psychology category) followed by a couple of games of solitaire, also on my phone.  Or I read until my eyes start closing.

 

When I’m not teaching or seeing clients, you can find me…

My children are very involved in music so a lot of my time is spent at high school football games, concerts or competitions.  My older daughter is in her high school marching band, jazz band, concert band, mariachi group and drumline.  She plays tenor sax, oboe, mellophone, trumpet and vibes.  My younger daughter is in her middle school jazz band, concert band and mariachi group.  She sings and plays trombone and trumpet.  They usually have some musical event on the weekend that I want to go to.  I work on my writing when I feel inspired—either “Marriage After Motherhood,” a novel I’ve been working on for several years, or just short articles or anecdotal pieces.  Recently, a friend invited me to bingo night with a group of women that has been meeting once a month for 16 years.  It seems like an “old lady” thing to do, but it was a lot of fun and I won some good prizes (chocolate bars and a GoGo pillow) and I’m getting to be an old lady anyway, so this might become a permanent fixture in my social calendar.

 

Favorite words to live by?

“There but for the grace of God, go I.”  Keeping this sentiment in mind helps me in both my professional and my personal lives by increasing my empathy, reminding me to avoid judgment and allowing me to feel connected with people regardless of their situation.

Encino Graduate Campus Spring 2014 Calendar

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Clinical Connections w/Carla Elia, Ph.D.: “Psychosocial Implications of Living with HIV/AIDS”: Saturday, March 8, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Clinical Connections w/David Wadman, LMFT: “New Information on the MFT Exams”: Date TBA

Clinical Connections w/Patrick Madden, M.A., LEP: “The Magic of Metaphor”: Saturday, April 5, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

West LA Career & Practicum Fair: Tuesday, March 4, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., West LA Campus

Coffee Talk w/Alice Richardson, LMFT: “LPCC Information Meeting & Powerpoint”: February 10, 18, 24, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (3 dates at the same time)

New MACLP Student Meeting: January 21, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Practicum Meeting: February 18, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Intern Registration Meeting: April 17, 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.

West LA Graduate Campus Spring 2014 Events

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Clinical Connections w/Ilona Strasser, LMFT: “Working with Teens: Techniques & Strategies for Individuals, Dyads & Groups”: Friday, February 7, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Clinical Connections w/Lara Garibian, LMFT: “Navigating the World of Community Mental Health: Developing Clinical Skills, Practicing Self-Care and Getting Appropriate Training”: Friday, March 7, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Clinical Connections w/Petar Sardelich, LMFT, PT, MAC: “Therapists & Clients: Why and How You Should Care About Legitimate Suffering”: Friday, April 4, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Coffee Talk w/Sheila Sayani, LMFT: “Preparing to be a Trainee”: Friday, February 21, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

New MACLP Student Meeting: Wednesday, January 23, 5:30 p.m.

Practicum/Career Fair: Wednesday, March 5, 12:00 p.m.

Tips for a Successful Practicum Experience: Thursday, March 20, 5:00 p.m.

Intern Registration Meeting: Monday, March 31, 7:15 p.m.

Irvine Graduate Campus Spring 2014 Events

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MFT Consortium of Orange County: Wednesday, January 15, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m., Rm. 324

New MACLP Student Meeting: Thursday, January 23, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Rm. 333

MAPS Student Meeting: Thursday, January 30, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., Rm. 332

Practicum Tips Meeting: Monday, February 10, 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., Rm. 332

MAPS Student Meeting: Thursday, February 27, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., Rm. 332

Clinical Connections w/ Steven Sultanoff, Ph.D.: “Deliberate Practice Training: Transforming Theory Into Practice”: Friday, March 7, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Rm. 324/326

MFT Consortium of Orange County: Wednesday, March 19, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Practicum Site/PepPro Presentation: Tuesday, March 25, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., Rm. 333

Career Connections Career Fair: Wednesday, March 26, 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Pepperdine Psy.D. Program Information Session: Thursday, March 27, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

MAPS Student Meeting: Thursday, March 27, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., Rm. 332

Clinical Connections w/Linda Buck, LMFT: “Spirituality, Religion & Psychotherapy”: Friday, March 28, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Rm. 324/326

Special Event w/ Kathleen Wenger, LMFT, Alice Richardson, LMFT, and Sheila Sayani, LMFT: “Life After Pepperdine for Psychology Students”: Tuesday, April 1, Time/Room TBD

LPCC Conference: Saturday, April 12, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Pepperdine West LA Campus

Intern Registration Meeting: Wednesday, Date TBD, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Rm. 318

CAMFT Conference in Palm Springs (Join Kathleen Wenger there!): May 1-4

Clinical Connections w/Rachel Coleman, LMFT: “Eating Disorders”: Date TBA

Coffee Talk w/Kathleen Wenger, LMFT: Date TBA

Private Practice Visit: Date TBA

Welcome from Kathleen Wenger, LMFT — Manager, M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training

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Kays Professional Photo

Greetings MAP and MACLP Students!

I hope that you are enjoying your graduate education at Pepperdine University GSEP.  As a ‘92’ alumna of our program I often think that next to meeting my husband Rob, attending Pepperdine and becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist was one of the best decisions in my life.  The psychology field is truly one of the most rewarding professions you can choose.

I’d like to welcome you to our new blog. For those of you who have been coming to our department’s events for a while, this is basically a combination of two prior publications: the biweekly e-newsletter and the once a semester Focus on Clinical Training hard copy newsletter. Like the e-newsletter, we will keep you updated on psychology events at the Pepperdine graduate campuses and elsewhere in southern California. Additionally, the features you used to love in Focus on Clinical Training — Faculty Spotlight, Trainee Talk, and all the rest — are making their return on this blog.

We work very hard in the MA Clinical Training and Professional Development Department to help you have a positive practicum experience, and provide workshops that will help inspire you to learn more about the opportunities in the profession. Be sure to also check out our websites   http://gsep.pepperdine.edu/psychology/professional-development-workshops/ and MFT Clinical Training: http://community.pepperdine.edu/gsep/student-services/mft-practicum/ .  We have a wonderful staff in the MA Clinical Training and Professional Development department, consisting of alumnae Rebecca Reed “92” and Alice Richardson, LMFT ‘2005’ who assist students at our West LA and Encino campuses.

To be updated weekly on new posts, please email psyprofdev@pepperdine.edu. We hope you enjoy this new site, and look forward to hearing your comments, suggestions, and letting us know if you come across an important event that our students might like to attend!

Warm regards,

Kathleen Wenger, MA, LMFT
Manager, M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training
Pepperdine University
Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Your Local Chapter of CAMFT: A Great Place to Network!

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The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists is a great way to get involved if you’re new to the MFT field! Not only is there a student membership discount to make it easy for you to join, but you can dive right in with monthly networking events throughout southern California! There are topics appealing to just about every aspect of mental illness and opportunities to network with leaders in your field, students, and seasoned professionals. Here are some pictures of Pepperdine students at recent events put on by the Orange County chapter of CAMFT. We hope to see you at one soon!

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