by Rebecca Reed and Her Clinical Training Staff
On Tuesday night, March 15th, 2016, GSEP’s LMFT/LPCC Clinical Training Department hosted an annual Practicum Mentor Fair during the Preparing for Practicum class (Psy 661). Our WLA pre-practicum students made connections with MFT student mentors from our Practicum (Psy 662) classes and site Supervisors to learn about 2016 practicum training opportunities. We had a range of practicum sites join us, such as The Maple Counseling Center, Exodus Recovery and Outreach Concern. There were a total of 10 practicum sites, over 45 students, 6 pizzas and one cooler filled with drinks that showed up to this festive fair.
One student commented that, “I enjoyed learning from more experienced practicum students about their meaningful clinical work at their sites and I was challenged to be open to the type of population I expect to work with.” Another student reported that she was glad that she came because it inspired her to get her resume out to more practicum supervisors.
Supervisors expressed that they were grateful for the opportunity to meet many potential trainees. They were especially pleased with the turnout and shortly after the fair, some students communicated that they were already being contacted for interviews by our practicum sites. Overall, it can be said that this practicum fair was successful for both students and supervisors. We can expect successful connections from this event.
On November 20th, I attended a Web-lecture, “The New Science of Romantic Love: What You Understand, You Can Shape” presented by Dr. Sue Johnson at Cal Southern University in Irvine, CA. The lecture was also available to watch live online through Cal Southern’s webpage.
I was excited to learn about one of the most powerful forces on Earth- love. Dr. Sue Johnson is an expert on Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and utilizes it to help couples repair their relationships. Emotionally Focused Therapy is best used to expand partners’ emotional responses, create new types of interactions between the couple, and foster secure bonding between partners.The basics of EFT Empathic Reflection that Dr. Johnson covered are validations- creates alliance and safety, focus during sessions, and cohesion through organization.
In addition to explaining EFT and how it is used as a “dance” between partners, Dr. Johnson also discussed John Bowlby’s attachment styles and how they influence adult romantic relationships. The ideas that held my interest throughout the lecture include: secure attachment bonds lead to emotional responsiveness while insecure attachment leads to anxious emotional responsiveness. Furthermore, my biggest take-away point was learning how a cue of rejection or criticism from a person you’re connected with is processed the same way as physical pain in the brain.
\ˈprak-ti-kəm\ a word frequently heard on the graduate level and usually synonymous with students seeking professions in teaching, nursing or in our case psychotherapy. It involves working in the area of study and applying the knowledge that has been obtained during coursework. For first year graduate students the word is foreign and for second year the word may bring a sense of anxiety, excitement and glee.
On Monday, March 21, 2016 Pepperdine University – Irvine Graduate Campus held its Practicum Mentor Faire. The practicum mentor faire is designed to give graduate students, specifically pre-practicum students the opportunity to ask questions of students working with agencies and seeing clients. It is a chance to obtain insight into this somewhat exclusive experience. Not only are students gaining insight, but they receive courage and empowerment from a group of students who have faced the beast, and are conquering it.
During the 30 minute meeting, it was a small intimate setting. Students from pre-practicum sat in a group, while the mentors sat in a circle fielding questions. Each mentor provided a description of their agency, supervisory expectations, and a holistic synopsis of their day to day process. Represented agencies were Monarch Shores, California Family Institute, PRYDE, Turning Point, and ? (Nicola: I don’t recall the location in Whittier).
Students asked questions that ranged from “how many hours are you allowed?” to “is it possible to work for an agency while accruing your hours?”. Each question was answered with great insight and compassion, always reassuring the students that the journey through practicum was possible with a plan and strategy.
One student shared her concerns about having a full-time job and landing an agency that would be able to understand her life commitments. After each of the mentors finish trying to help think of ways she could make it work, I recall one of them simply saying “you can do it!”
While the mentor faire was brief, I left with a greater appreciation of the work that the Professional Development and Clinical Training team is trying to do for students. For me, the mentor faire would be likened to a pre-game preparation with coaches or senior players who know the inner workings of the process. I left feeling reassured that when it was time for me to encounter that foreign word known as \ˈprak-ti-kəm\, Pepperdine University – Irvine Graduate Campus would ensure that I was well prepared.
Here’s what we have coming up in the M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Department at the Irvine Graduate Campus for the rest of the spring semester!
MFT Consortium of Orange County: Wednesday, March 16, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Practicum Mentor Fair: Monday, March 21, 5:30 – 6:15 pm in Psy. 661 class.
Guest Speaker w/Dave Jensen, J.D.: The Psychotherapist as Creator of Outcomes: Wednesday, March 28, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Law & Ethics presentation by CAMFT Staff Attorney, Dave Jensen, J.D., hosted in Melanie Coughlin’s Law & Ethics class.
OC CAMFT & MFT Programs Trainee and Intern Fair: Saturday, April 2, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clinical Connections w/Sheila Sayani, LMFT: Attachment Theory in Working with Couples: Saturday, April 9, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Intern Registration Meeting: Tuesday, April 19, 4:15 p.m.
As you wind down your time in the MFT/LCC program, your Clinical Training Coordinator will lead a special edition of your PSY 642 class to help you transition from being a student to a registered intern with the BBS.
Here’s what we have coming up in the M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Department at the Encino Graduate Campus for the rest of the spring semester!
Practicum Mentor Fair: Wednesday, March 23, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Psy. 661 class.
A chance to talk with current Encino students about their practicum sites and experiences.
Clinical Connections Panel: Life After Pepperdine: Saturday, March 5, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
A special presentation by three Pepperdine Encino alums who have explored three different paths in the field of psychology.
Intern Registration Meeting: Wednesday, April 20, 4:15 – 5:30 p.m., Psy. 642 class.
Here’s what we have coming up in the M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training Department at the West LA Graduate Campus for the rest of the spring semester!
Tips for a Successful Practicum: Tuesday, March 8, 7:15 p.m., Psy. 661 class.
Clinical Connections w/Hasmik Arkelyan, M.A., J.D., Ph.D.: Charming Monsters: Inside the Minds of Sociopaths & Psychopaths: Friday, March 11, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Intern Registration Meeting: Monday, April 4, 7:15 p.m., Psy. 642 class.
Private Practice Visit w/Jody Echegaray: Friday, March 18, 12:00 p.m. at her practice in Brentwood.
Clinical Connections w/Alana Route, Psy.D.: Technology and Therapy: How to Deal with Ethical Dilemmas: Friday, April 1, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Coffee Talk w/Sheila Sayani, M.A., LMFT: Q&A Basics About Couple’s Therapy: Friday, February 26, 11:00 a.m
by Akshay Mehta
If you are a woman reading this right now, I’d like you to think about a scenario for a moment. Imagine yourself as a young teen seeking therapy for an unplanned pregnancy. You sit down on a nice comfortable couch in a pleasantly calm room with décor and atmospheric conditions tailored to immediately tone down your anxiety. As you prepare your thoughts, the door opens and a male therapist walks in. Wait…what?
Your first thoughts might be, “How is he going to understand anything I’m going through?”, “Is he a substitute therapist?”, “How do I start talking and what am I comfortable sharing?” Well, in the near future, I may potentially be that male therapist facing an environment dominated by female patients and issues.
I recently began a volunteer position at Claris Health Clinic. Claris’ mission is to empower women and men to make informed and positive choices in regards to their sexual and relational health. Additionally, Claris isn’t controlled by a linear way of thought or a strict religious ideology. Its utmost aim is to just help people make the best productive choices for themselves.
At first, I was a bit skeptical as to how impactful I would really be at this place. But I thought about it and bounced some ideas back and forth with my supervisor at Pepperdine, Rebecca Reed. Through her knowledge about my personal history and experiences, she helped me to see how important I could be. I gained confidence and applied. I was offered an interview. Dr. Route, the Clinical Director at Claris and Stacy Williams, the Client Services Director, conducted my interview. Aside from making the interview as comfortable as possible, they also assured me that they saw the benefits of having a male around the clinic. In fact, they explained that there is a male right now running an outreach program within Claris. It’s called Reality Check. Reality Check aims to proactively help young teens in school settings. Instead of waiting for the teens to come to the clinic, the Reality Check team goes out and talks to students in their schools. They run various activities, presentations and group therapy sessions. I learned that currently they are in a stage of innovating the ways in which they connect with students. Dr. Route and Stacy thought this would be a perfect fit for me.
I have yet to attend a ‘real’ Reality Check workday, so to speak. I have been attending trainings so far. But I am excited to know I am part of a non-profit health organization, which caringly, openly and interactively helps women and men make informed positive choices in their lives. The level of energy at Claris is abundantly clear through the team members’ efforts and enthusiasm. I am thrilled to be a part of Claris’ mission and hope that I can add another piece to their aspirations of becoming an important resource for our society.