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.
\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.
The Margaret J. Weber Distinguished Lecture Series: Leaders Inspiring Change
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 – 7pm-9pm
Rebecca Cooper, Author/Founder, Rebecca’s House Eating Disorder Treatment Programs
“Current Eating Disorder Technological Research and Treatment Implications”
Pepperdine University West Los Angeles Graduate Campus – 2nd Floor, Room 203
Eating disorders, diabetes and obesity have become an international epidemic. The reasons are many, but there is a plethora of new scientific research that is helping us to understand this phenomenon.
Scientific studies show that the cyclical binge eating and restricting (i.e. dieting) can alter the opioid receptors in the brain. Dieting sets people up to disconnect from their appetite, create unhealthy eating behaviors and changes brain chemistry. 35% of normal dieters progress into eating disorders, obesity, and disordered eating.
Genetic research has identified the gene responsible for the number of dopamine receptors. For people with a deficiency in the amount of dopamine receptors, different types of foods are used to compensate for this deficiency and become addictive. This can make any type of recovery challenging because most are unaware of the underlying food addiction.
Using functional MRI, we now know that some foods affect the dopamine pathways in the brain. It has been shown that these foods exhibit the same activity in the reward system of the brain as alcohol or drugs (Avena, Rada, & Hoebel, 2008). New technological research is expanding this concept. Alcoholics are most susceptible to sugar addiction because alcohol is assimilated in the body as sugar. Some research findings go so far as to say “sugar is a gateway drug.” Another study shows that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine for some people.
The presentation will highlight current research, statistics, assessment tools, brain imaging charts and case studies showing the different reasons for the disconnection from appetite and self. Methods to reestablish a sense of a healthy self and recovery from eating disorders will also be presented.
Rebecca Cooper is an international speaker whose mission is to create awareness of disordered eating in all forms. She regularly appears on television, webcasts, professional conferences and radio. Ms. Cooper created the first transitional living residence for eating disorders, in addition to Rebecca’s House Eating Disorder Treatment Programs in Orange County, CA. She is a licensed therapist and certified eating disorder specialist and iaedp approved supervisor. She authored the Diets Don’t Work® book, CDs, DVDs, Eating Disorder Workbooks, and numerous published articles. Her eating disorder program is used throughout the country at treatment centers and by therapists.
“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?
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.”
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.