\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.
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.
Traineeships! Internships! Volunteer positions!
Start now – find the right practicum site, internship, or volunteer position for you! Stop by the Career & Practicum Fair to talk to site directors, supervisors, and current trainees/interns about practicum and career opportunities in Orange County.
We’ll see you on the 2nd floor of Pepperdine’s Irvine Graduate Campus from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 5.
For more information, contact: maclpga (at) pepperdine.edu or 949-223-2560
On Thursday, February 5th, Irvine Graduate Campus will host the annual Career Connections Practicum Fair from 5-7pm on the 2nd floor. Join us to meet the Clinical Directors & Supervisors from Orange County practicum sites, learn about clinical practicum, and explore options for sites in Orange County.
Every practicum site is different, and Career Connections gives you the opportunity to explore what site might fit you best, ask questions, and begin introducing yourself to supervisors that you may work with in the future!
Mark your calendars! More information to follow in January as the spring semester begins.
The Practicum mentor fair October 29 2014 was another great success at the Irvine Graduate Campus. Students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with 12 student mentors who discussed their personal clinical experiences at their practicum site. This is truly one of the best ways that students can really understand and learn about the great opportunities that are available for Clinical Practicum. If you would like a recap on what transpired please contact me or the graduate assistants at IGC. Have a wonderful rest of the term. Thank you Dr Miguel Gallardo and his PSY652 students along with Carly Magner, LMFT and her Psy662 class! Take care!
Welcome from Kathleen Wenger, LMFT — Manager, M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Kathleen Wenger, MA, LMFT
Manager, M.A. Psychology Professional Development and Clinical Training
Graduate School of Education and Psychology