Psychology Personal Statement
My passion for psychology is deeply rooted in my interest in philosophy, epistemology and the understanding of human happiness. I sincerely believe in the practical benefits of a life spent helping others, fully investing in the cultivation of empathy and compassion.
With this end in mind I have always sought out challenging and rewarding opportunities to work with people and to study human relationships and problems.
I have had a long history of psychology related work experiences. I was first employed at the Salt Lake City International Airport assisting physically and mentally disabled passengers navigate the terminal.
Although the spectrum of mental illness I was exposed to at this job was small compared to a lot of my later positions, the airport served as a magnifying glass for human diversity and opened my eyes to the world beyond my local culture. There are few places on earth where you can find so much ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological diversity so densely packed into a single building.
I was later employed as a Psychology, English and Math tutor for Weber State University working one on one with students by appointment. This job allowed for much more intimate, collaborative relationships and taught me a lot about the process of learning.
At this point I officially switched my major from civil engineering to psychology and my general interest in philosophy and epistemology began to focus through psychology.
I then worked as a Lead Staff at several different residential assisted living facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. I worked closely with clients on a daily basis, often spending nights at the homes on sleep or waking graves or working doubles taking clients to company events and activities.
This was not simply a job for me, but a subculture I was completely immersed in as many of my close friends worked for the same company and we served the same population of developmentally delayed individuals in the Ogden area. After leaving this job I later participated in community service through a company called enable that employed many of the clients I had worked with previously.
Following avatar, I began employment as a Mental Health Worker on a youth sex offender unit at Benchmark Behavioral Health Hospital. I had the opportunity to sit in on group therapy sessions and to observe the peer interactions throughout the day. This was a very intense work environment, filled nearly daily with extreme violence and verbal aggression.
The turnover was incredibly high at this job, and I learned to operate professionally in a high stress environment. I witnessed and was part of some powerful emotional experiences at this job. I watched the adolescents grow into adults and deal with some very serious issues stemming from dark and troubled pasts.
It was when a young patient who seemed emotionally numb since his arrival opened up to me in the timeout room, crying for over an hour about his regrets and frustrations that I decided definitely that I wanted to pursue clinical psychology. I'll never forget him saying, "It just feels good to tell someone you know, to talk about all this stuff, thanks for listening to me".
I currently work as a Psychiatric Technician at the University of Utah State Hospital, as an Employment Counselor for the State of Utah, and as a research assistant at the University. As a Psychiatric Technician I see patients at their most acute symptoms.
Since it is a crisis ward, I have the opportunity to interact with patients when they are first admitted and have been through very recent psychological and/or physical trauma. Patients are often extremely delusional and having homicidal and suicidal ideations.
As a psychiatric tech I have seen first hand a wide variety of diagnosis and what those diagnosis translate to in terms of actual personally observed behavior.
I am also currently working with Dr. Diamond on a study looking at the formation and functioning of adolescent and adult attachment relationships, as well as the different ways our attachment styles affect our closest relationships over long periods of time.
As a research assistant, the nature of the study is such that I am involved in a wide variety of experimental techniques. At the lab I have experience with video editing, dvd dubbing, data entry, several forms of physiological equipment placement and data recording, as well as many general computer and organisational tasks.
I have had direct exposure with participants in the study and seen first hand how these participants' experiences in the lab translate to data.
I am particularly interested in working with Dr. Strassberg as much of his work deals with human sexuality and my interest in this area is substantial. Having worked with sex offender youth I would love to be involved in any research in the area of adolescent sexual disorders or dysfunction.
I find Dr. Florsheim's research of interest as well particularly the Adolescent Development and Outreach program. Aside from my desire to work with troubled youth, my other research interests are quite broad ranging from ACT therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, the psychology of faith and religion, effective parenting styles, cohabitation, and marriage.
Throughout my life these experiences have allowed me to work closely with people, and many have allowed for and encouraged the development of therapeutic relationships with patients or customers.
This work experience has been very valuable in exposing me to real world scenarios where people are struggling to cope with mental and/or physical illness. Being involved directly and indirectly with many different organizations that work to improve the lives of these individuals has helped me to gain a better more eclectic perspective on the treatment of mental illness in our society.
The knowledge I have gained from my schooling and my actual patient exposure work together to form a solid foundation of practical and technical knowledge about clinical psychology and mental illness in general.
Although my work could hardly be considered equitable to working as a licensed therapist, the experiences have done a lot in preparing me and priming my mind for more serious and involved study for psychology in graduate school.
This personal statement was written by badgerskunk for application in 2008.
Any feedback would be enormously appreciated.
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