Let's Dance

Posted on November 29,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

One of my students/clients at the counseling center has recently been learning how to play a musical instrument, finding that music-making serves as a powerful coping mechanism for her. For our last session, given that she has been going through some tough life circumstances, she brought this instrument into our session and sang and played three songs for me. I said nothing - just listened, pretty amazed by her talent.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth

Macho, macho man...

Posted on November 29,2012 by shansenmspp

There’s a new man in my life. He can be a bit macho. He hates to be alone. His favorite food is hot dogs. And, he groans loudly when he’s cleaning his ears. He’s incredibly smart, and runs around like the Tazmanian Devil.

I adopted a rescue pup a week ago. He’s affectionate, slobbery, gentle, and very anxious around trucks and plastic bags. This past week has been a sleep-deprived one as I balance caring for and training him with school, practicum, and other obligations.

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When Pink Polished Claws are Bared

Posted on November 29,2012 by sthurstonmspp

What happens when two high school girls are mad at each other, and are in the same group?

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Hannah's Finals Survival Guide

Posted on November 28,2012 by hmonkmspp

My grandma always told me, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." It is for this exact reason that I have not blogged in a while. The prospect of leaving my warm and cozy house in upstate NY with my cat and family to come back to Boston with finals just around the corner hasn't had me in the best of moods this past week.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth

This Topsy-Turvey World

Posted on November 26,2012 by mintakaori

Today I was driving home from the gym and I saw the strangest thing: someone had Christmas lights strung across the inside of their SUV. The inside! If I wouldn't have gotten into an accident, I would have done a double take. After this moment, I drove home hyper aware of the Christmas lights in my town. I was saddened to find that there were less than I remembered when I was younger. Perhaps this is just my perception, the nostalgic joy of being a kid driving around looking at Christmas lights with her family, versus the now-23 Grad student who doesn't believe in Santa anymore. But I swear, less and less people are decorating for Christmas, my family included.

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My Big, Fat, "Geek" Thanksgiving

Posted on November 26,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

Me and my best friend Steph, a medical resident, holding up our responses after having administered the Rorschach to each other.

For my Thanksgiving vacation in DC, I originally had these grandiose plans to spend the four days exploring museums, going out for drinks, and shopping for dumb-dumb stuff like ornaments to give as Christmas presents to aunts and exotic-sounding teas I'll never actually remember to drink. But of course, as always, I ended up just eating non-stop, watching my mom's free cable, and doing homework.

As I'm taking Projective Methods this year (Professor Jampel, straight up), I had a big Rorschach assignment to complete. For each assignment, we're instructed to score, via the aid of the corresponding inkblots, a series of Rorschach "responses." Every assignment takes me forever to complete as I read and over-analyze the responses over and over again, referring to our textbook and our sample responses/scores for guidance (sometimes I've referred to Dictionary.com...).

So over break, I was sitting at the kitchen table, doing my homework, keepin' it real, when my mom and best friend Steph entered the room and surrounded me and my homework like zombies, bombarding me with questions about the Rorschach's validity and use. For the next couple of hours, per their request, I attempted to administer the entire test on them, which concluded with some pretty "crazy" results (As Steph is an OBGYN medical resident, she kept seeing "unorthodox" images in every ink blot; my mom, having surrendered herself to holiday silliness, kept responding with giggles and naughty Italian words). Afterwards, Steph tried to administer the test herself with me as the participant, so the geekiness continued for another couple of hours. Meanwhile, the wine remained unopened, and my "going out" clothes remained folded in my suitcase; I spent the whole Friday night wearing pajama pants, a shirt that says "Costa Rica," and one sock.

I finally finished my homework on the ride back to Boston, and all I know is that the next time I look at a butterfly, an animal pelt, or two beavers climbing a mountain, I'm gonna see an inkblot.

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. :) 'Til next time.

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Tagged Forensic Psychology, Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth

Thanksgiving, Grad School Style

Posted on November 25,2012 by msppjen

Wow, that title alone has put Gangnam Style in my head... Do I sense a parody video?!

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Tagged Organizational Psychology & Leadership

What's My Age Again?

Posted on November 20,2012 by hmonkmspp

At 22, I am one of the youngest students in my 1st year clinical PsyD cohort. Unfortunately, grad school makes you grow up pretty quickly, and I've been acting more like 32.

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Making the Time

Posted on November 20,2012 by msppjen

Saturday morning, the alarm went off early. Crazy early. Still dark early. 4am early. As I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for the day, I asked myself why. I was tired and grumpy and needed coffee in a bad way. Some people get up on weekends at this time for work or sports, but I was not up for pay or exercise. I was volunteering at The 84 Kickoff in Worcester.

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Tagged Personal Growth

Gettin’ Jilly wit It (Na na na na na). Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. Jill Bloom

Posted on November 19,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility

It's a great day to be alive!

Posted on November 19,2012 by shansenmspp

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. I’m not sure I’m completely ready for the slew of family gatherings, holiday parties, and final papers that usher in the coming season. It is also “prime time” for counselors and school psychologists as my supervisors and the special education director at my school reminded me again today. The holidays bring all sorts of relational and economic stress for families. At the same time, students who have not been performing well over the semester start to realize how far behind they are, ninth graders notice that high school is not as fun or as easy as they originally thought, seniors discover that they should have started their college applications earlier, and mid-year exams loom. School staff is not immune to the craziness of the holidays, and unwittingly transmit this stress to students. Some children and adolescents dread the holidays and the inevitable loneliness, conflict, and/or confusion that accompany their family events.

While I might have expected elementary school students to act out or manifest their anxiety about the upcoming season in unproductive ways (as happened at my site last year), I had not thought about this time being difficult for adolescents as well. Today was a reminder of the future stresses that wait just around the corner; students in my boys’ counseling group spoke at a high volume than usual and fought voraciously over the existence of Santa Claus. School politics and rumors permeated the teachers’ lounges, and a group of 11th and 12th grade students broke down in tears. Special education referrals are rising sharply, as are parent phone calls and mental health crisis meetings. The need for mental health prevention and intervention – and the support of school psychologists, is exacerbated. As I am preparing to “ride the wave” of emotions (as Dialectal Behavioral Therapy founder Marsha Linehan puts it), I feel deeply grateful for the counseling and student management skills I have learned from classmates, professors, and supervisors thus far. Thanks to their support and encouragement, I feel ready to support and encourage my students. And....as country singer Travis Tritt reminds us, "it's a great day to be alive!" despite the intersection of challenges that the season presents. I am thankful for the reminder, especially on days like today. Happy Thanksgiving!

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"Americans don't have hairdos" and Other Cultural Insights

Posted on November 19,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

My absurd roommates! Melissa #1, a non-profit employee from OH; Guillermo, a photography student from Spain; Melissa #2, an interior-design student from PA; my partner Kishore, a biology post-doc from India; Laura, a biochem grad student from Colombia; and me, a psych grad student from DC!

I asked a friend of mine from Croatia, an Advertising grad student at BU, to share his biggest "criticism" of American culture, and he vehemently responded with, "Americans don't have hairdos." While I am very open about critiquing American culture, I was slightly shook up by this "complaint" (probably because I was sitting there with wet hair). But then I smiled and thought to myself, "How did I, a Psychology student from Washington, DC, ever end up in Boston talking with an Advertising student from Croatia about the 'hairdo status' of Americans?"

Boston, given its unique "academic" culture, represents a hotbed of robust learning and intellectual activity, thereby attracting a diverse population of students and workers - whether you're among roommates or at a bar, cafe, library, or school, chances are that you're surrounded by people representing a variety of professional, academic, ethnic, racial, geographic, and overall cultural backgrounds who foster and nurture a range of interests and insight (for instance, if you're interested in meeting a Croatian Advertising student who is fond of flamboyantly coifed hair, I know just the person for you).

Therefore, MSPP is a school that exists within the broader "campus" of Boston - this city provides you with, not just an opportunity to learn about your specific field at your specific educational institution, but to learn from the diverse network of people living around you. So if you're in or just moving to Boston, I recommend putting yourself out there, whether by participating in Boston cultural activities or searching for roommates on Craigslist or going to pubs or cafes or bookstores. By reaching out to and engaging with a variety of people, you can develop a richer understanding of other lenses through which to view and interpret the world around us. Such exposure not only informs my psych work, but also facilitates a more well-rounded, open-minded, creative, and enriched "self"... and maybe a better hairdo?

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

The Paradox of Free Time

Posted on November 15,2012 by mintakaori

At this point you're probably thinking, "free time? What is that?" At least, that's what I thought when I was considering this post. For once, I have nothing on my plate, at least not school wise. It's one of those rare, rare times when I am caught up for weeks in advance, and with nothing to get done in the next few weeks, I have a little time to breath. At least, you'd think that. You'd think I'd be able to relax.

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Tagged Counseling Psychology

What happens now?

Posted on November 14,2012 by sthurstonmspp

Sometimes all I think about is helping kids, teachers, and their families. Finding the right resources, creating the correct plan, marshaling a team of caring adults to foster a young student’s academic and emotional success. But what happens when an assessment reveals a student to be failing due to what is colloquially referred to as “being a teenager.”
Now, there are times when adults claim this to be true and there is in fact an underlying issue that interferes with the evaluation of the situation. However, there are also times when the student is simply unwilling to put forth the effort to achieve his or her potential. And, in “economically advantaged suburbs”, sometimes that can be a very difficult thing to accurately portray in a report and in a team meeting.
Personally, I am blunt. I believe in being direct and in holding people accountable for their actions. School systems can create an atmosphere in which the politically correct and strength based terminology that is required can cloud the real issue and allow for students to escape looking in the mirror. News reports of elementary school soccer teams that no longer keep score makes me cringe. Hours of assessment to develop a report on a 16 year old student who is not progressing when she is in fact refusing to access the accommodations already in place and wanders the halls during class time instead of coming to the psychologist’s office seems a waste.
I want to sit this student down and speak to her. Girls with cognitive profiles that are in the Superior range should not be getting Fs in the most basic level of math class. Find out if something is preventing her access, but then to outline some consequences! If these services are not being utilized, then they go away.
Sigh. Rant over. On the upside: I will not be doing a cognitive assessment for this re evaluation. I will be doing a Functional Behavioral Assessment. And I will write up my results in a strength based manner, but in terms that hold the student accountable for her own choices.

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, School Psychology

Moving West and The Meaning of "Everything"

Posted on November 14,2012 by hmonkmspp

As I mentioned before, I am from a rural area in Upstate NY. I grew up with trees and grass and cows and farms. When I was in high school, I hated living in the middle of nowhere, and complained that there was never anything to do. We were so far from everything.

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Maybe I should invest in a set of crampons?

Posted on November 13,2012 by shansenmspp

8 professors, 1 daunting first-year exam, 35 credits, 11 rigorous courses, a teacher licensing exam, 200 hours of practicum, and uncountable hours of studying later….we had made it! Well, sort of. If you want to be a school psychologist, getting a master’s degree is a bit like turning the hill on a hike and seeing a beautiful vista – and then realizing there are still hours to go before you reach the summit (not to mention the journey back down).

Still, this past Saturday was a milestone. My classmates and I organized and participated in a small ceremony to recognize completion of our master’s degree. While we still have a year of classes, a year of internship, and a praxis exam to go (at the bare minimum), we all made it through to this important step. We were honored to share the moment with our families and friends, and touched by the presence of faculty members who chose to come to school on a Saturday to attend. One of our professors gave a heartfelt speech sharing his words of wisdom as we trod along on our way to a challenging, rewarding, and often befuddling career (wait, what do school psychologists do again?).

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Not-so-tough Tuesday morning

Posted on November 13,2012 by abrigovmspp

I tried to wake up at 6:30 this morning. It didn't happen. I eventually crawled out of my bed around 7 because Ralph sat at the door and cried. It was probably out of jealousy because he knew Lacey had a nice cozy spot in the covers. Oh and his water wasn't fresh. (Yes, these 2 cats are spoiled. They have an electric water fountain. Yet they won't stay out of the sink.)

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The Must List (MSPP Style)

Posted on November 11,2012 by mintakaori

Hello faithful readers! On this lazy Sunday evening, I'm lazing on the couch, a steaming cup of tea by my side and Predators on the TV. I've been sitting here wondering, what can I share with my current and future MSPPers tonight? Then it dawned on me: As the holiday season begins to rev up, many of you may not know some of the ideal places to spend the season. So here is my Must List, or things you must do in and around Boston!

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Tagged Around Boston

This Week's Top Ten (well, ten minus three)

Posted on November 10,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

So I originally wrote a post in which - in normal "paragraph" style - I detailed all of the awesomeness that had occurred this week only to realize, after reading it, that I had written the most discombobulating, all-over-the-place post ever. Too much stuff happened this week. So after taking some major advantage of my computer's delete functionality, I resorted to a "top ten" format. So here we go (in order of chronology)!

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Unprepared: Our Noreaster and My Experience Coming Straight From Undergrad

Posted on November 09,2012 by hmonkmspp

Lately, I've been feeling really unprepared for life.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Applying to MSPP

My Path to MSPP

Posted on November 09,2012 by msppjen

Hello, readers! My name is Jen and I will be posting here on the MSPP blog. I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself and share how I found my way to MSPP.

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Tagged Organizational Psychology & Leadership

Spotlight on.....Chris!

Posted on November 08,2012 by shansenmspp

Chris is a third-year in the school psychology program. He has been a teaching assistant and research assistant, and has some amazing hidden talents (like flying!) - he also was the first person to tell me about the program at MSPP. I had never heard of MSPP when we met at an elementary school in Concord. I appreciated his perspective as a fellow "career changer." Now, two years later, I am slogging my way through law & ethics, and Chris is in the midst of his internship year. He was kind enough to share with me his thoughts on being a school psychologist, MSPP, and advice for future students.

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What is a School Psychologist?

Posted on November 07,2012 by sthurstonmspp


There are a lot of answers to this question. The answer not only depends on who is asking the question, but of whom the question is asked.

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Tagged Personal Growth, School Psychology, Applying to MSPP

Voting, Registering, Presenting, oh my!

Posted on November 06,2012 by mintakaori

Happy Tuesday! And what an exciting day it has been. Between registering for classes and voting (you all voted, right?), today could not get more hectic. Unless you have a presentation for Internship Seminar, like I do. Then you're day just got a little crazier than the rest.

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Tagged Around Boston, Counseling Psychology

Judgement-free servings of potatoes

Posted on November 06,2012 by abrigovmspp

Most Sunday afternoons this semester have been a combination of pre-Monday jitters in anticipation of the busy day and a mad dash to finish x, y, and z assignments and readings. These afternoons are typically fueled by my most recent foodie obsession: hot green tea with truvia. Okay, maybe that's not true foodie talk, but I try to get some actual cooking in there on Sundays, also. At least something yummy and nutritious that will add to the aroma of food smells wafting from the microwaves at lunchtime.

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Experiential Education, Counseling Psychology

Young at Heart

Posted on November 05,2012 by sthurstonmspp

She looked for all the world like one of my young clients from last year. She spun in the chair, lifting her feet as it twirled, and grinned from ear to ear as she told me about her report card. But, instead of the gap toothed smile of a 5 year old, this was the full blown smile of a 10th grade girl.
I had some reservations moving into this year of my practicum placement. My prior experience has been primarily with elementary aged kids, and the oldest client I had ever had was 13 years old. I place a high value on early intervention, on preventing problems and finding those who need help early on to ensure the best possible outcomes. I was concerned that I would not enjoy working with older students, that I would miss the motivation of early intervention, and that I would be in over my head with their social dramas. So far, while I do miss the little ones, I am surprised by how much similarities there are across the age range, and about the added bonus of working with clients who are looking to their futures.
I have attended many meetings where there have been clients “graduating” from their IEPs, have talked about scholarship eligibility, and planned for attending college or taking a year off. It has been fun to see clients participate in their own meetings, and create a vision statement for what they would like to have in the upcoming years.
I do still miss the games of Go Fish and Poptropica. But I will certainly enjoy my year of Skyrim and Cheerleading.

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Tagged Personal Growth, School Psychology

Holla' BARCC, Young'n (Hooo Hooo!)... The Annual Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Gala!

Posted on November 01,2012 by sdmosaligantimspp

The amazing Medical Advocacy team at last night's annual BARCC gala!

One good thing about Boston is its availability of volunteer opportunities. Given my interest in social-justice-oriented issues, I chose to get involved with Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in an effort to play a role in challenging the gender-based power dynamics in our culture that cause and perpetuate sexual violence. As mentioned previously, I've been working as a Peer Supervisor for BARCC's Medical Advocacy program for about five months, having volunteered as a Medical Advocate for three years prior to that. Our work is tough, involving late-night trips to emergency rooms to support rape survivors and two-to-three monthly meetings during which we discuss our cases and are provided with further training and support.

Despite the often somber nature of our work, the annual gala, which took place last night, provides us with an opportunity to just deck out and mingle with fellow BARCC supporters, as well as listen to powerful guest speakers over a fancy-shmancy dinner. I, unfortunately, missed this year's featured talk as, given that I was on shift as supervisor, I had to step out in order to field a case. Despite this unfortunate burst of reality amidst clinking wine glasses and swanky jazz music, it was nice to return from my supervisory duties to a banquet hall full of people committed to ending sexual violence and supporting sexual-assault survivors, just like the one I had been serving minutes prior.

Luckily, not only was I surrounded by fellow Medical Advocacy team members, as well as accompanied by my partner of five years, I also got to experience some MSPP pride at the gala - BARCC represents one of MSPP's amazing second-year practicum sites, and my good friend Nadia serves as its current practicum intern. Given that my BARCC work involves serving sexual-assault survivors in a hospital/medical context immediately after the trauma has occurred, I have gained, through my conversations with Nadia, a richer perspective concerning the long-term psychotherapy-based "recovery" process. It was awesome to unite with Nadia - in our sexy dresses, toting our fine wine - to celebrate our and others' active commitment to this significant cause.

Overall, I'm so glad to have found this amazing organization - for all those new to or planning on relocating to Boston, I recommend exploring and establishing a niche for yourself within the volunteer community of Boston! If you're particularly interested in getting involved with BARCC's services, proceed to www.barcc.org for further info.

(P.S. If you didn't get my throwback hip-hop reference in the title of this blog, as many of my twenty-something-year-old friends sadly did not, then you were not cool in 2001. Either that or you were very cool...)

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

Happy November! (An Introduction.)

Posted on November 01,2012 by mintakaori

Hello MSPP readers and bloggers alike! My name is Ashley, and I'm happy to be joining the fabulous team of writers here on MSPP Student Voices! I'm here until I graduate next June, so let me tell you a little about myself, so we can be properly introduced!

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Tagged Counseling Psychology