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PHD Social Work Mental Health Counseling


My professional research interests are primarily in empirically-based mental health treatment models to assist children and adolescents with mental health issues and delinquency behaviors. XXU is my first choice for earning a Ph.D. because I feel I am a good fit for your program. While I admire all of the social work faculty in your program and find myself inspired by the specialties of several faculty members, Dr. XXXX’s work on the identification and program evaluation of evidence-based clinical interventions is precisely the area in which I hope to make my mark in life and distinguish myself as a social work professor and researcher.  Working with and learning from XXXX would help me develop strong research skills in developing, implementing, and evaluating clinical models, especially for clients of color.

Originally from India, I am the first in my family to earn an undergraduate, much less a graduate degree. Coming from the most humble circumstances in India, life was hard for us in our new world, New Jersey and Queens, NY. Yet, my humble beginnings and the financial struggle of my own family in inner-city America serve as excellent preparation for a social work professional, as I see it because it has resulted in my sympathetic understanding and creative thinking about techniques for survival and uplift by minorities in our inner cities. I am one of them, and I identify as such. Truly blessed to have had the privilege to travel throughout much of Europe, Morocco, Australia, and most of South America, I have come to appreciate and celebrate diversity wildly and to understand the complexity of cultural factors that underlie behavior.

I date my intense passion for studying Psychology and Human Behavior to about 15. By the 11th grade, I was hooked. My psychology teacher even sent a letter to my parents highlighting my potential in this area and how I had gone “beyond my peers” in this area. My love for research took off in leaps and bounds as an undergraduate student, 2007 -2009. For 14 months, I was involved in a pilot research project working with Dr. XXXX, assessing a random sampling of people and their attitudes concerning factory farms, studying the relationship between preconceived notions of factory farms and the person's decision to consider or act upon that knowledge actively.  Dr. XXXX gave me tremendous responsibility in assisting with his research, and I felt most honored by his trust.  I collected in-person surveys, analyzed data, and scripted a research paper. While the subject of this study was not within my area of principal scholarly interest, I gained invaluable experience in the fundamentals of conducting a clinical research project. This knowledge will help me tremendously when I undertake my doctoral dissertation one of these days, hopefully at XXU.

After earning my Ph.D., I look forward to a long professional lifetime examining the efficacy of treatment models for clients of color and assessing for successful outcomes. In addition to program implementation and evaluation within community-based organizations, I also intend to remain engaged throughout my career with creating evidence-based modalities that can be delivered within the school system since my focus is on children and adolescents in particular. I completed my Masters's Degree in Mental Health Counseling in 2012 and became a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the State of New York.  I have now worked in the field of mental health treatment for about eight years, serving as both a clinician and a supervisor. I am convinced that this extensive experience will help me to excel in your distinguished doctoral program at XXU. As a Multisystemic therapist, I have worked with parents, teenage children, and defense attorneys to make a case for evidence-based mental health treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

I am an Indian woman who is very much concerned with the unique mental health challenges that tend to confront recent immigrants to America, particularly people of color, most precisely Asians. I hope to become a crusader with my Ph.D. from XXU to help make mental health care more accessible for special populations marginalized from our mental health systems for one reason or another. In New Jersey and New York, in addition to growing up in India, I have witnessed the stigmas and barriers that afflict communities of color face in accessing culturally-sensitive mental health support.  I have seen my mother battling depression and acculturation stress due to immigration and being separated from her family of origin.  I have been made retroactively aware of my 12-year-old sister being a victim of constant bullying for two long years. The parent and the school system could never engage effectively to stop the continuous trauma.  These days, when I hear my clients suggest that the “system does not work for us,” I know exactly what they mean.

I feel strongly that the mental health community in America should be entirely representative of the population to the extent this is possible. Nearly everyone agrees that we need more clinicians and leaders in our field who are people of color. While earning my Master's, I worked in Queens (the most diverse county in the world) for four years, serving with the Queens District Attorney’s Family Justice Initiative. Seeing how trauma affected children up close and in a sustained fashion helped me to understand the strengths as well as the failures of our system. I was often happy that I am a woman of color because it helped me gain the confidence of many of the traumatized children of color I sought to help.

After earning my master's, I decided to immerse myself in the culturally-inclusive area of evidence-based teaching and in October of last year, 2015, I became the Program Director for The XXXX in New York, NY, overseeing our School-Based Mental Health Services Department, operating 12 programs in NYC schools with 11 clinicians implementing evidence-based practices that have changed the negative trajectory of several families and adolescents of color who otherwise would have ended up on a path to legal delinquency. In doing this work, I have gained a deeper and more macro-level understanding of how important it is to have evidence-based mental health treatment on a state and national policy level to break the vicious community/school to prison pipeline. My commitment and zeal for advocating and supporting families, leadership skills, and knack for organization make me excel at what I do. This gives me confidence that I could distinguish myself at XXU.

The XXXX School of Social Work is my first choice for graduate school because I see it as the most acceptable program in NYC and the one with which I think I am a perfect fit. I am in love with NYC and the school people, especially the children. I could not imagine a more exciting place to live and work.

I see your incredibly rigorous program at the XXXX School as the best option to prepare me for a lifetime of model development and implementation, teaching and supervising future clinicians, enhancing my leadership skills, and helping me better appreciate the complexity of social justice issues and the need for outcomes that meet acceptable standards of social justice. In other words, I aspire to build upon my current program development and implementation skills to obtain leadership positions on both state and national levels, joining in policy debates and advocating for additional funding for evidence-based mental health programs in school. I also hope to teach with special attention to the training of clinicians of color and issues of cultural sensitivity.

I thank you for your consideration of my application.

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