UBC Counselling Psychology PhD
What drew you to studying counselling psychology?
Before beginning graduate school I managed a mobile outreach care unit, where I worked alongside a team of nurses and counsellors to offer crisis counselling support and basic medical care in an impoverished community in Surrey, BC. One of the commonalities among the clients we supported was a history of traumatic stress from the impact of childhood abuse and the dehumanizing experience of sexual assault as adults. This prompted my desire to research resilience and the various protective factors that can be effectively incorporated into treatment plans for clients who have a history of traumatic stress. I decided to undertake a master’s degree, and subsequently a PhD in order to better understand how to support these individuals as both a clinician and researcher.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I feel really grateful for the community initiatives I have been a part of. From providing front line support with the mobile outreach care unit, to more recent opportunities as a student representative for the Counselling Psychology program and the Canadian Psychological Association, and as a board member of the British Columbia Psychological Association. I am surrounded by and constantly learning from experienced professionals who share a similar drive to advocate for the profession of psychology and improve its accessibility to the public.
What’s a moment from your time at UBC that you think you’ll be talking about for years?
One of my fondest experiences that I will never forget was UBC’s supervision clinic and the gracious master’s students who trusted me as I stumbled my way, learning how to supervise and support them. During the first few weeks, we were all a jumble of nerves as they were anxious about seeing clients for the first time, and I was similarly anxious about how to best support them. It was such a humbling and connective experience and led to the development of organic relationships. It was a messy and beautiful reminder of how human we are at the core, beyond degrees and experience.
As you look ahead, what are your career goals?
My main goal is to work in community based settings as a Psychologist once I have finished my PhD. However, my spouse often says I have a difficult time saying no to opportunities so I imagine (and hope) that I can also engage in research, teaching, and supervising to some extent during my career.
Who are your therapist heroes? Who inspires you?
There are so many! But since I draw on an integrative approach from a Person Centered, Narrative, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy framework, a few who continue to inspire me include Carl Rogers: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” As well as the work of Michael White and David Epston in Narrative Therapy, Dr. Kristin Neff’s work on self compassion, and Dr. Tara Brach’s work on radical acceptance.