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I want to help you get admitted to graduate school in Psychology.

Applicants who can think like scientists usually express ideas that begin to sound like a hypothesis, their ideas convey an appreciation of the way in which constructs might be associated with each other. Of course, the only chance that you have to convince them that you are capable of thinking and writing like a scientist is in your Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose.

PsyD Clinical Psychology Personal Statement of Purpose Sample

Earning the PsyD Degree in Clinical Psychology at XXXX University will set me on course for an extremely rewarding career serving and helping to uplift individuals and the community, educating and practicing for many decades to come, and making my maximum contribution to the mental health and wellbeing of my society, especially those that are most vulnerable and in need of support. Earning the PsyD in your program will give me the opportunity to transform myself and unleash my full potential, putting my finely-honed skill sets at the service of the diverse needs of the community. XXU has a world-renown faculty who are cutting-edge masters at bringing theoretical concepts to bear on practical, hands on applications.  I appreciate the large alumni network at XXU, which will continue to guide and enrich my professional development throughout the balance of my career.

I am especially excited about the prospect of becoming adept at the use of the Cohort Model since I have extensive training in the area of experiential learning opportunities and practice, always in search of those “ah-ha” moments. I seek personal and professional growth through self-reflection and critical thinking, creating and sharing in a student-centered, learning community that is welcoming and values the diverse cultural needs of all learners - enhancing both the experience and process of peer learning. I look forward to assisting with research projects at XXU; and, after my graduation, giving my all to honor and enhance the legacy, vision and commitment of the program.

Treating individuals, families, groups, and social systems in need, utilizing a holistic model connecting mind, body, spirit and soul, I look forward to creating and directing human service centers that are not only transparent but embrace and embody cultural diversity and competency. I am especially interested in and dedicated to the enhancement of mental health care for military personnel and veterans since I come from a Military/Law Enforcement background.  Thus, I anticipate spending a lot of time in the future working on public safety and first responder issues as well as culturally responsive pedagogy. I see myself wearing many different hats as a result of my strong commitment to community service and minority and social justice issues. Ultimately, I would like to go into private practice serving the needs of those individuals that are often forgotten, underserved, misdiagnosed and/or inappropriately labeled.  I would also like to become a professor at a university where I can teach and perform research.  I am particularly interested in exploring the relationship between Epigenetics, Trauma, Transgenerational Grief and Healing utilizing an Indigenous Framework.  I would love to open an afterschool program that is specifically designed to meet the academic needs of children diagnosed with a learning disability.  I dream of embracing and reframing learning disabilities as “learning talents”, and other strategies to manage and focus the classroom environment.

After graduating from El Cerrito High School, I attended San Jose State University in San Jose, CA., earning my BA in Psychology with an emphasis on Abnormal, Personality, and Social Development; along with a minor in African-American Studies (1987 – 1993). Next, thanks to a fellowship, I was able to earn my Master’s Degree in Social Work and Public Policy at XXXX (1995). For my first internship, I was assigned to XXXX Medical Center, in XXXX, California, where I served on two different, multidisciplinary teams, Cardiac and AIDS/HIV. I conducted intake assessments and charted and developed treatment plans.  I also provided prevention/intervention strategies through outreach and education, addressing death and dying issues, depression, substance and drug abuse, and the stigmatization of mental health problems, particularly with respect to the diagnosis of AIDS/HIV.  For the second phase of my internship, I worked at XXXX Family Centers, a community-based organization in the city of Carson focusing on child abuse prevention treatment, parent education and family development, teen parent family services, and youth development.  I led group therapy sessions at the local elementary schools and one high school that was a secured facility.  The children and teens that attended these therapy meetings had behavioral issues, learning disabilities, and mental health problems. I also led family therapy sessions, couples counseling, Sand and Art therapy for children, performed intake assessments, documented and reported cases of child abuse, developed treatment plans utilizing the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, etc.  My Master’s thesis examined how drug/alcohol treatment programs can be designed to meet the holistic needs of women so that they are able to bring their children into the treatment facility. Upon graduating from XXXX, I moved back to northern California and took a position as a Gero-Psychiatric Social Worker at Alameda Hospital where I also led group therapy sessions.  After that, I spent 12 years as a Deputy Sheriff. My husband, also a law enforcement officer, was killed in the line of duty on September 6, 2008. The following year I retired from law enforcement to focus more time on raising our three children,

In the summer of 2013, I decided to pursue my doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Native American Studies at XXXX’s College in Moraga, California where I helped to create curriculum that enabled students to better understand the historical context of  the Native American experience, the development of cultural identity, how to engage and communicate with family members using appropriate cultural protocols, etc. I learned a lot about instructional modalities that meet rigorous pedagogical standards and are culturally responsive and relevant. I also learned a great deal about the systemic issues of substance abuse and mental health problems among our indigenous people. Unfortunately, however, just as I was off to a really good start, I had to take a break to attend to my mother’s cancer diagnosis; by the time that she passed away, my academic interests had shifted in alignment with my professional engagements.

After working at a private college as a Criminal Justice instructor and then the Program Director, I decided to go back to the XXXX County Sheriff’s Office in a non-sworn capacity.  I worked in the Training Division, writing and designing training curriculums and content, coordinating training courses, and instructing.  I then started my own consulting company, XXXX Instructional Services, and I still work with the Sheriff's Office, collaborating with the Training Division to analyze, develop, design, implement, and evaluate training content, curriculum, and instructional methodologies. I also collaborate closely with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) which is the governing body for law enforcement training, working to incorporate public safety 911 dispatchers in the development of a 32-hour Crisis Intervention Training Course to help first responders effectively engage and interact with individuals that suffer from mental illness. I focus on CIT as a theoretical model to build resilience within law enforcement agencies, break cultural barriers and stigma, and improve community relationships and outcomes. In addition to Crisis Intervention Training and De-escalation Techniques, I am especially interested in exploring the relationship between Epigenetics, Trauma, Transgenerational Grief and Healing, I thank you for considering my application to your PsyD Program at XXU.

All of the Statement samples on this web site were written more than 2 years ago and all are anonymous.

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Sample 1st Paragraph PsyD Degree in Counseling Psychology, Sexology

My long term goal is to become a distinguished sexologist. Still only 26, I look forward to spending many decades to come studying mental health issues as they relate to sexuality, especially among communities of color, and the way in which it tends to perpetuate itself across generations in those communities. While completing my undergraduate studies in Psychology at UT Arlington, the single most important experience that I had in terms of the development of my career interest and vocation was working as a Crisis Coach, informing women with unplanned pregnancies of their options, providing them with non medical education, an overview of what happens to the body and baby during pregnancy. I always offered words of encouragement, especially to those who were most distressed. Most of my clients in this program were the same color as I am, black.

Sample 1st Paragraph for the MSc in Psychology of Education

My life experiences – academic, professional, and personal - have inspired me to apply to the MSc Program in Psychology of Education at UCL. My experience as a TEFL teacher in China, in particular, where I taught with children of different age groups, has left me very highly motivated to give my all to educational psychology and the study of child learners and behaviour management in the classroom.

Honest liars, the psychology of self-deception

The voices in my head

Help with your Personal Statement of Purpose for Graduate School in Psychology, MA, PHD, PsyD.

My extensive research concerning what graduate programs in Psychology are looking for in applicants has led me to the following conclusions that I would like to share with you:

Usually, at least one tenure-track faculty member reviews every application, and from there, they create a short list of about 25 percent of the applications, less for highly competitive programs. Then, several faculty members review candidates on the short list and provide feedback. Academic potential as measured by a combination of grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores along with the extent to which the applicant is seen as a good match to the program, its values and areas of research concentration. The GRE score is not as important as many applicants think if you have good grades. One tenured admission committee member in psychology says that: “The psych GRE score usually will not get you in; and it will not keep you out. The importance of the extent to which an applicant matches the general emphasis of the program's training, and has research interests that match an available mentor can hardly be overestimated.

Psychology graduate programs like to see some independent research experience, an ability to think like a scientist, someone who can generate hypotheses, who is familiar with research literature, who can understand the limits to prior research, someone who demonstrates ability for scientific thinking and writing. Some applicants indicate a lot of enthusiasm for an area of research, but not knowledge of how to conduct good research. For example, they might indicate that they're very excited about working with children or adolescents, and that they think it's important to study internalizing symptoms. This is fairly broad. That type of essay will not stand out as much as an applicant who expresses such enthusiasm, but also is knowledgeable about some of the current theories and methodological approaches that are used to study specific developmental psychopathology symptoms.

Your body language may shape who you are.

Statements of Excellence for Admission to Graduate School in Psychology

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The Heroines of Psychology

Too many to count, the women in psychology (or that were in psychology) have taken the field far. Here is a little about some of our favorites.

Susan Blackmore

Susan Blackmore began her career as a parapsychologist and believer in the paranormal. This initial pursuit stemmed largely from an out-of-body experience that she had while studying at Oxford University in the early ‘70s; but approximately 30 years later, Blackmore would become an outspoken skeptic and contributor to memetics (the science that studies how memes (ideas as units of cultural meaning) are spread much like viruses).

Blackmore published a popular book, The Meme Machine, with a foreword by Richard Dawkins in the late ‘90s.

Blackmore is also a consulting editor for the Skeptical Inquirer and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. She has appeared as a TED conference presenter, as well as on the UK version of Big Brother as a consulting psychologist. In 1991, she received the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Distinguished Skeptic Award.

Eleanor Maccoby

Eleanor Maccoby's name is likely familiar to anyone who has ever studied developmental psychology: her pioneering work in the psychology of sex differences played a major role in our current understanding of things such as socialization, biological influences on sex differences, and gender roles.

Maccoby was the first woman to chair the psychology department at Stanford University, and the first woman to ever deliver a lecture at Stanford wearing a pantsuit.

She continues to hold a position as professor emeritus at Stanford. Maccoby has received numerous awards for her groundbreaking work, including the Maccoby Book Award named in her honor.

Elizabeth Loftus

Elizabeth Loftus is most widely recognized for her research on the pliability of human recollection. This includes pioneering studies of eyewitness memory, the creation of false memories and recovered memories.

But Loftus’ work has not only had an impact on psychology—it has also influenced other fields like law. From 1984 to 2002, Loftus served as an adjunct professor of law for the University of Washington.

Loftus was the highest-placed female psychologist on the Review of General Psychology’s list of the 100 most influential psychological researchers of the 20th century.

She is presently an affiliate professor of psychology and law at the University of Washington, and a distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Loftus was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. She won the Grawemeyer Award in psychology in 2005. She was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in the same year.

Christine Ladd-Franklin

Christine Ladd-Franklin's role as a leader in psychology began early in life as both her mother and aunt were staunch supporters of women's rights.

This early influence helped her succeed in her field despite considerable opposition. It also inspired her later work advocating for women's rights in academia.

Ladd-Franklin was originally interested in psychology, logic, mathematics, physics, and astronomy. She challenged one of the leading male psychologists of the day, Edward Titchener, for not allowing women into his group for experimentalists.

Today, she is remembered for both her work in psychology and her influence as a pioneering woman in a field once dominated by men, opening the door for more women to enter and enjoy their careers in this area.

Alison Gopnik

Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology; she’s an affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Gopnik specializes in the study of how language affects thought and is an authority on developmental psychology and the philosophy of mind. Her 2009 book The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life is a critically acclaimed bestseller. She has been a regular guest on TV shows such as The Charlie Rose Show and The Colbert Report.

Slate calls Gopnik, “One of the most prominent researchers in the field.” She is considered to be “one of the finest writers, with a special gift for relating scientific research to the questions that parents and others most want answered.”

Gopnik is also a Wall Street Journal columnist. Her research into mathematical models for child learning is considered potentially useful for the future development of artificial intelligence.

Anna Freud

When most people hear the name Freud, Sigmund is usually the first name that comes to mind.

However, the famous psychoanalyst's daughter Anna was a well-known and influential psychologist in her own right.

Anna Freud expanded upon her father's ideas. She developed the field of child psychoanalysis and influenced other thinkers, such as Erik Erikson.

Barbara L. Fedrickson

Barbara L. Fredrickson is based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab. She is a distinguished professor of psychology as well as the lab’s principal investigator there.

Fredrickson’s field is social psychology. She is at the forefront of research into positive psychology and how positive emotions affect behavior.

Fredrickson received the first ever Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, the International Positive Psychology Association’s highest accolade in 2013.

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health considers her research vital. It has continued to fund her work for the last 16 years. Fredrickson is also an internationally sought-after keynote speaker; it’s well worth checking out one of her talks.

Brenda Milner

British neuropsychologist Brenda Milner is regarded as the “founder of neuropsychology,” and has contributed a vast amount of research to the field and continues to work at the age of 95.

Milner is currently a professor at McGill University’s Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as a professor of psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

At present, her work is partly focused on how the left and right hemispheres of the brain interact as well as the study of neural pathways involved in the learning of language.

The many honors she has received for her work include the prestigious Gairdner Award, the Order of Canada and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.

We love women psychologists, and the changes they are making in this field. The pioneering women that will change our future. We’d also love to support you in your studies. Will you allow us to?