Over the last month, I’ve interviewed 4 different clinicians for the Psych Mic podcast, each with different degrees, career trajectories, population focuses, work settings, and general perspective on their jobs. They each share really useful and actionable advice, and I wanted to share some of my favorite insights with you today. Topics include:
Getting into grad school
Finding clinical experiences
Dr. Isha Metzger
PhD in Clinical-Community Psychology
Isha is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor at Georgia State University. She has practiced as a licensed clinician but currently is focused on research and its community/public health implications. See her lab site here (in the episode, she encourages you to reach out if you want to get involved in their research)!
Go to conferences and meet faculty doing work in areas you're passionate about. Here's a good place to start finding conferences.
Send emails to faculty you see yourself working under in grad school -- introduce yourself and ask to talk! Click on the episode and listen to minutes ~44:28-50:30 to hear how.
Dr. Laura Kasper
PhD in Counseling Psychology
Laura is a licensed counseling psychologist. She owns a private practice, teachs business students at Stanford Business School, supervises psychiatry residents at Stanford Medical School, provides therapy, and does coaching. She describes her therapy "niche" as high achievers and founders.
Want to know if you're suited to be a clinician? Find "prototype experiences" that help you get a sense of what it's like to do this work. Here's a useful thread and an article about gaining clinical experience.
Doctoral programs want people who (1) share passions with faculty members and (2) show a capacity for self-reflection. Demonstrate this on your applications! Listen to the episode to learn how Laura did this, and how she got into the #1 Counseling program in the country (UMD).
Dr. Dan Tomasulo
PhD in Developmental Psychology (later switched to clinical track for licensure)
Dan is a licensed counseling psychologist. His clinical specialization is in psychodrama and sociometry, with an academic specialization in intellectual disabilities. He also has an MFA in creative nonfiction and a Master's in Applied Positive Psychology from UPenn, where he's been working under Martin Seligman since.
For aspiring clinicians afraid of burnout: “Be very sensitive to when you're feeling depleted and don't dismiss it. We can all feel set back for a little bit, you know, 48, 72 hours. But if it's a couple of weeks and you're feeling depleted and kind of trenching yourself, something's got to change... When I started to feel [depressed], I realized, oh my goodness, I need my own therapy."
Dr. Alexandra Canetti
MD (Board-Certified Psychiatrist)
Alex is a child psychiatrist. This means she went to medical school, completed a psychiatry residency, and a fellowship in child psychiatry. She has an emphasis on providing culturally competent care to families in the Latinx community in NYC. While some of her work involves therapy, most of it is psychopharmacology (i.e., medication management.)
"[Medical school] was very difficult for me." It would have been easier had Alex had mentors to show her the way. But how do you find psychiatrists to be your mentors? Alex's tip is to go through professional organizations. For example, you can visit the American Academy for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and reach out to psychiatrists practicing in areas you're curious about. If you are a medical student, you can join the AACAP Mentoring Network here and get paired with a mentor!