#IBridgetheMindAndBody by Ashley O’Hearn
Clinical Psychology, PsyD and Health Psychology Concentration
1) What inspired you to pursue your degree?
Everything that has happened in my life, both personally and professionally, has led up to my decision to pursue psychology. My job experience after my master's degree validated that I wanted to get a doctorate in clinical psychology. Namely, I wanted to have more opportunities in my future to impact the community at a macro-level and to be “The career possibilities are endless.”the best psychotherapist that I could be. I worked as a mental health clinician for a couple years prior to starting the clinical program and found that most of my clients had chronic health issues that would sometimes take precedence over traditional psychotherapy. This experience working with clients made me realize that health psychology is extremely important in the field and I wanted to learn more about behavioral medicine. I became curious about the mind-body connection as well as understanding how patients' symptoms were related to and intertwined with how they felt physically and vice versa. This became an interest of mine and that is the reason I decided to concentrate in health psychology.
2) Describe your experience at William James College?
My experience at William James College has been an overall good, insightful, yet challenging journey. The reason why I say challenging is because while in the clinical program, the academic standards are very high—not that I would expect anything else of a doctorate program—but I had been out of school a couple of years and it was a transition for me to get back into the groove of classes and homework. However, I have met many wonderful faculty who have been exceptional mentors to me. I have not only grown academically, but feel more confident about my analytical thinking, clinical insight, as well as confidence as a professional. I also like that the structure of the program encourages students to do a lot of self-examination. For example, exploring what you bring to the therapy relationship and how to notice when there are dynamic shifts between you and your client. Learning to focus on the relational piece of psychotherapy has helped me immensely in being successful with helping my clientele.
3) What do you envision doing in your career post-graduation?
I envision doing many things with my doctorate in psychology. I feel fortunate to be interested in so many different aspects of clinical psychology. I have a love for psychotherapy; thus, my long-term goal is to someday start a private practice. I imagine that it would be an integrated type of setting where I would help clients in all aspects— not just focus on their mental health— but focus on behavioral medicine as well as lifestyle changes to aid a person in feeling balanced. Because William James College introduced me to various classes, such as testing, I have discovered that I am interested in utilizing psychological, neuropsychological, and cognitive testing to help inform my practice of psychotherapy. I find that testing is an added tool that can help me provide quality care that my clients deserve.
I have always wanted to be in a leadership position and hope to seek out a director position right after I graduate. I want to gain more varied experience and utilize my skills to supervise and teach others. I love the fact that I will have the opportunity to get to supervise my fourth year—my guess is that this sets William James College apart from other clinical programs. I have also found out that I love teaching- I have had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in the clinical program during the last two years at William James and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have also been told by faculty that there are many possibilities of being a consultant for businesses, i.e., medical and business settings. The possibilities really are endless.