Current student working toward a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | Schaumburg
Doctoral Psychology Intern at the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
“At the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | Schaumburg, I’ve obtained a superior level of training from the faculty, who are dedicated to the growth of each and every student.”
Non-traditional Student Pursuing a Lifelong Goal of Working as a Psychologist
Bahareh Sahebi never gave up on her passion to pursue a career psychology. After completing undergraduate degrees in sociology and psychology, she became a corporate business analyst and project manager. But she turned that detour into an opportunity to develop competencies that benefited her clinical studies. “My previous career greatly contributed to my strong level of adaptiveness including evolving within a changing environment, utilizing a systematic approach to critically analyze situations, developing flexibility, enhancing the ability to attend to details and expanding an elevated level of learning agility,” she stated.
“My goal was always to obtain a Doctor in Clinical Psychology,” she added. “I wanted to learn about the science behind clinical practices and gain the skills I’d need to contribute to the literature, through research practices. I also wanted to learn about diagnostic practices and integrative assessments in order to thoroughly conduct psychological evaluations.” Her clinical research project was titled “Reproductive Decisions in Choosing a Childfree or Parenting Lifestyle: Adapting Psycho-educational Program for Couples from In-Vivo to Online Models.”
Sahebi is working toward a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | Schaumburg. She’s currently an intern at the State of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DHMAS) a hands-on experience that places her in many different settings, including:
· River Valley Services, providing community mental health for outpatient treatment of individuals with severe and persistent mental illness;
· Whiting Forensic Division, a psychiatric inpatient maximum security prison;
· Blue Hills, an inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation facility in the inner-city;
· Mobile Crisis assessment, working with social workers and psychiatrists to conduct risk assessment identified by a state police department; and
· Cognitive remediation research with individuals within the public sector who have some form of a psychotic disorder.
She admits that it was challenging to be a non-traditional student. “One of my biggest challenges throughout graduate school was to find my own place as a student transitioning from a non-traditional academic background and also changing careers,” she said. “One thing I appreciated about the program [at Argosy University] was the diversity in the student population’s age and previous career backgrounds. Looking back, I am sincerely grateful to a number of faculty members who took the time to get to know students like me. They provided opportunities to help me bridge my skills from a previous career into competencies within the program that ultimately helped to enrich my overall experience as both a graduate student and a launching professional.”
In September of 2017, Sahebi will begin a two-year residency program as a postdoctoral clinical scholar fellow at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. She will work with individuals, families, and couples in a clinical setting. Sahebi will teach classes within the Clinical Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy master’s degree programs and provide clinical supervision of students at The Family Institute. She’ll also be involved in research related to families and couples.
She is proud of her work at DHMAS, which includes providing individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy within the public sector to individuals diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness. Sahebi’s internship has also provided the opportunity to develop advanced skills in psychodiagnostic testing within both outpatient community and maximum-security forensic settings. She has also received ongoing didactic training in psychological assessment, neuropsychology, case conceptualization and the integration of science and practice; worked collaboratively within a multidisciplinary team including medical practitioners, social workers, case managers, psychiatrists and vocational rehabilitation specialists; and collaborated with a research team from Wesleyan University on a cognitive remediation study with participants who have schizophrenia or schizoaffective diagnoses. This effort was part of her internship clinical research project and involved program development for patients within the public sector.
Though her career is still young, Sahebi continues to develop a multi-systemic outlook in client care—a view she discovered in her master’s degree program. “At the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | Schaumburg, I obtained a superior level of training and supervision from psychologists and marriage and family therapy supervisors,” she said. “My clinical experience tookplace in a variety of settings including non-for-profit organizations, private practice settings, inpatient behavioral units, substance abuse rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, forensic maximum security psychiatric treatment facilities, partial hospitalization settings within a behavioral health hospital and community mental health centers focused on public sector services. Through these experiences, I have learned the skills necessary to conduct and evaluate psychological assessments and write comprehensive reports.”
Sahebi recommends that current students step outside of their comfort zones and learn to face fears. “If there is a certain clinical population that you are afraid to work with, then apply to practicum placements that will nurture your strengths and show you that those insecurities can be changed,” she said. “If writing is an area where you struggle, ask for feedback and take advantage of the many resources at Argosy University, including writing tutors to help you refine those skills. Life balance may not always be possible but don’t ever fall short on developing your own way to self care.”
Sahebi believes that one of the most important tasks for a clinician is to be attentive to one’s own cultural competence. She is encouraged to continuously work toward becoming a culturally-informed professional in the field, prepared to provide individual, family, couple, and group therapy. “My diverse training experiences have helped me acquire competency in treating a multicultural clinical population while providing care for individuals and families with consideration of systemic factors,” she added. “Much of my clinical experience has focused on helping underserved individuals and families with a history of exposure to trauma. Training at both the national and local levels has helped me gain an appreciation for demonstrating effective assessment and psychotherapeutic skills tailored toward culturally diverse clinical populations.”
She’s been invited to speak at numerous regional, national and international conferences and has received the following awards:
· Recipient of the 2014 IAMFT Maurlea Babb Conference Scholarship
· Recipient of the 2013-2014 Illinois School of Professional Psychology Diversity Fellowship Scholarship
· Recipient of the 2012-2013 Illinois School of Professional Psychology Academic Scholarship
· Recipient of the Alfred Adler Scholarship
· Recipient of the Academic Achievement Award, Northern Illinois University
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