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Uses Blended Approach: Psychodynamic, Existential/experiential and Humanistic Therapy to Assist Patients

Uses Blended Approach: Psychodynamic, Existential/experiential and Humanistic Therapy to Assist Patients

Summer Schneider
2014, Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University
Psychologist III at Arizona State Hospital

“[My] education prepared me for a career as a licensed clinical psychologist with coursework that included both emerging research and foundational classic texts, relevant clinical training experiences, faculty accessibility outside of scheduled classes and quality role modeling from expert educators.”

Uses Blended Approach: Psychodynamic, Existential/experiential and Humanistic Therapy to Assist Patients

Dr. Summer Schneider is a psychologist at Arizona State Hospital where she provides forensic programming services to patients. “My primary responsibilities include forensic evaluation and report writing, general psychological evaluation for diagnostic clarification, co-management of two forensic units, treatment planning, individual therapy, group therapy, supervision, consultation and training of direct care staff,” she says.

Schneider works with many populations at the hospital, an inpatient psychiatric facility. These include civilly committed men and women with serious mental illness, forensically committed men and women who have been adjudicated Guilty Except Insane (GEI) for the commission of a violent crime, pre-trial men and women in the Restoration to Competency (RTC) program and adult males committed to the Arizona Community Protection and Treatment Center (ACPTC) due to Sexually Violent Person (SVP) status.

Schneider earned a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in 2014. “I quickly became aware of the limitations associated with my undergraduate degree. Working in proximity to various master’s and doctor level mental health professionals clarified my aspiration of becoming a licensed psychologist. I was especially drawn to their leadership and seemingly broad repertoire of competence in therapy, psychological evaluation, supervision and research,” she adds.

She chose Argosy University because of its well-respected program, training and education, small class sizes, caring faculty and proximity to family. Schneider is a first generation college student and did not have an educational “roadmap” to follow. She says, “it was difficult to turn down family gatherings in favor of endless studying. I am eternally grateful for my family’s patience and cheerleading along the way.”

Schneider’s education at Argosy University included comprehensive academic coursework including emerging research and foundational classic texts, relevant clinical training experiences, faculty accessibility outside of scheduled classes and quality role modeling from expert educators.

She earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2012 and completed her “ultimate goal” of completing doctor level studies while training in community mental health, at the county jail and Arizona State Hospital. “This further informed my passion for instilling hope and providing care to underserved inpatient populations. Following an incredible internship, I was hired into the psychology department and completed an additional year of informal post-doctoral training [at Arizona State Hospital],” she adds.

While working at the hospital, Schneider strengthened her blended therapeutic approach in private practice. This approach includes psychodynamic, existential/experiential and humanistic therapy.

Schneider is an advocate for policy reform to improve protections for gender diverse patients and employees. “Consistent with these efforts, I am developing a mandatory training module to educate direct care staff about best practices for the treatment of patients who identify as transgender,” she states. Schneider was selected to pilot a psychologist-run unit at the hospital’s forensic campus, leading multidisciplinary treatment team in serving 15-20 forensic patients. “The role of treatment team leader has traditionally been reserved for psychiatric staff. Reimagining this role to include psychologists represents an important milestone in the evolution of the psychology department from consultative staff to fully integrated treatment team members,” she says.

She recommends that current students get a head start on studying for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP). Schneider states, “the longer you wait to rip the tape off the box and begin studying, the harder your experience will likely be. There is a unique element to the EPPP which separates it from any other exam. You must meaningfully commit the information to memory and learn the artfully complex language of the EPPP. The questions are uniquely worded. Learn the language so you do not get lost in it.”

Schneider also works part-time as a private contractor conducting forensic evaluations for the Department of Child Safety (DCS) and providing disability evaluations for the Department of Economic Security (DES). She appreciates the meaningful relationships built at Argosy University. “The committee chair of my dissertation is one of my greatest mentors. I often reflect upon the magnitude of his positive influence [and am] grateful for his role in introducing me to my preferred therapeutic approach, his guidance in developing my observational skills, his ongoing friendship, wisdom and support,” she states.

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