Undergraduate Studies ePortfolio Deoid’e Cunningham BA Psychology, 2012
My focus seems to be two areas, clinical and health psychology. This obviously means that either one or both of these areas should be my focus in graduate school. I would definitely say that since I have experienced and overcome areas throughout my own life in which these professionals focus on might give me an advantage in helping people getting help with health, emotional and social issues
Personal Statement pg. 2
I admit that when I first started working on my BA in Psychology at Argosy University, I was not very confident about my abilities to convey the required material in my work. Then, when I began to read mostly praises from my professors and fellow students about my writing skills and thorough coverage of assignment requirements I became more and more confident that clinical psychology was the field for me to focus on. This of course, was coupled with the remembrance of how the whole process began although some of it had occurred several years before I had even considered entering the field of psychology. These are the reasons why I have both enjoyed and excelled in my learning skills throughout my undergraduate education.
Personal Statement pg. 3
The only way to convey this is to start from slightly before it happened and then go over why my academic journey began and how it blossomed into a focus on psychology. I have to explain a few things that led up to the choice of psychology to make it clear how the process started so please bare with me. I remember when I first started with my college experience my plan was to become a biologist and then I realized that the field of biology is a very broad one due to the fact that it literally means the science of life. Then and only then did I realize that it was the human life that had my strongest interest. I thought that physiology was the subject that would direct me into a field, which completely covered human life.
Personal Statement pg. 4
I decided to talk to my student advisor about this and he made it clear to me that physiology would have more to do with an area of the medical field that focused on researching what medications work best for specific physiological issues. This was exactly what I did not want to have anything to do with, mainly because of the negative experiences I have had with being overmedicated and inaccurately medicated beginning at the age of 15 years old; which has to do with the time before my academic journey that I mentioned earlier.
Personal Statement pg. 5
I began having grand mal seizures in the summer of 1989, which continued on for several years causing me to loose about eleven years of my life. Then at the age of 26 years old I started going to a counselor who used Neurofeedback, also known as Biofeedback. This was the therapy he used to treat several of his patients who had similar developmental health issues such as Epilepsy. That man was able to get me off many of the unneeded medications by working with my newfound physician. This was very helpful since the doctor had been struggling to find a more effective medicine for me. The counselor suggested two seizure medications that he had seen used for other clients who he had helped with Epilepsy. The reason for this was that those people had each shown less seizure activity when used in conjunction with his Neurofeedback sessions.
Personal Statement pg. 6
This helped lower my seizure activity, which in turn made me able to realize that I had a brain that really wanted to be used. This is why I went to get my Graduation Equivalency Degree (G.E.D.) and then I decided to start my college education. I was able to get my Associate in Art University College Transfer degree (A.A.U.C.T.) in five years. I was so inspired with the “natural medicine” approach, which my counselor had used that I decided to use my A.A.U.C.T. degree to try my hand at Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (P.C.O.M.). This unfortunately did not work due to a few reasons that had to do with dishonesty by P.C.O.M., but I was not about to let that stop me from getting into a profession that I could help people with something other than medications.
Personal Statement pg. 7
I was very inspired by the things that the teacher of the Clinical counseling class I had taken at P.C.O.M. had said to me. These comments were about how he felt that due to my experiences in life and my ability to over come them I would be very good at helping others. The other praises he had were about my ability to analyze and express these experiences and in turn find the best ways to confront and deal with many of the other things that had happened throughout my childhood and early adulthood without any help from professionals. There have also been similar comments from other mental health care professionals throughout my schooling at both Argosy campus’ in Seattle and San Diego.
Personal Statement pg. 8
The comment from the teacher at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (P.C.O.M.) was what helped me to recognize the brain was mainly what I found so interesting. This in turn helped me to realize psychology was the field of study that focused specifically on that subject. That brought me to my ultimate goal of being able to help others find the best way, which works for them, to overcome the hurdles that their life may throw at them. When I made this revelation another one came with it, which is something I have said to others and myself during my education “What better way than to focus in on an area of psychology that I have had both personal and academic experiences in than what clinical and health psychology covers?”
Resume pg. 1
A highly tenacious person with educational and personal background in Psychology
A person who goes out of their way to help others with emotional, social and personal issues
A person who has good writing skills and told by professors that views on Psychological issues are realistic
A student that takes pride in going above and beyond the call of duty on assignments
A student that is serious and dedicated to getting the proper education to be able to help people professionally
Resume pg. 2
Overcame the odds being stacked against me by the developmental disability of Epilepsy
Worked through serious childhood traumas without any professional help
Began College Education in 2001 after 12 years of frequent hospitalizations and injuries
Have worked through continued setbacks while keeping the ability to not give up on my goals
Resume pg. 3
Volunteered at San Juan Rehabilitation and Convalescent Center in 2006
Started attending Argosy University of Seattle in 2009 to reach goal to becoming a Psychologist
Transferred to Argosy University of San Diego in 2011
Joined the Argosy University Psychology Club of San Diego in 2011
Volunteered for the San Diego Homeless Veteran’s Stand Down on July 16-17, 2011
Resume pg. 4
2001 Graduation Equivalency Degree (GED) @ Skagit Valley College
2001-2006 Associates in Art University College Transfer Degree (AAUCT ) @ Skagit Valley College
2008 No Degree Earned @ Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
2009-2011 BA in Psychology @ Argosy University Seattle Campus
2011-2012 (Expected) @ BA in Psychology Argosy University San Diego Campus
The time I have spent at Argosy has been a thrilling and fulfilling struggle. This may make me sound like a Jekyll and Hyde, but it is meant to convey the feeling that has come from getting that chance to be and do what I want to with my life. This is to help others work through and prevail in their trying times that life can throw at them. I said it has been a thrilling and fulfilling struggle. What I mean by thrilling is the feeling and mental boost I have experienced each time I have learned, analyzed and written about with each and every subject required in the Undergraduate Program. I see these classes as more of an honor to be able to take part in than a requirement.
What I mean by fulfilling is the feeling that comes from knowing I can and will make things work no matter what may come up in my life. That is also where the use of struggle stems from. I do know that there are people that have much harder things to deal with in their lives than I do. This is actually one of the main reasons that I am pursuing this thrilling and fulfilling struggle of my own. I feel that having dealt with and prevailed in all the struggles in my life before and during my time at Argosy makes me a mentally strong person. I wrote a very personal Learning contract in my first class of, Interpersonal Effectiveness. taken at Argosy, which I want to share with the world as an example of who I am. I do feel that I have met almost all the goals mentioned in this paper. The ones that I have not yet accomplished will be at some point, since I do refuse to give up on myself. I feel that by helping myself I will gain the ability to help others find the way that works for them. I do feel that my strengths are in learning, analyzing and writing about the many subjects covered in the process of pursuing a career in Psychology.
Reflection pg . 2
At Argosy University Interpersonal Effectiveness is a required class, this is one of the best ways for a student to learn the skill. The purpose of this class and its assignments are to help the students gain real knowledge from the interaction and teachings on the understanding of oneself, others and real life group settings.
“ I Am…”
I am a very tenacious person. This is the main reason I have overcome several of the obstacles in my life. This is also why I refuse to give up until I reach my goals no matter how many attempts it takes me to reach them. I try to be very caring and considerate to everyone with whom I come into contact. I can truly say that I had a very emotionally trying life starting at a young age when my grandfather molested my sister and me. The fact that it came at a stage in my life when I was still working on forming my self-concept was a set back for me. It took me several years to realize that it was not my fault which then brought with it anger and hurt. Although I can say that I have dealt with it in a healthy way it is still sort of like a wound that never completely healed.
I have tackled several hurdles through my life and I would say earlier on in life I was not so effective at dealing with them yet I do feel I always acted appropriately. My effectiveness has definitely improved through the years. I certainly know there will be other hurdles to overcome since life is full of them. Now that I have more knowledge on how to deal with obstacles I would imagine or at least hope that none will be as trying as the ones in the past.
Most of my life while living with my mother I wasn’t encouraged to express my emotions. It was more of a keep it to yourself situation. I recently had to start dealing with this again while having to take care of her as she is recovering from foot surgery.
Reflection pg .3
She has always had it in her mind that she could tell me anything and that I should listen to her. I find myself going along with it again as I always did before. Now it’s because I do not want to cause her more stress than what she is already dealing with; whereas earlier on it was related to the fact that I felt powerless against her. I don’t like having to go through this again and I know this method is not effective but I don’t think now is the appropriate time to confront her with it. I definitely love and care for her. I am able to empathize with her since I have had some serious health issues and surgeries thrust upon me having no time to prepare myself for them. I just have some opposing feelings and even though I know the loving ones are stronger they are still having a battle with the resentful ones.
I am hoping that once she fully recovers I can resolve some of the other issues in an effective way while being appropriate. The only problem is that I know how she is and that her perspective of appropriate is far from realistic. She has a self-serving bias that if I am not saying it the way she sees it then I am not being appropriate; therefore I am not worth listening to. This could cause some problems since she actually likes conflicts. I prefer resolution and always take the passive approach constantly trying to avoid conflicts. I need to work on my abilities to deal with conflicting situations and learn how to assert myself more effectively while staying appropriate. Steering clear of conflicts is often appropriate but not always effective. The main reason I say that it’s appropriate is because arguing is not very good for people’s health due to the heightened levels of stress it causes.
Reflection pg .4
On the other hand holding back feelings is also not healthy; therefore it’s neither effective nor appropriate. I would say it’s more effective and appropriate to get it out and over with because the person can recover from the stress incurred by it; whereas if they hold feelings back they will continue to stress about them until they either deal with them or the built up feelings explode usually not having a very appropriate or effective outcome. I prefer to deal with feelings right when they arise always trying to be both effective and appropriate while taking as much time as needed to work them out.
One of the feelings or perceptions I have been trying for years to strengthen is my self-confidence especially my academic confidence. I have noticed improvement at appreciating myself over the years but I still doubt my abilities a little too often. I hope to become more effective with this and I think the best way is to acknowledge my abilities and give myself more credit for what I have achieved and will continue on with in life.
“ You Are…”
I have learned that I can relate to people that are open and clear on how they feel about things. I can also respect people who don’t want to open up, it is just harder for me to relate to them since I have a strong need and want for self-disclosure. This can even work against me at times because many people are uncomfortable with self-disclosure; therefore feeling weary of me when I open up to them possibly feeling that they will have to disclose things if they spend time with me. I try to give everyone a chance and always try to make it clear that I am willing to listen if they want or need to talk about pretty much anything but will also respect their space if they don’t want to open up to me.
Reflection pg .5
When the situation does arise that they want to talk I make sure to let them know I will listen to them and I always make sure to only ask questions when appropriate. I like to do this by paraphrasing and empathizing with them letting them know they have my total attention and I understand how they feel inside.
The main types of people I do have some difficulty relating to are ones that are conceited and ones that accept the fallacy of perfection. I have a very hard time dealing with the way both types tend to act since they have similar personality traits. They also wind up being hard to communicate with since they are usually too busy putting on a show to be honest; while simultaneously covering up their true self. If I wanted to interact with an animated person I would create my own. At least that way I could program it to a pleasant setting.
I have come to not like conflicts and become quite stressed when one arises. I have figured out and been told by counselors this is from the several years that this was occurring almost every day with my mother. I know that every child has conflicts with their parents but ours was definitely a little more extreme than most parent–child relationships and there was a daily conflict ritual. Although there was only one incident when violence occurred by her it stays vivid in my mind. I used to try to stand up for myself but gave up since it would only escalate the severity of the conflict. I became the child that was constantly thinking “Don’t attack me, I know my place, I know I’m helpless.” When faced with conflicts now I am able to deal with them appropriately, although I am still working on strengthening my effectiveness. I contribute to my sense of other by being realistic and honest with myself and others. I don’t have any self-serving bias and am good at self-monitoring; therefore I don’t wind up thinking I’m better than them and I’m able to communicate effectively.
Reflection pg .6
In an academic or personal regard I don’t judge a person by their prior schooling, grades or abilities. However, I am bothered by people who try to get away with not doing their part in group projects or avoid required participation in class. I always try to give everyone an equal chance and I do respect that some people are shy and don’t feel comfortable interacting with fellow students but I become irritated when it is obvious that they just don’t want to do their share of the work. I also need to work on my issue with test anxiety. I always study but a lot of the time right before tests the material disappears because I become so nervous. I have trouble focusing on my reading at times because my mind starts wandering; which can be very frustrating since I need to retain the material. In any profession a person goes into they will need to be willing to do their part, learn how to interact with others effectively and be able to deal with situations in which they will need to remember information while staying calm and stay focused.
I can never be sure that my perception of others is accurate. I just try to be sure not to form any conclusions without first going through the steps of perception; which are selection, organization, interpretation and negotiation. Even then if I think my view is right there is always the possibility that someone else could see it from a totally different angle. I am always willing to accept that other people’s perceptions are different. Therefore, I can’t really be sure who’s right because even if I hear and consider the other persons opinion and there are similarities in our views both of our perceptions could still not be accurate. I just have to gather as much information as possible to form my perception and also be willing to admit that I may be wrong.
Reflection pg .7
“ We Are…”
Those of us new to Argosy need to establish a collectivistic culture with our peers and the staff. This will help start the cycle of a comfortable communication climate for us.
We can learn from other students while sharing our knowledge and insight. This will help us start the bonding process. It’s always good to make new friends and initiating is the very first step of relational development. This can possibly become a stronger bond since we are people that share similar academic goals. We can help strengthen each others abilities to reach our goals by giving our encouragement and support in the learning process, comfortably working together on our relational maintenance. We can share our opinions and give each other constructive criticism; plus by then we will have most likely reached the ideal stage of bonding and we can work on maintaining this mutually beneficial relationship to in turn help each other reach our goals.
In this type of academic setting as with any we need to try not to make social comparisons. Just because we may not be doing too well in our studies doesn’t mean someone that may have got a higher score or grade is any better than us. It’s best to focus on our self and our own goals rather than obsess about how well someone else is doing; this will only cause more of a distraction for us. Although it is hard not to do at times we are better off not wasting our energy on changing our faces to try to impress other students. We should try putting that energy into being our true self if we want to get to know the other persons true self. If we show our real face to them it is more likely going to help others feel more comfortable showing us their real face.
This is even more important here at Argosy since when we finally reach our goals we will need to know how to show our real self to our patients or even for those of us who are working toward a business degree we will still need to know how to be our real selves.
We need to learn how to manage our identity in an honest way since as humans we are bound to make some kind of mistake when we try to put on a front. I have always said that when we tell a lie we have to tell another one and so on. At some point we’re going to lose track of which lie was the last one we told causing us to slip up. Why not just start with the truth? That way we don’t have to waste the time and energy on constructing new lies. We also just feel better in general when we are being honest with ourselves and everyone around us since the stress level is lower. When we can trust ourselves it is more likely that others will trust us.
The main things I feel I need to work on to succeed academically are my academic confidence, working in groups, stopping test anxiety, acknowledging my skills and improving my reading skills. I have made sure to include all of these into my learning contact making sure to be S.M.A.R.T. when constructing it. I always like to reinforce to myself and all my fellow students that one of the most important tools for forging our paths in life is to “Know You Can!” If we remind ourselves of this and believe it we are much more likely to be able to help others in strengthening their own belief of it.
Research Methods- https://www.box.net/shared/o6k33exeef45o678q3l0
My Future in Learning
I feel that the best way to convey this is from a third person or etic perspective. It starts from the beginning of my education, which leads to the future. That is why I would entitle this “My Future in Formation.”
I could tell that Deoid’e Cunningham had the potential to fulfill anything she put her mind to from the first day I met her. She wasn’t as sure of herself then as she is now but we all have to start somewhere. We started out with a teacher-student relationship that has grown into a strong and meaningful friendship. The lasting relationship with Deoid’e began in 2001 when she took one of my ceramic classes at Skagit Valley College. We both found out she was an excellent motivator due to her ability and positive attitude towards inspiring and helping other students in the class. She graduated in 2006 and tried Oriental Medicine, which due to the schools academic dishonesty didn’t work. I thought she had given up on her education since that is what she expressed to me until 2009 when she enrolled at Argosy University. In 2012 she graduated from Argosy with her MA in Clinical Psychology. For the past 2 years she has shared a practice with a Criminal Psychologist in Mission Hills, San Diego.
My Future In Learning pg. 2
The last time we spoke she said she was planning on going back to school to get her PsyD in Clinical Psychology. Even though I miss seeing her we are in verbal contact almost weekly. We share our views and feelings about our everyday experiences and personal lives. It feels so good to talk to someone who I know will give me honest feedback on the positive and negative things in my life. I also get a great feeling from being able to do the same for her, which in turn helps me even more to understand why she enjoys her job so much. I know that our relationship has become stronger from being able to empathize with each other since, in a sense; we both work in fields where you help others My job is not as strongly based in that area as hers is but I know what it feels like to be able to get through to people and help them to learn how to reach their goals.
My Future In Learning pg. 3
I think our friendship has always been strong but with the constant communication and support we give each other it has become even stronger in the past few years. I know her so well that I can tell from her tone of voice when things are or are not going well. There have been a few times that we’ve spoken that I could tell she was stressed but the majority of the time she sounds cheerful and energized. I can tell she truly gets a positive reinforcement in life from helping others. She had told me about one of the patients she was starting to worry about because she had tried one of her own therapeutic ideas and was thinking it might have been the wrong therapy for this patient. Then a few weeks ago she sounded so happy, confident and relieved when she said “The music and tea therapy finally started working. I knew it would. It just took a little longer with this person.” When she makes those breakthroughs with people she and the client both benefit.
My Future In Learning pg. 4
There was also one case where she couldn’t think of a way to approach a client with any of her therapeutic ideas without the possibility of upsetting him again. She finally came up with an idea yet was still worried that it might backfire. I could tell she was more concerned about being able to help the client than she was about her own failure. It turned out to be the perfect idea to help this person without upsetting him. She told me a few details which were about how this man was thinking that no one in his family wanted anything to do with him since he had recently gotten out of prison for a sexual offense. She tried to get him to contact them but he said he was positive they would reject him and he couldn’t handle that. He was very upset with her idea and said there was no point in him coming back if she was going to keep making these stupid suggestions.
My Future In Learning pg. 5
Then she came up with the idea of contacting a few of his family members herself to ask them how they felt about her client. She was worried that this might be considered a little unprofessional but she tried it anyway. The client’s mother and sister both contacted him. He came to her office a few days later to tell her about this and explained how they had both told him that the only reason they had not called was because they had just found out he was out of prison and weren’t sure how to get a hold of him. He didn’t know what she had done but he still expressed his appreciation for all her help and support. She has definitely come a long way from when she first started practicing because then it was more of a “what if I fail?” attitude. I guess some people might see not being able to help someone as failure but that’s not the way she expresses it to me. Now with her it’s more of a “that’s ok, we’ll try something else.” attitude
My Future In Learning pg. 6
She has always been a tenacious person and when you add that to kind and considerate you have someone who is truly devoted to helping people with their hurdles; in others words you have Deoid’e. She is always professional and never mentions names to me just certain treatment tactics she has used with clients. The ones I have heard about the most are the feelings journal, music with tea therapy and inner motivation therapy. I personally have tried all three of these and have found that they are each helpful concerning specific issues I deal with in my busy life. She sounded thrilled when she told me that her amount of clients has tripled in the last year. For her it’s not about money it’s about helping others improve their outlook on life. I am extremely proud of her strong abilities in helping others to work through their obstacles in life. She never gives up on herself or others no matter how long reaching the goal takes. I really wish I had her strong compassion and patience. She said there are several people who have mentioned that either their friends or family had told them about the positive progress they’ve made during and after therapy from her, which was the main reason they chose to see her.
My Future In Learning pg. 7
Even though I know she enjoys helping every client I have noticed she gets extra enthusiastic about treating people who have had sexual abuse and ones that have family issues. She is very good at getting people to realize that they are the ones doing the healing on their own and all she is doing is giving them the support to reach their goals. I admire her everlasting positive outlook on life. I always wind up feeling invigorated after our conversations. I know she says I am a mentor to her but she is also one to me along with being a truly valued friend. I say this because I may have started as her teacher but now it seems as if I am learning how to deal with my own hurdles and how to appreciate myself much more with her help. I have noticed an improvement in my marriage and even though I am not one of her clients I feel that our talks and her suggestions on some of the things we have spoken about have had a strong therapeutic effect on me. I also have so much respect for her ability to persevere to reach her ultimate goal of helping others to know they can make it in this challenging world if they really wish to.
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