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Book IV Getting The Internship You Want:  How to write APPIC essays that get you noticed . . . without completely losing your sanity          (Essay 4:  Your Research Experience and Interests)
 

Book IV Getting The Internship You Want: How to write APPIC essays that get you noticed . . . without completely losing your sanity (Essay 4: Your Research Experience and Interests)

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Book IV helps you to find ways of describing your research experience and interests that demonstrate your commitment to empirically-based treatment approaches, even if you are primarily training to ...

Book IV helps you to find ways of describing your research experience and interests that demonstrate your commitment to empirically-based treatment approaches, even if you are primarily training to become a clinical psychologist.

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    Book IV Getting The Internship You Want:  How to write APPIC essays that get you noticed . . . without completely losing your sanity          (Essay 4:  Your Research Experience and Interests) Book IV Getting The Internship You Want: How to write APPIC essays that get you noticed . . . without completely losing your sanity (Essay 4: Your Research Experience and Interests) Document Transcript

    • Getting the Internship You Want: How to write APPIC essays that get you noticed . . . without completely losing your sanity Dr. John T. Carlsen Your Internship CoachBook IV: How Do I Describe My Research Experience and Training?
    • Copyright © 2008, 2011 John T. Carlsen, Psy.D. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.EXCEPT FOR USE IN A REVIEW, THE REPRODUCTION OR USE OF THIS WORK IN ANY FORM OR BY ANY ELECTRONIC, MECHANICAL, OR OTHER MEANS, NOW KNOWN OR HEREAFTER INVENTED, INCLUDING PHOTOCOPYING,RECORDING, AND IN ANY INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM IS FORBIDDEN WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE WRITER AND PUBLISHER PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR ORDERING INFORMATION, CONTACT: John T. Carlsen, Psy.D. (773) 975-4297 DrCarlsen@PDI-online.com www.PDI-online.com
    • Chapter I: I’m Becoming a Clinician, Not a Researcher Chapter 1: What If I’m Becoming a Clinician Instead of a Researcher? The secret to writing an excellent Essay #4 is actually quite simple: You need todescribe your research experience and training in ways that show who you havebecome (and are becoming) as a scholar-in-training.If you followed the guidelines in Books I through III of this series, you already have asolid foundation for this essay. Book I set the stage for your application packet, bytelling the story of how you became who you are today - the budding new therapist.Book II invited you onto that stage by helping you to identify and articulate how younaturally look at the world - and how you understand clients - using your inborntheoretical orientation. Book III encouraged you to show the budding therapist inaction, by describing how you use individual and culturaldifferences to improve your understanding of your clients(case conceptualization) and to provide them withappropriate, relevant treatment (clinical practice).That is, these essays have described w ho you are as atraining therapist and demonstrated both how youprepare for and how you actually do the work of atherapist. Now, in Book !V, the research essay invites youto flesh out the practical side of your professional identityby introducing the budding scholar.Of course, you could simply describe your masters ordissertation research and call it a day. Or, you could list the research projects you didwhile completing your bachelor’s degree in psychology and hope that your readers willmake the connections between what you studied and who you are as an applicant.After all, this essay question consists of a single, rather straightforward, statement:APPI 5: “Please describe your research experience and interests:So, why would you take any more time than necessary to reflect on this question? Whywouldn’t you give the selection committees literally what they are asking for and hopefor the best? For the same reasons that you would choose the freshest ingredients tomake your prize dish for a dinner party or take time to choose a quality fabric and checkthe tailoring of your interview suit.Copyright © 2008, 2011 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
    • 2 Chapter I: I’m Becoming a Clinician, Not a ResearcherOf course, you could simply make food for your guests orjust wear something to your interview. So, why wouldyou go out of your way to do something extra? Becauseyou want to make a distinctive impression. You knowthat people with a level of sophistication can tell thedifference between something that merely meets therequirements (nutrition and decency) and something thatexceeds them, even if they are not sure exactly how.Because you have only one chance to make a strongimpression on each selection committee (and hope thatyour application inspires them to offer you an interview),you owe it to yourself to make sure that they will remember - and maybe even raveabout - you as a prospective intern for their program. And, you want to them to raveeven if they are not quite sure why.Although this principle certainly applies to all internship applicants, it seems especiallyrelevant for graduate students from Psy.D. programs - at least those of you whoseprograms do not include a strong research component in their training. This is becauseinternship applicants from practitioner programs often down-play their interest inresearch. They say, “I’m getting a Psy.D. because I am not really interested inresearch.” Then, they worry about the competition they face from Ph.D applicantsbecause they do not feel “scientific” enough. Or, they simply resign themselves toapplying at a lower level to less-competitive sites.Show them Who Else You Are Capable of BecomingClearly, the primary focus of internship applications is to obtain clinical training.But, the fact that you are becoming a psychologist means that you are making a commitment to a very high level of professionalism. It means that you will take a doctoral-level of sophistication in your approach to your clinical work. So, you would benefit from making sure that your applications maintain a high degree of consistency at this level. That is, even if you do not plan to do research in your career as a psychologist, you want to show that you could - and that you would provide stiff competition for the best of your peers in Ph.D. programs. So, you want to make sure that you flesh out your research experience and training inCopyright © 2008, 2011 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
    • Chapter I: I’m Becoming a Clinician, Not a Researcher 3ways that show not only who you are as a scholar-practitioner, but also who you mightbecom e.I use the term “might” for one very specific reason. Chances are very good that yourinternship selection committee members will never find out if you actually do pursueyour stated research interests. The point is that you want to include yourself in thatvery top tier of applicants who show that they can articulate their experience andinterests. Being able to describe these components in a brief, focused, and conciseessay shows not only that you can formulate coherent research interests but also howyou would formulate coherent treatm ent plans. The key is moving beyond theminimal expectations of describing your past experience to show what you are capableof accomplishing on a broader level as an internship applicant - and eventually as aprofessional psychologist.So, how do you ensure that your research essay will make the impression you want tomake? By uncovering and presenting your best material in a way that shows how yougetting ready to enter this profession. The next chapter shows you more specificallyhow you can accomplish this goal.Copyright © 2008, 2011 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
    • Chapter 2 Prospect for Your Personal Gold: How to Salvage Your In-Born Talents and Gifts from the Rubble of Graduate SchoolAs with your other essays, your primary goal with your research essay is not only totell, but also to show selection committee members who you are as a scholar-in-training and how their internship training could shape you into a sophisticatedpsychologist.As I mentioned earlier, this means that, rather than simply outlining a chronological listof your previous research experiences and describing your masters or doctoral research,you could choose content that shows them who you are as a budding scholar and howresearch has shaped you in becoming that person. Of course, you still would benefitfrom including your masters thesis and/or doctoral dissertation research; my point isthat I want you to think about what you want to communicate about yourself in w hatyou present and how you present it.Remember your audience. As I said previously, you are writing to a committee thatconsists primarily of clinical psychologists. Remember that their chief work involveslistening to, understanding, and helping people to shape the future directions of theirpersonal stories - through managing illness, developing coping skills, and findingsuccess in their work lives and their relationships. But, as doctoral-level professionals,they probably also take a great deal of pride (and accountability) in approaching thiswork from the basis of empirical studies. So, your best approach is totell them the story of how research has shaped your personal andprofe ssional journey so far and how various experiences haveinflue nced your development as a scholar-in-training. Unleash the Power of Story-tellingIf you followed the guidelines in Book I, you will remember my premisethat story-telling is one of the strongest tools you can use in writing anapplication essay because it gives your readers the chance to connect toCopyright © 2008, 2011 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
    • Chapter II: Prospect for Your Personal Gold 5you personally and helps you to make a memorable impression on them. Of course,you will probably not actually tell a story in this research essay as you did in yourautobiographical essay, but you will benefit from preparing for your writing in the sameway: The more vivid your images and the more striking (specific) your examples, thegreater your success will be in describing research experiences and interests that helpyou stand out from your fellow applicants. And, the more you will increase selectioncommittees’ interest in selecting you. In other words, as you wade into the pool ofapplicants, I want you to be sure that you make a big splash...with every essay. So, besure to tell the story of you as the “scholar-in-training”.How can you accomplish this challenging goal? Find Something Worth Saying About Your SelfWhere do you start to look for something worth saying about yourself? As I mentionedearlier, your best hope for standing out from the competition of other applicants lies inuncovering your unique qualifications and packaging them to fit with the trainingoffered by your chosen internship site. But, if you are like most graduate students, thelast few years of school have probably made you forget w hy you wanted to become apsychologist - and even w hether you ever really did! You have had so manyrequirements and deadlines, that your dreams probably got buried underneath all ofthem or squeezed out of you along the way.So, how can you begin the process of recovering youroriginal dreams and using them in this research essay toshow how qualified - and desirable - you are as anapplicant? To generate raw material for your researchessay, I invite you to start by using a method forbrainstorming that I call “Prospecting for Your PersonalGold” to come up with useful raw material. Rememberthat one of the challenges of being a successful writer islearning to sort through and tolerate a great deal ofirrelevant material (ideas or material you might not use,poor examples, etc.) on the way to finding your bestideas. So, while you might want to start writing with your whatever ideas come upfirst, the reality is that your best material is probably buried under or hidden in much-less interesting or accessible memories.If you are like many doctoral students (especially those in Psy.D. and other appliedclinical programs that do not emphasize research as much as clinical practice), you haveCopyright © 2008, 2011 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
    • 6 Chapter II: Prospect for Your Personal Goldprobably never truly developed your research potential and, maybe, never eventhought of yourself as a clinical scholar. Actually, in your rush to become a trainedclinician, you might, simply, have put up with your research classes and a mastersthesis or dissertation research to meet your academic requirements and struggled tostay above water during the last couple of years. But, remember: Your school’s trainingmodel does not define you as a training professional. Whether you come from aScholar-Practitioner, a Science-Practitioner, or a Clinical-Scientist model of training, youcan define your experiences and interests in research as explicitly as you want. That is,you are the one who determines the level of interest you have in conducting - or simplyapplying - empirical research in psychologySo, if you stop and think, you will realize that you have receivedfeedback about your research potential from many differentpeople - professors, advisors, and supervisors, not to mentionfriends, classmates, family members, and partners/spouses.While you have no doubt learned a lot, and maybe even receivedsome helpful suggestions, your enthusiasm and passion for thisprofession might have been trampled and buried under all of that.But, the fact is that, beneath the surface of your budding therapistself lies a budding researcher. Even if you never actually want todo traditional research as part of your professional work, youprobably have the mind of a great researcher. This is what I encourage you to showselection committees through this essay by coming up with descriptions of yourresearch experiences and interests that show who you are as a budding professionalpsychologist.Copyright © 2008, 2011 by Dr. John T. Carlsen. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.
    • Getting the Internship You Get the full book W ant: (or the entire set) at: The How to write APPIC essays Internship Resource that get you noticed . . . without Center Store completely losing your sanity Dr. John T. Carlsen Your Internship Coach Book IV: How Do I Describe My Research Experience and Training?About the bookFinally, for a generation of doctoral students who are dedicated to becoming highly-competent psychologists but facing unprecedented competition for internship positionscomes Getting the Internship You Want, Dr. John T. Carlsen’s proven approach todistinguishing yourself from your fellow applicants. A completely practical approach tomarketing your qualifications that not only tells you what to do, but also shows you howto do it.