Module 1 Assignment 3 General Psych[1]

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My personal statement.

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Module 1 Assignment 3 General Psych[1]

  1. 1. My name is Carolina Velez, and I live in Richmond, VA. I am originally from Colombia, South America, and have lived in the United States for the last ten years. My education includes five years at the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in psychology and a specialization in psychoanalysis and social psychology. During my time at Javeriana, I was actively involved in politics, writing articles about the political conflict in Colombia in the late 1990s. I also created a student civic engagement political group, and I participated in the dialogues between the guerillas and the Colombian government. I worked with youth affected by the violence, implementing a program that used the arts as a method for them to express their emotions. <br />These experiences during my undergraduate career allowed me to work with diverse populations, both ethnic and socio-economic. I was able to understand the internal dynamics of Colombia, resulting in an ability to assist those that were displaced by the conflict. I was also able to apply my clinical knowledge, combined with creative solutions, which impacted real people and real situations.<br />I moved to the United States in 2001, to Richmond, Virginia. Because of my strong bilingual skills and background, I was able to build a career working with immigrant and refugee populations and with psychotherapy. I initially began as an Immigrant Community Liaison at Refugee and Immigration Services, assisting Latino immigrant families to access services in the metropolitan Richmond area, building coalitions of organizations that worked with immigrant populations, and training service providers about Latino culture. From there, I worked with Commonwealth Catholic Charities, initially in the Counseling Department as a group facilitator for men with a history as abusers, and then as a case worker for unaccompanied refugee and immigrant minors in foster care. In that position I conducted case management for unaccompanied minors from all over the world. After approximately a year in this position, I was promoted to program coordinator for the DUCS (Department of Unaccompanied Children’s Services) program, where I maintained the DUCS program’s policies and procedures updated with changing federal law, and acted as the liaison between the program, lawyers, and federal agencies. I also provided supervision to case workers working with immigrant and refugee children in foster care, and conducted clinical and administrative supervision. During my time at Refugee and Immigration Services and Commonwealth Catholic Charities, I developed a specialization in working with adult and children victims of human trafficking. In my current position, I am a domestic violence advocate with Safe Harbor, a local shelter, where I work with victims of domestic and sexual violence. I provide individual and group counseling to both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking families, both children and adults. I also provide case management to Latino families that live at our safe house. Also in this position, I conduct trainings to non-profit and governmental agencies on how to work with immigrant survivors of domestic violence as well as how to work and develop programs for victims of human trafficking. For the last seven years I have also had part-time employment with Richmond Public School’s Virginia Preschool Initiative as a consultant, assisting with the enrollment and support of Spanish-speaking families and training the staff on how to work with immigrant families and children.<br />My varied experience over the last few years allows me to work with diverse populations. I have developed strong clinical skills in working with populations that have migrated to another country, allowing me to deeply understand the acculturation process and its impact on a person’s mental health. Because of my experience working with refugees, I have strong knowledge of the refugee resettlement process, and I understand the ins and outs of the agencies that work with this complex process. I also have gained vast knowledge of federal immigration laws in general, and specifically of policies and procedures that apply to children that are placed under federal custody. Through my work with domestic and sexual violence, I have developed skills and knowledge around gender violence and working with victims. At a macro level, I have developed the flexibility to work in both the non-profit and governmental spheres, and have management experience at the program and supervisory level. I also have training and facilitation skills through my work conducting workshops and presentations.<br />Looking to the future, and thinking about my professional development and goals, as one of my educational goals, I will be working to obtain my doctorate in psychology within the next five years. Another professional goal that I have is to create a program for immigrant and refugee children and adults that would provide them with comprehensive services, including mental health services. A focus of the program would be support for women and girls through a gender violence initiative, that would seek to empower females and create more gender equality. An additional professional goal that I have is to work internationally around the world with different cultures, developing programs within the issue of gender violence, specifically human trafficking.<br />Reflecting on my personal development and goals, I would like to work in the next year towards greater financial stability. I have a six-year old daughter whom is the motor of my life and with whom I enjoy the most to spend time with. I am a very family oriented person and by having financial stability, it will allow me to visit them in my home country as often as I would like. These are all incentives for me to focus on becoming more financially independent. An ongoing goal for me is to continue working on the awareness of my emotions and reactions to people and life, so as to become a better individual every day for me, my daughter, my family, and society.<br />

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