Four AUS PsyD Students’ Posters at 2017 WSPA Conference

Antioch University Seattle (AUS) PsyD in Clinical Psychology students Celia Arauz, Gwendolyn Barnhart, Jennifer Gross, and Amber Nipper— supported by AUS PsyD faculty Jude Bergkamp, Dana Waters, Mike Sakuma, and Michael Toohey—were first author on research posters displayed at the Washington State Psychological Association’s 2017 Fall Convention. The AUS PsyD student posters’ titles and subjects are as follows:

Arauz’s research is titled Differentiating Irritability from Anger and Aggression: An International Qualitative Examination of the Causes of Irritability, and it examines survey results from the following questions: “What causes your irritability?” and “When are you more likely to feel irritable?” to discover that “people tended to emphasize environmental and physiological causes for their irritability, which can help differentiate it from anger.

Barnhart’s research is titled Development of Foundational Clinical Skills and Experiential Growth from Crisis Clinic Work, and it extrapolates the learning experiences of mental health graduate students working as crisis clinic facilitators to highlight multiple benefits from this volunteer work. One such benefit is learning about the local resources available to mental health clients, and learning which types of resources are lacking and could use more support.

Gross’s research is titled Development of Political Identities, and it phenomenologically explores the political identity development of eight adults, four self-identified Republicans and four self-identified Democrats. Among the discoveries of this research: “Subjects’ political identity displayed a strong affinity to their parents’ political identity and they sought out social affiliations with peers and mentors who displayed similar political identities during their young adulthood.”

Nipper’s research is titled The Integration of Buddhism and Psychology: Western Clinical Psychology Students’ Exploration. From its description: “This qualitative study critically examines the integration of Buddhism and psychology with the lived experiences of four clinical psychology doctoral students, through a discussion of cultural appropriation. These students went on a 9-day meditation retreat and seminar in France studying Tibetan Buddhism, and how Tibetan Buddhism integrates with western psychology.”

Bringing research to a professional conference in one’s respective clinical field is a major accomplishment. In Arauz’s words, displaying her research in poster form at this conference “will be advantageous and help me to be more competitive when applying for an internship.”

In addition to being a feather in the cap of one’s curriculum vitae, bringing new, original research to a conference is also an opportunity to share the salient results of hard work with interested peers who can appreciate those results. The social atmosphere of an academic conference can be one of the most gratifying parts of the experience. For example, on the subject of being a PsyD student at this conference, Barnhart says “it was really great to be in a venue where there were a lot of different professionals who had expertise in a myriad of different areas of psychology.”

This love for studying one’s field and socializing with one’s academic peers can also extend to the grad school experience itself. When asked for some of her experiences as a PsyD student at AUS, Barnhart added “I love it. I love working in the clinic, I love getting trained for clinical work. Small class sizes are awesome, and we’re all pretty cohesive. It’s nice to be in the same class with all the same people. You can bounce things off of each other.”

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