Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

I’ve had several things on the mind lately and I thought I’d put them all in one place. Here we go.

Tomorrow morning is 9/11/11. It’s been 10 years. My flashbulb memory of that morning has me being woken up around 9am-just before the second tower was struck-by my roommate Grant, who had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready for class. We were in White College dorm room 300something at MSU in Murray, KY. I was a sophomore that year.

We watched the TV and I turned on NPR on my clock radio, which I would later take to work with me, and listened to the news as it was continually updated. We were speechless. We listened as news and video of the towers being struck was aired and as we were updated on the crash at the Pentagon. I checked my email and found several emails from friends and classmates talking about the situation. I remember receiving an email from a professor cancelling class for the day. I also remember talking on AIM with some high school friends about it. I didn’t know anyone personally in the towers, but there were so many people in the dorms who did. It was a confusing and sobering time for sure.

I don’t plan on exploring how the country has or hasn’t changed in the past decade. I’ll leave that to the news casters and professional bloggers. My goal is to share my own experience at that time and hope that it leads you to think about where you were 10 years ago. Maybe even consider who you were 10 years ago. Then I was a music major and marching band dork. Today I’m very nearly a psychologist who hasn’t played the trumpet in almost 6 years. It’s amazing what can happen in a decade.

On to other thoughts.

Next week starts our first rotation at internship. Rotations are a lot like what med students go through in their degree process while residents at hospitals. I’ll be doing one thing for 4 months, then switching to something else for 4 months, etc. I have 3 rotations like that. We decide which ones we’re interested in on Monday. For the most part my interests haven’t changed since I applied. I’m very interested in PTSD and plan on signing up for inpatient and outpatient rotations that give me opportunities for that. I’m especially interested in military sexual trauma (MST), which is offered as part of a minor outpatient rotation.

Other interests include biofeedback and hypnosis, an intensive assessment rotation with an emphasis on Rorschach, primary care (mostly working as a consultant within the colocated collaborative care model. I’ll be doing a lot of screening and some crisis work), and severe mental illness (SMI) psychosocial rehabilitation (less interested in the SMI part and more in the specific skills I’d learn while on the rotation). I was originally interested in taking the neuropsych rotation, but I wouldn’t be able to do several of the minor rotations I’ve listed above because neuro is a major rotation. I’ve been told that I can sit in on some of the neuro seminars and stuff like that, which I didn’t get in my practicum experience, so I think it’s win-win. I won’t have to do any neuro assessments (which I’m already familiar with) but I can learn about types of dementia and other cognitive diseases and disorders.

More thoughts.

Peyton effing Manning. He and a handful of other players are ruining me. If you’ve paid any attention at all to football in the last week (or even general news I’d imagine), then you know Manning had neck surgery and will likely be out for 2-3 months (which is essentially the whole season). Along with him are a slew of players across my teams (really, most of them are on the same fantasy team) that have either been traded and are currently teamless (David Gerrard, QB; Jeff Reed, K), have become injured themselves (Marques Colston, NO, WR; Rashad Jennings, Jac, RB), or are suspended (Will Smith, NO, DE). I’ve had to release, bench, and/or replace these guys with the slim pickings left after the draft. I’m sure some guys will show up on waivers, but for now, I have few options available to me. *sigh*

Even more thoughts.

I’m really starting to miss marching band. I’m living vicariously through Facebook friends posting pics and talking about drill, but it’s not the same. I dropped Maggie off at the local university a couple weeks ago and the pit and color guard were rehearsing outside. It made me feel so nostalgic. While I’m extremely happy with where I am in life and my career now, a very small part of me wonders where I would be today had I continued with my music degree. Also, I miss ska. I’ve been listening to Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats on iTunes lately and it makes me miss being on stage and having fun. Apparently, some of the Brass Smacker songs are on youtube. Where did I put that cd?…

Still more thoughts.

The weather here is nice today. It’s sunny. It’s the first time I’ve needed to use sunglasses in 2-3 weeks. Everyone in the area tells me that all this rain is a fluke and mostly due to the hurricanes, but that’s apparently only partially true. We got a lot of rain here before Irene came along and dumped more. It’s a wet Summer/Fall. Fall!!! Fall is here/coming soon! I really like Fall and it’s Maggie’s favorite season as well. I’m looking forward to bundling up outside and going to local events and seeing how West Chester does Halloween.

Final thoughts.

I want to go to a pro ball game. Local options include the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers. The closest pro teams to Louisville were Cincinnati and Nashville. People are much more adamant about cheering for their sports teams when there are pro teams around. Back home we cheered mostly for college teams because that’s what we had available (I’m also jealous of several friends who are attending the UK game today). I’ve always been interested in sports, but I never followed them very closely. I’d pick a team or two each year to cheer for or follow and that’d be it. Fantasy football and proximity to some pro teams have gotten me more interested and involved. Also, I have no gaming outlet (other than Guild Wars) and most/all of my intern friends are interested in sports. Not all of our conversations have to be about psychology 🙂


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I may have mentioned that I started playing fantasy football this year. For some (most?) of you, reading that sentence may cause you to do a double take. Jason? Sports? I promise it’s me behind the keyboard.

I’ve watched football on and off all my life. I watched with my dad back in the day when today’s sports casters were on the field. I grew up watching Marino and Aikman and Boomer, etc. I watched back in the day when Monday Night Football was introduced by Hank Williams Jr. It has only been the last couple of years that I’ve watched football more steadily. I blame my roommate John. I was a Seahawks fan then and still am now (again, I blame John). I’m also a Bama fan ROLL TIDE! (again, John).

Anyway, back on topic. Fantasy Football. There are apparently a lot of different ways to play. There are, of course, several websites that accommodate players, most of which are free. I prefer ESPN. If you’re completely unfamiliar with Fantasy Football, click here for more info. I’ll give an extremely brief overview here for continuity sake.

All leagues are the same in that you draft offensive players and a defensive team (or individual defensive players; IDP) and depending on how those players do each week in real games, you get points. Each league has a point system based on lots of factors including: yards passed/rushed/receiving, receptions, touchdowns (of all sorts), interceptions, blocks, tackles, sacks, etc. You will typically go head to head with another team in your league and the team with the most points accrued from the players they start wins that week.

Simple enough, right? It can get complicated. I’m in 5 very different leagues (trying lots of new things). Two of these leagues are with people I know, one I joined on a whim due to the league name, and 2 I joined to get more experience with IDP leagues. I didn’t join a points per reception (PPR) league this year because, frankly, 5 leagues is enough. I plan to scale it back a bit next year for sure.

I won’t bore you with league scoring specifics or anything like that, but I will briefly introduce each of my teams and update on wins/losses/progress each week.

Team Ramrod

My team in my buddy Tim’s league is currently the one I’m simultaneously the most proud of and disappointed in. The league uses standard ESPN scoring (which is a little bland in my opinion) and there are only 7 teams in the league (leagues are typically 10 or 12 teams). I’m proud of this team because I have a fantastic collection of players. I got first pick in the draft, so I was at a bit of an advantage in that regard. Top names include Adrian Peterson (Min RB), Drew Brees (NO QB), Roddy White (Atl WR), and the NY Jets for my defense/special teams (D/ST). The disappointment comes from the fact that thanks to the low number of teams I have several bye weeks where my team doesn’t play. When I say several, I mean that I have 5 byes in 13 games. That means I’m not playing almost 40% of the time. Still, I’m looking forward to kicking butt on the weeks that I do play.

West Chester Disasters

This league is entitled “The League” and the theme is based off the FX series of the same name (which is why I joined it). It’s about as close to a PPR league as I am playing this year. My team name is a play on several things. The town is my current town here in PA. The “Disasters” part is a reference to the fact that we’ve had both an earthquake and hurricane in the month that we’ve been here. It’s also a reference to the fact that this is my first year in FF, so I’m bound to do poorly somewhere. I’m not terribly excited about my team setup. It was my first live draft and I didn’t do so well. Notable players include Andre Johnson (Hou WR), Matt Schaub (Hou QB), and Rashard Mendenhall (Pit RB). I was able to pair Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas (RBs for New Orleans), which should help since the Saints are running a “runningback by committee” (RBBC) this year.

Philadelphia Noobs

Again, my current area and the fact that I’m new at this. This league had an autopick draft, so I had to rank my players and set up a plan for how I wanted the computer to pick players for me. This league stands out because of it’s heavy IDP. I have the usual offensive starters (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, 1RB/WR flex, Kicker) but I’m also expected to start a full defense of 11 players in the form of 3 defensive linemen (DL), 4 linebackers (LB), and 4 defensive backs (DB; that’s a 3-4 formation for anyone keeping track). I’ve learned a lot about defenses planning for this league and I’m really interested in IDP. As for players, I have both Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub as QBs (thanks to Manning’s injuries), Jamaal Charles (KC RB), Jon Beason (Car LB), Dallas Clark (Ind TE), and Eric Berry (KC S). My mistake was going for defensive players before I had a solid offense. Rookie mistake. I do have a hell of a defensive team though.

Hank Jr Monday Nights

I tinkered around with starting a league on ESPN and this is what became of it. I got to do what I wanted with scoring and set the roster in an interesting way. It’s a bit of fun and a bit of research for future years. I am calling it an 8/8 because I’m starting 8 offensive players and 8 defensive players (QB, 2RB, 2WR, 2TE, 1RB/WR/TE flex + 2DL, 2LB, 2DB, 2DFlex, + K). The scoring is mainly about yardage with bonus points for high numbers of carries and receptions. I played around with lots of numbers and I like what I have so far. I set the team at 12 because all of the other leagues up to this point were 10 or fewer teams. I also set it to autopick because 12 teams with 30 roster positions and 90 seconds to pick is a very long draft. I’m happy with my team. I got Schaub again (he’s on 4 of my teams–it just worked out that way). I also have Jamaal Charles, Hakeem Nicks (NYG WR), Antonio Gates (SD TE), and several top tier defensive players. I feel like my offense and defense are much more balanced in this league.

Surly Goblins

I was able to get a last minute invite to the league John plays in this year. It’s on Yahoo, so I had to learn that whole system in a day or so (very different from ESPN’s FF system). The team name comes from the beer Maggie, my buddy Jim, and I brewed once upon a time. This league is a lot like the league my Disasters team is in. Both have light IDP (2-3 players + a defensive team) and pretty standard scoring. This league, however, runs a West Coast offense (which is funny, since many of them are from the Seattle area). We start a QB, RB, 2WR, WR/RB, and WR/TE. I hedged my bets in the draft and opted for strong WR and TE. I figured I could get by on about 3 RBs and aimed for getting one stud and a pair of RBBC guys. We’ll see how well I do as the season goes. Players of note include: Andre Johnson (Hou WR), Roddy White (Atl WR), Antonio Gates (SD TE), and, you guessed it, Matt Schaub. At least Schaub and Johnson are paired so I’ll get bonus points of Schaub pitches a TD to Johnson. I also have the RBBC of San Diego: Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert. My defensive players are all tier 1 guys, but looking back, I prolly should have held off and gotten an extra WR. Week 8 sucks for me right now since I have 3WR and a RB on byes that week.

So that’s fantasy football. I’ll post next Sunday/Monday with an update on my first week of games.

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Internship: Day 1

Well, I survived my first day of internship. As I expected, it was mostly about getting me access to lots of VA stuff. I got my ID badges and we signed a lot of paperwork on everything from taxes to insurance to proof that I’ve been briefed on policies. We also got an introduction to orientation, which basically says “here’s what you can expect over the next couple of weeks.” We get our computer codes tomorrow morning and start CPRS (the VA’s medical record system) training at 8:30 sharp. We also got a safety overview talking about fire procedures, codes to call, all the emergency numbers, and a brief history of hostile events that have happened at VAs across the nation over the years and what the VA cops have done about it (they’re pretty good at their jobs, fyi).

There are 5 interns total: 3 general psych and 2 neuro. They’re a great bunch of people so far. Everybody’s pretty laid back and we gelled pretty quickly. I can see some similarities between us and we’ve found common interests and things like that already. Leave it to a group of psych interns to quickly learn about each other. I’m also getting a bit better at navigating the maze of a campus. It’s a big figure 8 and it is connected by basement level tunnels that navigate most of the main buildings, which is pretty cool. The campus is a mental health campus, which is different from my past experience at the Louisville VA, which is a full blown hospital. There are medical personnel on site, but it’s not a truly functioning hospital like many other VAs. In Louisville you could get your prescription filled, see a dentist, and have your appendix out all in the same building. Here they ship veterans off to other hospitals in the area.

Tomorrow is a bunch more training. Our schedule isn’t terribly clear what we’ll be doing, other than CPRS in the morning, so I’m not sure what they have in store for us. Still, it’s one more day of training before a 3 day weekend, so I can’t complain. I have mixed feelings about this whole process right now. On the one hand, I’m sad to be losing all the free time I’ve so enjoyed these past few weeks. On the other hand, I’m excited to be working in my field again. I’m also not sure how I’m going to handle a 40 hour gig. I’ve never truly worked full time like that before. Sure, I’ve worked lots of part time, sometimes exceeding the 40/wk thing, but never a straightforward j.o.b. like this. I could use some structure in my life and it won’t hurt me to get a regular sleep schedule going. Getting up at 6am isn’t the end of the world, though I’m not terribly excited about going to bed at 9 or 10…

I’ll update again soon. Maybe tomorrow if anything worth writing about happens, but prolly next week instead.

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I’ve been in NC for a week now over Maggie’s spring break and now, this week, I’m enjoying mine. It is a nice vacation and I like to spend time with everyone out here. Last weekend Maggie, our friend Susan, and I went on a self-planned wine tour to five different wineries and punctuated our trip with a visit to the beach in Wilmington.

Two of the wineries stood out: The Country Squire Winery and Noni Bacca Winery. Country Squire reminded me a bit of Murray in the sense of Eastertime playing trumpet for the Catholics and eating at the Brass Lantern. Maggie said it reminded her of Patti’s, though I’ve never been (and that’s a shame). Country Squire is a restaurant and inn as well and it crossed our minds that we may make a return visit for another mini-vacation to stay in the cottage.The wines were excellent and I came home with a bottle of “Knicker Dropper.” Susan really liked the place and bought 3 bottles. One thing to note is that apparently there is a little girl that hangs out at this winery and occasionally makes her presence known to visitors. Paranormal groups visit regularly for a chance to say hello to her.

Noni Bacca was also nice and definitely a different locale than Country Squire. It was located in a strip mall adjacent to a mattress store. We did a wine tasting for $5 and got much more than our money’s worth. The staff were friendly and provided us with lots of crackers, cheese, and chocolate. We sampled something like fifteen wines and got lots of extra samples. I was sad that they had run out of a couple of the wines I wanted to sample, but they had a great selection of ice wines and fruit wines. I’m typically more of a semi-dry red wine kind of guy, but I really liked their fruits and whites. They recommended a fresh seafood place down the street that was awesome.

In between visiting these two wineries we paid a visit to the beach. The water was much too cold to wade into and, truth be told, the wind was very chilly as well. We went mostly to enjoy the view and read for a bit. We were pleasantly surprised to see a pair of dolphins swimming in the waves maybe 50 feet from the shore. It was the first time I have seen dolphins outside of an enclosure and Maggie said it was her first time seeing them while not in a boat. It definitely made my day for sure.

This week I get to visit Carl and my brothers-in-law. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Carl and catching up on things. He recently got a job out in Wilmington so I’ll have to pass along some of what we learned in our trip. I have a feeling the in-laws are gonna celebrate my (belated) birthday during our visit. They’re fun like that. It’ll be nice to have cake. It was the one thing missing from my birthday this year. And even if they don’t celebrate it (which I’m cool with too), it’ll be fun to spend the evening with them and play games with the boys.

Finally, I plan to get some work done with my dissertation this week. I’m hoping to work with some of the UNCG students to gather data. I’m partnering with PRIDE on campus to find participants and space to work and Maggie has a few friends who are willing to work with me. Hopefully I’ll get a handful of participants to take back to Louisville with me. I can get started scoring and work on my SPSS (read: boring statistics program) file to organize it.

That’s all for now. Oh, one more thing. If you read the blog regularly, you might run across the name “Belzan.” Belzan is the (nerd alert!) character I play in the online game Guild Wars. I also write a blog for him and other Guild Wars related things. I’ve honestly been keeping up with that blog a bit more, so you may see that name more frequently. All of my blog replies currently show up with “Jason” but I’ll be changing that to Belzan so as not to confuse those guys. Just a head’s up. I don’t love them more than you guys, I just see them more 🙂

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Last week was my second interview trip. I visited two sites and spent time with Maggie and friends. There were fun times and frustrating times, but overall, I consider the trip a success. Site info and highlights to follow:

Site 8 – On-Site Interview – VA Medical Center

It took forever to get there, but I’m glad I made the trip. I encountered a  lot of travel problems enroute to this site (see previous post) and following my arrival in NH, I had to drive 90 miles to my hotel in VT. I’m talking speed limit 45 due to the icy mess that was the road with cops posted every mile or so to catch you for speeding. I’m talking arriving at my hotel at 1:30 in the morning for a 7:45 am interview time. But hey, I got a nice rental car. 2011 Ford Edge with heated leather seats, Sirius radio, AWD traction control, and only 4.5 miles on it (I was the first to drive it). Hella gas guzzler, but fun to drive.

The site was nice. Moderately sized campus,  as VA campuses go. The site offers pretty much everything I’m interested in in an internship site, including PTSD emphasis (with a connection to the National Center for PTSD), inpatient experience, broad assessment opportunities (including neuro and Rorschach), and outpatient opportunities at a local university counseling center. They also offer intensive training in Cognitive Behavioral and Brief Psychodynamic therapies. I knew going into it that this program would be intense and the interns confirmed it. One of the highlights of the trip was that I was interviewed by the executive director of the National Center for PTSD and, whatmore, he was intrigued by my dissertation topic.

Pros: Lots and lots of stuff that I want. I like that I get to try new things and challenge myself and I know that I will get good training at this site. There are a lot of unique opportunities at this site and it sounds like I’ll have some flexibility with my cases.

Cons: Less flexibility than other sites. Very intense 50-55 hr/wk program. Cost of living is moderately high, but hey, it’s New England, so the cost of living is high pretty much everywhere.

Best question asked of me: Nothing really out of the ordinary. I got grilled a bit on my theoretical orientation, but I used that as an opportunity to talk about their CBT and TLDP emphasis and how I want to explore additional theories to further strengthen my theoretical orientation.

Site 9 – On-Site Interview – VA Medical Center

I have to say I was a bit surprised by this site. It is ~1 hour from Maggie (which is a big selling point with her) and I was happy to stay with her and drive her car to the interview. I liked this site a lot on paper, but I like it even more now that I’ve made a visit. They seem very innovative in their thinking and program structure. They also offer a lot of flexibility and are doing things that no other VAs (to my knowledge) are doing, such as including family therapy as a mandatory part of an intern’s training. I’m very excited about their inpatient and outpatient PTSD programs and the manner in which they are organized. I will get opportunities to work with combat trauma and military sexual trauma and will learn several empirically supported treatments for PTSD. They offer a “come as you are” approach to training in neuropsychology seeking to teach the basics to interns who are new to neuropsychological assessment and preparing interns who are more serious for applying to a neuropsych post-doc. They also have training in, and opportunities to practice, hypnosis. The man who interviewed me also uses EMDR and is very interested in ACT and mindfulness, both of which are areas of current study for me. Overall, I’m pretty excited about this site.

Pros: Strong PTSD program, neuropsych and hypnosis training, and emphasis on group therapy. The staff were very welcoming and eager to provide a great experience for the interns. They even asked for feedback from us about the interview process. Cost of living is pretty good and, of course, it is near Maggie 😉

Cons: There is no peer supervision at this site and the opportunities for Rorschach are few given the time commitment to administering/scoring/interpreting/etc (which I completely understand, though I’m going to be a lot faster after this dissertation is done).

Best question asked of me: How would your friends describe you and how would you describe yourself?

So that’s that. I have one more phone interview on Friday and then I rank. I’m not gonna post my rank list here for obvious reasons, but I will keep you posted on how things turn out. Match Day is February 25th, so I’ll definitely post something about that.

Travel Highlights:

  • Flights canceled: 2
  • Flights delayed: 3
  • Total layover time: 8+hours
  • Airports visited: 5
  • Cars rented: 1
  • Hotel stays: 1
  • Days with Maggie: ~4.5
  • Meals with friends: 3
  • Parties attended: 1
  • I got to stay in a sweet suite in VT for approximately 5 hours (check in to check out)
  • I attended Maggie’s Alexander Technique class, which was a lot of fun
  • I met more of Maggie’s friends at a party/get together
  • I got to drive a couple fun cars
  • I got to hang out with Carl and play video games
  • I got to see snow mounds that were ~7′ tall

That about sums it up. I’ll update on my final interview later and find something else interesting to talk (or complain) about soon.

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As of this post I have interviewed with 7 of my 10 sites. I have had 3 phone interviews and 4 on-site interviews. I have 2 on-site interviews and one phone interview remaining. Here’s the skinny.

Site 1 – Phone Interview – University Counseling Center

My first interview, right off the bat, was on Monday the 3rd. This interview was conducted sitting in my car in a parking lot in Nashville while Maggie had lunch with Lauren. So, from the get go I was missing out on Mexican food. Lame. The interview was pretty straightforward as conference call phone interviews go. I spoke with two staff psychologists for about 40 minutes and answered questions about my goals, interests, experience, and why I chose their program. Following that interview I had a brief phone interview with the training director which was less formal and served as both an introduction and an opportunity for me to gather information about the site.

Pros: This site was very flexible as far as creating a program around my needs and the have a strong emphasis in diversity.

Cons: Supervisees (i.e., students I would supervise) are pulled from other universities in the area and the area itself is relatively isolated. There are some opportunities for Maggie to teach or perform, but noting major.

Best question asked of me: How have your experiences with diverse/multicultural clients affected you?

Site 2 – On-Site Interview – University Counseling Center

I am pretty excited about this site. I interviewed here on the 4th. The interview process was very personable and I met each staff psychologist and intern personally, usually in a one-on-one interview. I had a great many opportunities to ask questions about the site and was assured that the interview process was more about getting to know me and learning my interests. The interns are very happy about their experiences and I got the feeling that a couple of the staff psychologists really took a liking to me. I’m excited about the opportunities for learning biofeedback and having a lot of control over the diversity of my caseload.

Pros: Emphasis area in stress/anxiety and biofeedback, great atmosphere, a lot of control over my training experience, opportunities for supervising students, lots of opportunities for outreach, and every staff/intern interaction involves food 🙂

Cons: Limited opportunities for assessment and difficulty keeping group program afloat. Larger city with more opportunities for Maggie, but I think she’s less excited about the fact that it is in a large city to begin with.

Best question asked of me: What events led to your interest and subsequent commitment to the field of psychology?

Site 3 – On-Site Interview – University Counseling Center

Beautiful site, but very cold and windy. Interview on the 5th. Special thanks to Maggie for driving up that mountain. I am excited about this site for a number of reasons. They provide a broad university counseling training experience and include career counseling in their training curriculum. Plenty of opportunities for group. In addition, the site is well known for its work with the transgendered population and allows for opportunities to do individual and group psychotherapy with this population.

Pros: Strong training program to prepare for a career in university counseling, opportunities to work with the transgendered community, and the site is in a quaint mountain town. Also, it’s close to Maggie 🙂

Cons: The site is very remote and there are fewer opportunities for assessment than I would like. The campus is very White and there are few opportunities to supervise advanced students (but I do get to supervise!). There is less emphasis on empirically supported treatments (EST) and the tendency is to adapt treatments based on the needs of the population, which really isn’t all that uncommon in a rural community.

Best question asked of me: Standard fare really. Tell me about your theoretical orientation and how you conceptualize clients was prolly the most difficult question.

Site 4 – On-Site Interview – VA Medical Center

Interviewed here on the 6th and could see the ocean from the site! The directions I was given were less than helpful and even though I arrived 30 minutes early to my interview I still ended up being 10 minutes late due to getting lost on the campus and in the hospital. The interview itself was pretty neat. I was the only person being interviewed at the time so I had all of the staff and interns to myself. The whole process was very informal, even when I was sitting in a panel interview of 6 psychologists. I felt like I had control over the room and they seemed to respond well to my answers. Standard fare as far as questions were concerned. What stood out about this site was the thorough training offered in PTSD (including single event traumas, complex trauma, military sexual trauma, combat trauma, individual and group formatting, etc) and the large female veteran population (12%). The interns were very happy with their experiences and were also intrigued by my dissertation topic.

Pros: PTSD program, female vet population, willingness to allow a male therapist to work with females who have experienced military sexual trauma (you’d be surprised how often I hit a wall here), and favorable reception to the use of Rorschach, including supervision and some training.

Cons: Cost of living is pretty high. I was told I could find an apartment for ~$800 a month, but I wouldn’t want to live in it or in the neighborhood where it might be. Interns typically paid $900-1,000 a month for rent. There is also an emphasis on group therapy and fewer opportunities for individual therapy.

Best question asked of me: Why do you want to work with veterans?

Site 5 – On-Site Interview – VA Medical Center

Interviewed on the 7th. This experience was a bit intimidating at first as I was placed in a room with 17 other applicants. Thankfully one of them was from my program, but this was by far the most applicants I’ve had to contend with in one interview period. I was happy to find out that nearly everyone I interviewed with and spoke to has connections to my university. There were plenty of opportunities at this site to gain inpatient, assessment, and crisis experience as well as a strong PTSD program. I am also particularly interested in rural outreach program they offer to gain more experience in this regard.

Pros: Strong PTSD program, rural outreach, good inpatient experiences to complement my outpatient experience. Has connections with my university has taken students from my program in the past. Unique diversity project requirement that allows for some creativity.

Cons: The training opportunities in PTSD are somewhat limited as far as ESTs. This is primarily due to the effectiveness of different treatments on the rural populations. Some of the major ESTs for PTSD (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy) have been found to be less effective than Prolonged Exposure with this population. There are also no opportunities for research or dissertation time whatsoever.

Best question asked of me: Tell me about an experience you have had treating PTSD.

Site 6 – Phone Interview – University Counseling Center

Very straightforward phone interview done today. I was asked to provide a case conceptualization and was asked several questions about my training experiences and goals for internship. I was particularly prepared for this interview because I interviewed with this site last year. I like that this site emphasizes both clinical and counseling approaches and I believe it will do a good job preparing me for a career in university counseling. Of particular interest with this site are the opportunities available for training and intervention with hypnosis (squee!!!).

Pros: Strong generalist program that will prepare me for university counseling career. Hypnosis.

Cons: Campus is less diverse than I would like and the emphasis this site places on ADHD/LD assessments is a bit much for my tastes.

Best question asked of me: Tell me your description of a multiculturally competent psychologist.

Site 7 – Phone Interview – University Counseling Center

Skype/phone interview today. Skype fail. I’m torn about this site. The interview went decent and I was asked to respond to a case vignette about my clinical impressions of a hypothetical student presenting with X, Y, and Z symptoms. Cake. Where I was having trouble was I found myself to be very rambly on the phone. I’m not entirely sure why. The questions weren’t difficult and they were a mix of standard fare and specific to the site (e.g., tell me about your experience with substance abuse/crisis/assessment). I just didn’t feel as confident after this interview as I have with other interviews. I like the site and its developmental training model and emphasis on generalist training. I am also particularly fond of the training opportunities in biofeedback.

Pros: Strong generalist training with mandatory rotations in substance abuse, psychiatry, and crisis. Biofeedback. Adequate stipend.

Cons: The site is relatively isolated and has few opportunities for projective assessment, favoring ADHD/LD assessments (not uncommon for university counseling, but still a bummer).

Best question asked of me: You are given the opportunity to establish an outreach program. What topic do you choose, how do you get students involved, and why?

Road Trip Highlights

So that’s all of the sites so far and my experiences interviewing with them. Here is a list of highlights from my road trip for your enjoyment:

  • Total mileage = 1,928.6
  • Number of fill ups = ~ 5 tanks of gas
  • Number of hotels = 2
  • Number of couches upon which I crashed = 2
  • Number of lunches with friends = 3
  • Maggie and I found out that Lola has a drinking problem and continually purchased oil throughout our trip
  • Stayed at a decent hotel outside of Atlanta, played Super Scrabble, and ate Thai food. The old man who delivered it gave us free drinks because we were from out of town and he thought we needed them.
  • Interns paid for my lunch at a noodle shop
  • Missed out on seeing my friend Jen because she was apparently dieing from the plague
  • Got to walk a mile in my new dress shoes across campus to a parking garage (my heels were not happy)
  • Got to drive in an HOV lane for the first time. Added bonus of having Maggie with me.
  • Got to pet my kitty cats and play “avoid the cat hair” with my suits
  • Got to have lunch/dinner with Carl at an Italian restaurant where he swears our waitress thought we were a couple
  • Listened to a whole bunch of Shrink Rap Radio and Wise Counsel on my iPhone
  • Stayed the night with a fraternity brother I had never met and got my paddle signed
  • Got to see the ocean and drive under it (ok, I technically drove under the bay…)
  • Walked another mile in my dress shoes–this time indoors at least
  • Met my friend Ann in Richmond, VA for lunch as she was preparing to interview in that city
  • Listened to a lot of Cake
  • Crashed at my mother-in-law’s on an air mattress (ok, so technically it wasn’t two couches above)
  • Saw my friend Belinda’s doppelgänger
  • Interviewed with my friend Kari Ann
  • Drove I-64 from the east coast to Indiana (I have now officially driven it from end to end)
  • Crashed hard, watched all my DVRed shows, and finished the rest of John’s “Flat On Your Beak” from New Years

And those are the highlights. I have another trip coming up next week that involves airplanes and rental cars, but ends with me spending time in Greensboro hanging out with Maggie, Carl, and Courtney.

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It has been quite some time since I last posted. I can blame it on whatever, but suffice it to say I have neglected this blog. I intend to remedy that, but let’s not put the cart before the horse. I’ve said I will be more consistent before and look where that got me. I’m off Spark People and off P90. Let’s just take this one post at a time, shall we?

Tomorrow I embark on a 5 day, 1,800 mile road trip. This is the first leg of my internship interviews with a phone interview on Monday and 4 consecutive days of on-site interviews through Friday. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Monday – Drive with Maggie to Atlanta, GA with a stop in Nashville to meet Lauren for lunch and conduct my 60 minute phone interview with XXXXX
  • Tuesday – Interview at XXXXX in Atlanta then drive to Boone, NC
  • Wednesday – Interview at XXXXX in Boone, then drive to Greensboro to drop off Maggie, have lunch with Carl in Burlington, and drive all the way out to Hampton, VA where I am told a friend of a friend of Maggie’s, who happens to be a Sinfonian, will put me up for the night
  • Thursday – Interview at XXXXX then drive ~10 hours to Lexington, KY to crash with my mother-in-law
  • Friday – Interview at XXXXX then drive home to Louisville

I have 2 interviews on the 11th (one phone and one Skype), an on-site interview in White River Junction, Vt on the 19th, an on-site interview in Salisbury, NC on the 21st, and another phone interview that has yet to be scheduled. In all, I have 10 interviews, and in case you’re wondering, I’ve redacted the site names for now because it is easy to do a Google search on my name and find this blog.

That being said, I plan to update throughout the month of January about my experiences during internship interviews. I’ll talk about the time spent in different cities (the ones I travel to anyway) and my general thoughts about the process. Once the match process is past in March, I’ll share more about my experiences at sites. During the process, however, I will be careful not to talk about specific sites and will only give my general impressions about my experiences. My goal is to keep friends and family informed about my travels and offer some general advice to people going through this process. I will not be talking about matching, ranking, or fit with sites in this blog. This is a big internship no-no. APPIC Match Policy states: “Participants in the APPIC Match, including applicants and internship programs, may not communicate, solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information pertaining to either Phase of the Match prior to the release of the results for Phase II of the Match.” There is an outside chance the sites I’m interviewing with will/have Google(d) me and I don’t want to imply fit or ranking status here.

This is a big step and a busy month for me and I simply want to share it with my readers. Following match in March, I will post a list of all the sites to which I applied, but I will refrain from writing about my interviews and experiences with each site. I will provide contact information if you are interested in hearing about my experience at a particular site. You can also message me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jason.schwenker).

That’s all for now. Expect more updates this week and the rest of January. Once the interviewing is over I’ll prolly start back up with P90X. I have too many things going on now whooping my butt mentally and emotionally to add something that will do so physically. Also, I don’t have a pull-up bar and I’m not ready to limit my intake of comfort foods.

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