After successfully passing the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (the “EPPP”), only the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (“CPSE”) stands between Dr. Jill Moland and her California Psychologist License.
From the city of Camarillo, Dr. Moland has a BA in Liberal Arts from Cal-Lutheran, a master’s in school counseling from Azusa Pacific (she’s also just one class shy of a second master’s in reading from Cal-Lutheran), as well as her PsyD from CalSouthern.
She recently retired from an extremely successful—and highly varied—career in education that spanned more than two decades. That doesn’t mean she’ll be slowing down any time soon, however. After she obtains licensure, the CalSouthern PsyD grad looks forward to a new career as a mental health care provider.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Dr. Moland for a wide-ranging conversation regarding her teaching career, how she developed an interest in psychology, and her plans for the future.
CalSouthern: Please tell us a bit about your career as an educator.
Dr. Moland: I earned my teaching credential and started my career in 1981. I had a new baby at the time, was married to a firefighter, in addition to student teaching, so it was quite a busy time, to say the least. But it evolved into a 30-year career in education in the Camarillo area. I taught every grade from first through eighth, teaching all subjects to the younger children and specializing in English with the middle-school kids.
CalSouthern: How did you come to develop an interest in psychology?
Dr. Moland: There were a number of factors at work. First, I have a son—grown now—with Asperger’s Syndrome. When he was younger, there were no programs available for him in our district, and few resources outside of that. I had to devise plans for him, reading magazine articles and teaching him about facial expressions, and helping him overcome the other issues that he had as best I could. Along that way, it became a passion of mine.
Thinking back, I can remember a psychiatrist telling me that he should be institutionalized. I knew there had to be better options than that. And now, he is doing quite well. He’s 30, on his own, and working as a chemist.
In addition, I did some work as a learning therapist that interested me. We tested children and wrote programs for remediation when necessary, or for enrichment in the case of gifted kids. I did that for six years and really enjoyed it.
I suppose another motivating factor stemmed sitting in meetings with other teachers and parents, and getting the feeling that teachers were somewhat misunderstood. Teachers have so much to give, but because we are “just teachers,” sometimes we aren’t taken very seriously. Concerning mainstreamed children with various disabilities, for example, we often have extensive experience. We know what we’re talking about, but often aren’t listened to.
I thought that if I could get more education in the field, maybe people would start to listen and I could—in a sense—represent teachers and help to give them a voice. And, being exposed to so many mainstreamed kids with disabilities as a teacher, I had developed a passion to help them succeed, and wanted to learn more.
Finally, I had earned a master’s in school counseling and did my 1,000 hours as a school counselor. I loved it, but there were simply no jobs. Pursuing an education and career in psychology seemed a logical step.
All of these factors combined to lead me to start looking around for a strong psychology program. There was very little in the area and with a full-time job, I needed flexibility and convenience. I found CalSouthern, and I am so glad I did.
CalSouthern: What about your professional experience in psychology? Is there a certain specialty or area of practice that you’re leaning toward?
Dr. Moland: I’ve been with my current psychology supervisor for four years and she’s been fantastic. But I really haven’t focused my work in a certain area; I’ve been trying to expose myself to as much as possible. I’ve worked with couples, young women, and children; I’ve conducted social skills groups.
I suppose if I were to take on a specialty, it would be working with victims of sexual abuse (I’ve worked for rape crisis centers in the past), and, as I’ve alluded to, I have a passion for working with children with Asperger’s and autism.
CalSouthern: Congratulations on passing the EPPP. What requirements for licensure remain?
Dr. Moland: My hours are complete—all that’s left is for me to pass the CPSE, which I’m studying for as we speak.
CalSouthern: Looking into the future a year or two, how do you envision your practice developing?
Dr. Moland: I certainly want to get more children on my case load; I miss my kids. I’ve just retired from teaching and since this is my first year away from it, I’m experiencing some withdrawal symptoms. I mentioned that it would make sense for me to specialize in autism, but having been so close to it for years, I sense that I need a break and may look instead to branch out and work with children with other disorders.
Another interest of mine is working with high school kids with gender-identity issues—that’s something I would really like to do. I’ve recently encountered kids with these sorts of issues and sense that there’s a need there.
But I really don’t want to rule much out. Ultimately, I want to be useful; if there’s a need in any area where I think I could help, I am sure I would take it on. So I’ll let my practice develop as it goes.