Master of Arts in Psychology Student Reflects on Recent CAMFT Conference

Jun 6, 2014 by Cynthia Degryse

Cynthia DegryseI was apprehensive when I first embarked upon my Master of Arts in Psychology program at CalSouthern. Like many of you, I had unanswered questions: “Would I be able to balance my family and education?” “Would I enjoy the online learning experience?” And the big one: “Will I be receiving a quality education?”

Now that I am nearing completion of my degree program, those questions seem like ancient history to me. I have been able to successfully balance my coursework and family obligations. The online format has been wonderfully flexible for my lifestyle. And, I have found the curriculum at California Southern University to offer the perfect blend of challenging, thought-provoking and adaptable assignments.

As if I needed any more confirmation that I did indeed chose the perfect university for me, my opinion was pleasantly reinforced through a multitude of experiences when I recently attended the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) Annual Conference May 1-4, 2014 in Indian Wells, California.

First, I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know some of the staff from CalSouthern, including enrollment advisors, my academic advisor Kathleen Hawks and the dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Barbara Grimes. It’s unfortunate that all students do not have the opportunity to meet these individuals in person. I was incredibly impressed by each and every one of them, and by their dedication and commitment to our university and the advancement of its learners.

If any of you hold the honor of having Kathleen Hawks as your academic advisor, consider yourself one of the most fortunate learners on the planet.  Kathleen is as sharp and informed as they come. Not only did she spend an enormous amount of time getting to know me and answering any questions I had regarding my degree program, practicum placement and the Board of Behavioral Sciences’ requirements, but her energy, passion and love for her profession were absolutely palpable!  It is rare to meet someone as knowledgeable and authentic as Kathleen Hawks.

Second, I was thrilled to discover that in most of the presentations I attended at CAMFT, I encountered either another CalSouthern learner or a graduate of the university. It was a wonderful experience to meet fellow learners and discuss our perspectives on our coursework and education. I am pleased to report that everyone I spoke with concurred that their experience with CalSouthern had also been overwhelmingly positive.

Third, I discovered that attending the CAMFT conference was an excellent supplement to the online education process.  A multitude of workshops were available and anyone interested in the field of psychology—and marriage and family therapy, in particular—would find most of them fascinating.  Many of the presenters were well known in the profession and/or authors of books on various subjects, ranging from therapist self-care to sexual addiction.  The amount of knowledge, wisdom and practical advice presented was simply outstanding.

Finally, it was an invaluable and enriching experience to be surrounded by so many future colleagues within the field that I have grown to love. It struck me that my education at CalSouthern has provided me the ability to converse in a manner and at a level that is on par with currently practicing therapists. In addition, it has given me the ability to positively contribute to discussions and intellectual debates with these esteemed practitioners.  The feeling of camaraderie I experienced provided me a sense of a validation and motivation that was nothing short of priceless.

If you have ever considered attending a workshop in your area or the CAMFT annual conference itself, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It enhanced my confidence as a future therapist in a way that would be almost impossible to replicate.  Not only did I acquire additional wisdom and reassurance, but I walked away knowing that I had secured new friends for a lifetime.

It was an invaluable and enriching experience to be surrounded by so many future colleagues within the field that I have grown to love.

Not only did I acquire additional wisdom and reassurance, but I walked away knowing that I had secured new friends for a lifetime.

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