What are some words of wisdom/encouragement you would give to a new or incoming student in your program?
Connect with your peers! I can't stress this enough. Your peers will become an asset for future referrals, the CRPO registration process and the exam preparation to become RP, as well as for peer consultation once you're in the field. Additionally, you can make some great friends, and it's a wonderful personal resource to have: a social network of other therapists! Our cohort had a group chat to share resources, events, and other ways to bond, such as organizing our own socials. It's a great idea to get involved with OISE outside of the classroom, such as with a research lab, a social club, an academic club, or a student club. Also, self-care has become a pretty big buzzword in our field, but it's important to really embody this while at OISE. Take up an arts practice if that strikes an interest, or check out ROSE's mindfulness series, volunteer at a community organization, or socialize with some new and old friends. Whatever your form of self-care, remember to get some sleep! You really will need it, and your peers and clients will thank you for catching those zzzs.
As a 2nd year student in OISE's CP program I was qualified to register with the CRPO, which enabled me to start my own equitable private practice upon completing my practicum. I have continued to build my practice around offering affordable psychotherapy to underserved, marginalized, and vulnerable communities, specializing in the care of LGBTTQI2SA+, BIPOC, and disabled/chronically ill populations, along with the treatment of mood and anxiety concerns. I intend to continue my studies at OISE at the doctoral level (Counselling Psychology & Psychotherapy - EdD). I have been working on a psychosocial intervention for bipolar disorder over the last decade called Mindfulness-Based Awareness & Transformation Therapy (MBATT), which I'd like to intensively research as part of my doctoral dissertation.
Well, I did my undergraduate degree in psychology at UofT, so I must be an academic masochist! Seriously though, OISE and UofT have a great reputation, and the MEd CP program is accredited with the CRPO. The program provided foundational training, which built upon my previous training in addictions and mental health, CBT, and Mindfulness-based approaches. The mix of theoretical and experiential training was valuable, as was the ability to locate a practicum site that specialized with my populations of interest. The opportunity to work with Dr. Ellen Gutowski's Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) lab gave me academic experience outside of the classroom, allowing me to connect with other students and faculty, to advance my own learning, and to help bridge gaps within the field of research. Additionally, the commitment to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion has always been a top priority in choosing an educational institution, and I have appreciated the progress that I have witnessed while at OISE, and look forward to seeing these values expanded upon not only within the curriculum, but also within OISE, and the greater UofT community.