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DSW Degree, Social Worker Therapist, Psychiatry and Public Health

Updated: Jul 8


Since earning my MSW in 2016, I have been busy gaining experience in my field and researching and reflecting on how to best advance my social work practice by earning the terminal degree in my area, the DSW. Entirely dedicated to lifelong education and career advancement, I hope to further develop my clinical, analytical and critical thinking skills as a DSW student at the University of XXXX. I have served in several different social work positions in Texas and New York and now hold my LMSW license in both states. I have been doing my current job for more than a year as a Social Worker Therapist with the Department of Psychiatry at The University of XXXX.


With experience working in various professional settings before, during, and after my studies towards the MSW, I have developed increasing adaptability, flexibility, and sensitivity to others. As a quick learner, I have become adept at crisis intervention and incredibly knowledgeable in this area, helping clients work through suicidal and homicidal ideation. Learning to think on my feet, I have also become adept at problem-solving and rapid intervention at the micro/clinical, mezzo, and macro levels, meeting the needs of my clients with engagement and fidelity. I am a critical, solutions-focused thinker, especially fond of psychodynamic theories and approaches and evidence-based treatments such as the ACT, CBT, etc.; working with marginalized adults of all ages; the common factors are low income and homelessness accompanied by mental health/psychiatric diagnosis. Typically, the male clients I work with are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, substance use disorder, and addiction issues. Many of my clients are HIV positive and are also members of the LGBTQ community. A handful of my clients have been Asian or Asian-American.


I seek a total immersion experience at UX, in the integration of theory, practice, and research skills, reflective analytic and clinical skills, and the articulation of one’s theoretical and reflective knowledge in a way that reflects one’s grasp of the importance of research in social work practice and the development of research for the advancement of the profession. The federally-funded project I am working on is UTHealth’s Homeless Outpatient Mental Health Expansion Services Program (UTHealth HOMES). The program aims to deliver evidence-based psychotherapy and mental health treatment to adults experiencing homelessness with a diagnosis of severe mental illness and a co-occurring disorder. I am a lead clinician in the field providing psychotherapy, treatment planning, diagnosis, administering clinical assessments, and performing psychometric screenings. I also offer field instruction, supervise MSW student interns, Psychiatry and Public Health professors and assist with data collection, data analysis procedures, and program evaluation. Through discussions with community partners, regional stakeholders, and UTHealth’s Psychiatry and Public Health professors, I have gained a deeper insight into the complexities of our affordable housing crisis. I am passionate about brainstorming innovative ways to tackle the growing homelessness epidemic. It has been a special honor to co-author our program's Patient Psychoeducation Workbook. It recently submitted and assisted abstracts of our work as a co-author to the American Psychiatry Association and the American Public Health Association.


Advancing the social work profession, primarily through psychotherapy, I will be able to contribute to dismantling the stigma concerning mental health, particularly in Asian and other minority communities, building awareness as a foundation of social change. I look forward to continuing to study the criminalization of race, gender, and sexuality, implementing trauma-informed and culturally-competent practices and mental health treatment programs for adults experiencing homeliness or those who are at risk for homelessness.


I seek to utilize the conceptual frameworks found in the literature of Neuroscience, Neurobiology, and Epigenetics to understand trauma better and help with treatment planning for Major Depressive Disorders, PTSD, etc. I look forward to exercising my leadership skills and helping to build awareness of mental health issues in the community, particularly the high rates of suicide among Asians/Asian-AmericaImplementingincrediblyn of culturally-relevant interventions is incredibly close to my heart. I am passionate about designing mental health treatment for and contributing to the de-stigmatization of LGBTQ+ individuals/couples. I have a particular research interest in Asians and Asian-Americans, my ethnic group among these groups of persons with HIV. I have a specific research interest in Asians and Asian-Americans, my ethnic group among these groups. Employing systems perspectives and bio-psycho-social approaches, I will seek to describe the dynamics involved in the foformingrmation of a dyad and the influence of gender-determined roles and develop an enhanced awareness of the use of self in the application of interventions. I intend to pay special attention to those factors that impact my clients due to discrimination, poverty, homophobia, and socially constructed barriers to the whole exercise of their freedoms.


Along with Neuroscience and Epigenetics, I am well-versed in Polyvagal Theory, Mindfulness, Contemporary Psychodynamic Approaches, Couples Therapy and Sex Therapy, and Psychopharmacology. I seek to creatively access and describe ethical and legal dilemmas for the social worker in mental health. I see myself as an advocate and a practitioner of culturally competent mental health treatment – particularly concerning gender diversity and sexual identity, with the development of my particular focus on Asians/Pacific Islanders and Asian-Americans. I often find myself reading about competency training for service providers and the role and potential contribution of theories of conflict resolution in the Social Work community.


Transportation and urban planning about their effects on mental health and well-being concern me greatly, especially relating about challenging. Older adults with mental health issues, trauma healing for registered sex offenders, and re-entry programs for new life/work/housing opportunities areaarearea are o most extensive engagements. Since coming back to Texas in 2018, I have become increasingly fascinated by comparing different regions of the USA in their regional attitudes, values, beliefs, and delivery systems of mental health services to vulnerable populations – especially on the South and East Coast. This includes the stigma surrounding mental health treatment and psychotropic medication, the criminalization of gender and sexuality, racial/ethnic disparities in accessing appropriate mental health services, particularly for older adults, persons identifying as LGBTQ+ and in need of HIV treatment, and the need to address these disparities through advocacy and provider/agency training in the areas of culturally competent treatment and trauma-informed care.


I have faced many challenging situations as a social worker, particularly given that I have developed a particular interest in helping registered sex offenders find employment and housing. During the supervision of the interns, I sometimes faced particular challenges conveying the precise purpose of our agency meetings and keeping them on topic. It was sometimes difficult to avoid being pulled into cultural explorations that led us far afield from our more immediate concerns. I found it helpful to steer our focus to systems theory and attachment, using Gottman's model, amplifying and expanding its application.


After beginning my MSW studies at the University of Texas at Austin, my family and I suffered several setbacks occurring more or less simultaneously. We left me almost incapacitated in their severity, resulting in an unacceptable grade and my being placed on academic probation from Spring 2004 through Spring 2007. It was a struggle to deal with critical family issues at first. Still, in time, they turned into a rapid and profound period of personal growth. I felt like I was undergoing a metamorphosis into a highly successful professional who could not be more dedicated to her career. During this period, I learned my valid values, formed my mature, adult identity, and built up my integrity and determination, discovering the strength within me. I redeemed myself by attaining solid grades for the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 semesters through challenging actual work and the power of positive change. I became more resilient, learning to persevere further when faced with adversity. Since then, I have learned how to leverage this resiliency and perseverance to meet new challenges, exemplified by my work, volunteer service, and educational experiences. I recently completed a non-degree, graduate-level Social Work course at Touro College, for which I earned an A, and have increased my volunteering, working up to 10 hours per week. My main priority is honoring my commitment to my education and passion for social work. I am confident that I will successfully meet challenges with enthusiasm and dedication.


After resolving some complicated family issues that resulted in my mental health challenges, I am proud to have graduated from NYU's MSW program with a 3.56 GPA. I am proud of how I ultimately dealt most effectively with an abusive relationship and pleased that I was someone who benefitted greatly from the use of psychotropic medications for depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, going into periods that lasted for some time, during which I would upon occasion see my therapist twice a week instead of just once. This experience further solidified my understanding of and passion for the healing potential of counseling and other mental health solutions and resources. If I had been prescribed the medications earlier, I might have been able to have better handled the academic pressure during this especially turbulent period of my life.


After responding successfully to these difficulties, I excelled in my new field placement during my last semester of graduate school. I remain in contact with and have a good relationship with that field supervisor, who is also one of my references, providing me with a letter of recommendation supporting my DSW application.


I thank you for considering my application to the DSW Program at UXXX.


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