I identify with Carl Jung’s archetype of the “wounded healer,” who must help others to cure himself. I spent the first five years in Mexico thinking my grandmother was my mother before being whisked away to a foreign land by troubled parents with very few resources. I was wounded not because I was raised in an urban ghetto but because my father was an alcoholic, and the abuse and fights that his disease provoked left us in a perennial state of fear and insecurity. I was a victim of abuse through neglect and raised among worst-case scenarios of undocumented lifestyles in urban southern California. I hope to be selected for your competitive program at XXXX because my story exemplifies struggle and redemption, preparing me well to help families survive and function in a world that often seems increasingly difficult. Most Social Workers have been wounded somehow at some point; what distinguishes us is that we have dedicated our lives to first healing ourselves and then doing what we can to uplift others who struggle to recover from their wounds.
I learned to dig deep within myself to transform wounds into wisdom and recovery. My therapeutic experience provided a safe place to explore battles with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Dealing with mental health issues in a supportive atmosphere allowed me to question my negative inner dialogue. It helped me uncover and understand better the cultural, patriarchal, and parental influences weighing upon the historical development of my sense of self. Years of therapy have brought me to where I am now aligned with my truth, brave, and fearlessly authentic. At 40, my maturity, suffering, and wisdom have helped me cultivate understanding, empathy, and compassion for myself and others.
There are several reasons why XXXX University is my first choice for graduate study for the MSW Degree. I see your online format as innovative in our field, the rigor of your program as unparalleled, and the mission of XXXX University in Social Work to be most closely aligned with my humanistic philosophy and motivation. I crave the stellar combination of academic theory with real-world practice at XXXX. I am confident that I can excel, especially since your online format will enable me to do my field placement at home - in LA.
Among your outstanding faculty, I am especially inspired by the work of Drs. XXXX and XXXX. I hope to help shed light on some of those “distinct links between early parenting in the prediction of children’s neurocognition (executive function), emotion regulation and sleep” in the research of Dr. XXXX into the protective factors of neural development in children and adolescents. I hope to receive the ultimate education in social mobility from Dr. XXXX in a global context.
I also have an enormous amount of admiration for those professionals who graduated from XXXX. Among women in our field and related areas I deeply admire, none stand taller than Dr. XXXX, a Clinical Psychologist who graduated from XXXX. I aspire to put her creativity and insight concerning parenting to effective use as I tackle many of the challenges we face in Social Work in support of troubled families. Her thinking was an excellent asset for raising my own two boys, now 10 and 16. I referenced Dr. XXXX in the material that I presented at a series of parenting workshops that I taught at ABHS. I attended her Evolve Conference in Long Beach and completed two year-long courses on Manifestation and Manifestation Meditation. A member of her “Luminous Group for Women,” I also completed her courses focused on troubled teens and conscious cleansing.
I look forward to a professional lifetime of helping children and adolescents develop the abilities they need to succeed in school and function well in society, participating in research that addresses the mental health issues of children and adolescents from various interdisciplinary perspectives. I seek the most immersion possible in comparative holistic approaches, especially concerning the complementary character of Eastern and Western contributions to philosophy and later psychology. My long-term professional goal is to design a new model to develop and operate a program addressing the mind, body, and spirit of children and adolescents who have been abused. I look forward to becoming a Psychotherapist and an LCSW in private practice, leading therapy groups for women and children, and exploring the power of meditation and positive thinking.
Like my mother, I too was thrown out of the house at an early age; and like both parents, I was raised against a backdrop of domestic violence, emotional abuse, alcoholism, and poverty. Unlike my mother and father, who were both prone to addiction and learned to cope by getting loud, angry, and often violent, I managed by internalizing anger --becoming depressed, silent, withdrawn, and feeling inadequate. However, I understand how being angry and violent gave my parents a brief escape from disempowering circumstances. Most importantly, I have forgiven them.
I have become healed to the point that I take pride in being an empath, and listening is my favorite pass time. I thrive best when I am busy noticing, processing, and synthesizing micro-expressions and the energetic vibrations of mood swings. I have served in a variety of positions and see them all as contributing something to my career in Social Work, teaching me something of value. Occupational therapist assistant, teacher, literacy tutor, and domestic violence counselor; I have also volunteered as a parenting co-facilitator. If the grades from my twenties weren’t factored in, I would be graduating magna cum laude. From my first sociology class to the most recent abnormal psychology course, I knew I had made the right decision by returning to school to become an MSW professional.
I began my first internship in my undergraduate program by attending the LCSW and Psy.D. group supervision meetings. My supervisor Dr. XXXX soon offered me an opportunity to co-facilitate a parenting and a domestic violence group. I quickly found myself planning lessons as my co-facilitator, Dr. XXXX, allowed me to take the reins. I tracked down resources within the community and brought in evidence-based material for the DV group. We discussed cycles of abuse, and I introduced Carol Dweck’s concept of Growth Mindset and other issues in neuroplasticity to the parenting group. I also shared information that I had gleaned from my university classes. I brought in enough supplemental material and resources from various sources to create a new and revised DV and a parenting workbook. I tutored K-12 and led meditation with each group that I taught. I also attended group supervision meetings and co-facilitating groups. Far exceeding CSUNs required number of internship hours, I continued to work during winter and summer breaks and stayed with the agency for over 1.5 years.
I’ve also represented clients at the group/community level by participating in monthly San Fernando Gang Coalition Meetings. This event provides a platform for several organizations, including LA Police divisions, the city attorney, DA, LAUSD, and non-profit organizations, to collaborate and address important critical issues within the community. Several. organizations, including LA Police divisions, the city attorney, DA, LAUSD, and non-profit organizations, to collaborate and address the aftermath of a series of ICE raids. I spoke with Captain Don Graham about how undocumented immigrants are protected under the Bill of Rights, clarifying whether the LAPD collaborates on ICE raids. Experiencing prejudice and racism firsthand contributes to my ability to help others. There was a time when I never even thought about why I was passed over for so many jobs or promotions; now I understand. I am empathetic to those people who are discriminated against, and all too often victimized, at least to some extent, based on their skin and immigration status.
I have character traits that will help me become an effective therapist because I have overcome the horror of my childhood. I would wake up hearing Mom and Dad threaten to shoot each other in the middle of the night. Dad would drag me to chase Mom down with his truck, a shotgun resting next to me on the passenger side. He was very jealous when she would go out to nightclubs with her friends. As if this were not enough, I witnessed my younger brother run over by a car when he was only two years old, riding a big wheel. My dad and I wrapped him in a towel and rushed him to the hospital. When I was seventeen, my foot was nearly amputated from a jet ski and boating accident. I’m thankful for the nine titanium pins holding my foot together and the surgeon who yielded to my mother’s pleas not to amputate.
Given the ferocity of the demons they faced, my parents did their best. After they were divorced, my mother did better, and I supported her by helping her to take care of my little brother, getting him ready for school in the mornings, making sure he was dressed on time, preparing his breakfast and his lunch, taking him to school, and bringing him home. My mother was incredibly young, and we all grew up together at times. I was her principal moral support when she went through her divorce. Later, I helped her with her insecurities about speaking up in front of her co-workers in meetings. We talked about everything while cooking and cleaning, her childhood, marriage, and co-worker relationships.
I feel that all my life experiences have primed me to become a therapist. My relationship with my mom shaped the character of relationships I would go on to have with friends. The addiction issues of my parents and my dedication to becoming a Social Work professional dictate that I be open to extending a helping hand on a personal and professional level to the extent to which I can. I have learned much about addiction from my friend Holly, who lost her sister to opioids. I was part of an intervention to get her to go to rehab. Now that she’s out, I check on her regularly, which I see as especially important because the rest of her friends seem to have disappeared. We discuss the origins of her addiction, such as feeling the need always to be the strong one in her family, and we get some comedy relief that helps us vent our emotions.
Earning the MSW will provide me with the skill set that I need to effectively contribute to resolving social issues surrounding the welfare of children and adolescents on multiple levels, especially concerning early-life interventions. I understand how parents with otherwise good intentions repeat patterns of abuse and suffering. This motivates me to help at-risk youth by collaborating with caregivers to improve family self-efficacy. We know about resources to help facilitate social-emotional skills and development at school. I am proud of how we work to raise awareness within the community about the prevalence and impact of trauma and the available help.
My areas of interest include the biopsychosocial impact of immigration on children and adolescents. My dream is to design a program for children to learn to better handle and recover from stressful situations, shame, anxiety, and problems of imagery that derive from social and economic class, especially for undocumented migrants. I want to look closely at the brain's neuroplasticity and protective factors for children against post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, shame, resilience, and vulnerability, primarily by studying individual cases of children being separated from their parents. I’ve also taken workshops and classes from pioneers in Social Work and Psychology, completing Dr. Brené Brown’s Courage Works course and various Conscious Parenting courses by Dr. Shefali Tabery. I plan to become certified in holistic nutrition and neuro-linguistic programming.
I serve as a Group Facilitator at the Association of Behavioral Health Specialists. I have done food prep and delivery of hot meals to homeless people downtown with the LA Mission and served as a literacy tutor through the Burbank Public Library. Another highlight many years ago that helped me better appreciate the importance of patience and the beauty and resilience of life was my service as an Occupational Therapist Assistant at Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita.
I thank you for considering my application to the MSW Program at XXXX.
MSW Statement of Purpose Editor