I have earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology, and I am now a highly experienced psychology and mental health professional and a Saudi Arabian woman who is now fully convinced that this is the right time for her to complete her education by earning the PsyD Degree. I seek preparation for the fullest contribution to my profession and community. In addition to earning the requisite degrees, I also have completed extensive specialized coursework, internships, and certifications, along with my ongoing professional experience. All have affirmed that Psychology truly is my inner calling. Talking to patients, helping them process their emotions, problems, and trauma, teaching them how to set boundaries - and seeing that luminous, shining face by the end of the session: every aspect of Psychology fulfills me personally and professionally.
I have enjoyed opportunities to enhance my leadership abilities by serving at the helm of multiple student organizations and initiatives. Academic advancement has enhanced my communication, interpersonal, and research skills. I have especially enjoyed helping young people, children, teens, and adults. I hope to focus on the issues of these age groups as a doctoral student fully immersed in the study of Neurology, assessment, therapy models, research applications, etc. There is very little diversity appreciation training in Saudi Arabia. I hope to be part of a new generation of psychologists in my country that introduce programs in this area into the academy and the workplace. I aspire to study the Saudi population professionally and to engage in empirical research that is valid and reliable, mastering the fundamentals as a doctoral student in my PsyD program in Clinical Psychology. I plan to develop a particular focus on cognitive behavior therapy, an area in which I have read widely in my free time ever since studying towards my Bachelor’s Degree from Nova Southeastern University. It was love at first sight when I took my first Psychology class, from that time forward, I was smitten.
Early on, I was captivated by the explanatory power of classical and operant conditioning theories, opening my eyes to how our environment affects our behavior. My parents always emphasized the importance of the physical sciences, and little attention was paid to Psychology in my home because it was seen as something literary rather than scientific. I learned, however, that Psychology is key to understanding ourselves and our societies from scientific and humanistic perspectives and healing those who suffer from psychological and behavioral challenges grounded in physical realities and conditions. My first Psychology class and the subsequent devotion that I developed to the field fully affirmed my determination - and capacity - to succeed.
Completing an internship at Destination Hope, Inc. was a watershed experience in developing my professional horizons in Psychology, arousing my passionate interest in clinical and psychosocial assessment and intervention and developing treatment plans. In this position, I led therapy groups and also provided individual counseling. I learned a great deal about mental health in general, psychotherapy, and the critical role of emotional regulation, especially when treating patients with dual diagnoses. Immediately after earning my BA, I began my Master’s Program in Clinical Psychology at ____ University, where I found the coursework most intellectually stimulating. Soon, I became fully immersed in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), DBT skills training, and suicide risk assessment and management, helping with research funded by a grant from Marsha Linehan. Merging my interests in emotional regulation and DBT, I presented the poster for my Master’s Thesis at the Western Psychological Association Conference in 2018. My thesis study attempted to replicate and extend the work of Whiteside et al. (2007) by examining the association between participants’ emotional experiences, coping skills, and close relationships – as these factors were related to binge eating.
Although DBT remains in its infancy in the Middle East, I aim to become a pioneer who makes DBT more familiar and accessible to patients and practitioners, including those needing mental health services who cannot afford it. I greatly enjoy research as it brings out the best in me, and I thrive on the long hours and the unwavering diligence required. An active member of the American Psychological Association and The British Psychological Society, I consistently advance my career, primarily through completing certification courses, including Suicide Prevention Online Training: “Counseling and Access to Lethal Means” and “Locating and Understanding Data for Suicide Prevention.” I am also certified in Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and Good Clinical Practice for Clinical Trials Involving Drugs.
I see the doctoral program in Psychology at ____ as tailored to my principal professional interests in research and clinical training. I am especially keen to learn all I can about neuropsychology and health psychology to be of maximum service to the hospital where I am currently employed, KFSH-D, which is sponsoring my study towards a doctoral degree in America. KFSH-D has the most comprehensive research training research center in Eastern Saudi Arabia. With the advanced research training that I will acquire in my doctoral program at ____, I also hope to go on to make essential contributions to our research center. I am presently involved in an ongoing grant-funded study examining the psychological impact of quarantine measures: distress, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and stigma associated with quarantined individuals in Saudi Arabia. We translated four psychometrics into Arabic, as well as validated and standardized the Arabic versions of psychometrics. I am also involved in ongoing multiple sclerosis (MS) studies as a rater for the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT). KFSH-D and VeraSci are conducting the study to determine the effects of medication on cognition, emotional reaction, and memory in patients with MS. I am further adding to my repository of learning by translating the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality into Arabic.
The PsyD Program at ____ will provide me with the enormous capacity to assist concerning a wide range of patients treated at our hospital, especially those dealing with neurological issues. Earning the terminal degree in my field will set me on course for lifetime advancement as a clinical psychologist, fully engaged in practice and research and always busy promoting the advancement of our profession in the KSA in light of our unique cultural challenges., strengths, and resources.
I serve as an Assistant Clinical Psychologist primarily responsible for patients with personality disorders and providing support and counseling to those judged to be at risk for suicide. I also provide assessments on the psychological well-being of transplant patients as part of a multidisciplinary team. My special efforts in the psychological evaluation of liver and kidney donors, as well as my work on the Oncology ward, in particular, resulted in my being awarded the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission Academic Scholarship, covering expenses for my Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees. I also feel honored to have received the Graduate Student Travel Award and the Early Undergraduate Graduation Award. In addition to the financial support, these awards inspire me and drive me forward. They testify to my tenacity and perseverance over the years, helping me so that I never gave up, despite the obstacles I found in my path.
Born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I came to the United States in 2011 to begin my undergraduate studies. I adapted quickly to this new atmosphere and began building friendships and networks with classmates and professors. My diverse experiences have molded me into a mature, empathetic person with an open mind. I take special pride in celebrating diversity and cultivating empathy and compassion, which I see as especially critical to excel as a psychotherapist.
When I returned to the KSA after finishing my Master’s, I kicked off my career at our hospital in Damma where I remain to this day. Increasingly, I have become a better listener, better at conversation, and a highly observant professional with a cultivated appreciation for diversity. Being raised in a nontraditional, liberal Saudi family shaped my personality, complimented by studying and living in the US, I am now an open-minded feminist and something of a maverick. I try to promote liberal and modern viewpoints in my traditional Saudi Arabian community. One of my focal points is to help sensitize people concerning the significant problems plaguing vast parts of the world. Upon returning to the KSA, I was disappointed that men and women still had separate offices and dining facilities. After enlisting the support of several female colleagues who also wanted to change this deeply rooted bias, we began educating our colleagues through presentations, articles, and open discussions on the topic. We covered areas such as the effects of gender norms, women’s rights in the workplace, and ways to establish a healthy working relationship with a male/female colleague in light of Islamic rules. Some of our colleagues accepted these ideas, acknowledged the gender bias, and gradually worked to embrace change. We were pleased to engineer a paradigm shift in the minds of at least some of our male colleagues, and for that, I will always be proud.
Earning the PsyD Degree at ____ is essential to my larger goal of giving back to the community, and I believe that psychologists must take part in helping the community through the promotion and provision of mental health services. I have dedicated more than eight hundred hours to community service during my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees programs and in my current position at KFSH-D. This program will allow me to further work towards community development, especially for the people who require but possibly cannot afford support for their mental health issues I close this statement with confidence and optimism and look forward to a positive response.
Thank you for considering my application to the PsyD Program at ____.