I was about to email my family about my grad school interview, and this blog post is basically taking the place of that email. The interview for the Marriage and Family Therapy Masters program at BYU was on Friday . The "interview" was loosely based on the traditional meaning of that word. There were about 30 applicants who were selected for this "interview." We were split into 6 groups of 5, and rotated through various rooms to meet with various professors, usually with another group of 5 - so 10 applicants in each room. We asked and answered questions and basically tried to stand out somehow without looking completely arrogant, uncomfortably aggressive, or horrendously brown-nosed. The problem is ALL THE APPLICANTS WERE FREAKING AMAZING. Now I'm worried that I won't get accepted, and I did not apply to any other schools. I really don't know what I will do if I don't get accepted... and I don't plan on figuring that out unless I have to. Please pray that I get accepted.
The program sounds insanely demanding and VERY interesting. If I get accepted, I'll be seeing clients during my first semester. Wow. I could be providing marriage and family counseling by the end of the year. I assume I'll get a bit of, "You're not married; what do you know?" But then again, I don't think many people go to a therapist to hear something like, "I know exactly how you feel." Anyway, between classes, a client case load, and a thesis, it's a busy program. We got to meet some of the current students, and they said they often have 11-hour days, from 9am to 8pm. That would make it difficult to keep working for Unify. Fortunately, MFT students make about $600 a month with their assistantships, and every student gets half of their tuition paid by the department. Also, they said the books are generally pretty thin paperbacks, so they cost way less than undergrad books.
The "interview" also had a writing portion. Twenty minutes to answer three questions. Not everyone got the same questions. Mine were:
1. How will your vulnerabilities make you a good therapist?
2. How will your gender be an asset as a therapist?
3. How has your family of origin propelled you toward the field of Marriage and Family Therapy?
Ok GO, twenty minutes to answer all three in writing. Sheesh. My answers were basically:
1. I've received counseling for some of my vulnerabilities, and its given me faith in the efficacy of therapy.
2. Macho men need to see that it's okay for a man to talk about his feelings; I'll provide that example. Mistreated women need to see that trustworthy men exist; I'll be the first they can trust, and help them learn to trust others.
3. My successful, talented, intelligent, and supportive family provides a model of strength. At the same time, my quest for "success" has become obsessive and harmful for me at times. Thus, I can draw upon my family's strengths, as well as be mindful of the possibility of personal harm inflicted by perceived strengths becoming an Achilles heel.
In retrospect, I wish I had written a bit in #3 about how shocked I was on my mission to find out how rare it is to be in a functional, non-abusive family. That definitely "propelled" me toward Marriage and Family Therapy. While my clients might not appreciate that I'm not married, I hope they'll appreciate that I've actually seen a marriage and family that work well.
Anyway... the main purpose of this [would have been email] blog post is to ask for your prayers. Friday's activities completely converted me to Marriage and Family Therapy. It feels like a good fit for me, and while the thought of seeing clients so soon is scary, it's also really, really exciting. AND there's a built-in teaching program where you can teach some low-level classes at BYU while working on your masters!!!! So perfect. Geez, I haven't even mentioned all the Spanish opportunities. About 20% of clients are Spanish-speaking, and the professor I hope to work with is researching Parent-Adolescent Relationships in Ethnically Diverse Families - mostly Latinos. He holds weekly Spanish readings to help students expand their Spanish therapy vocabulary. The program seems to be superreinforced with support for the budding therapists... plus the thesis, which is uncommon to MFT - I want to write a thesis.
Please pray for me! Thanks.