Aug 12, 2016
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Hello All,

I will be applying to grad programs later this year and was wondering if anyone on the board has any thoughts on existential-phenomenological counseling psych programs, namely Seattle U and University of Dallas. I will most likely be applying to clinical, psychodynamic-friendly MSW/MSS programs (Bryn Mawr, Boston University, Simmons, NYU), though I am curious about how these programs compare in terms of clinical preparedness, as well as how they might be received by prospective employers. I'm pretty well-acquainted with the age old LPC vs. LCSW debate, so I don't mean to resurrect that with this post. More so, are programs like these worth going to or do they end up being somewhat limiting following graduation?

About my own interests: I would like to gain varied clinical experience during school and post-grad (SMI, adult MH agency, crisis, maybe even adolescent) before eventually working on building a private practice. Down the road, I would also like to have a sort of "niche specialty" in private practice work with artists/people in creative professions (though, not exclusively), in addition to becoming trained as a psychedelic-assisted therapist for PTSD treatment.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
 
Sep 12, 2016
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Hello! I am currently a psych undergrad at UD. Unfortunately I don't know a whole lot about our grad program here. Have you reached out to any of the staff? Fisher-Smith and Swales are both practicing clinicians and may be able to give you a good idea of what you're looking at.
 
Apr 2, 2013
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I applied to both Seattle and UD for my Masters (well, got accepted to Seattle/never finished the UD application) before deciding on West Georgia because the funding is better (tuition is relatively low and I've also had an assistantship with tuition remission + stipend the entire time I've been here). The basic difference I think is going to be the highly humanities/philosophy oriented approach. You'll still likely learn some conventional theory and methodology, but there will be an emphasis on humanistic stuff like phenomenology/human experience, qualitative methodology, philosophical foundations, etc. Personally I think this a great way to approach clinical practice and allows you to go pretty deep into both your own experience and the experience of others, but obviously that depends on your views: people who value quantitative empiricism over philosophy/qualitative work probably won't be very happy at these programs.

I can't speak to the MSW/MSS programs, but I have found these programs to be very friendly to creativity as well as psychedelics. At UWG there's a yearly class devoted to creativity, and I have a friend in the doc program who's doing her dissertation on psychedelics, and there's quite a bit of interest spread out the general grad population. I suspect these programs are similar, although I'm not totally sure. Historically humanistic psych has been very accepting of psychedelics as well as explorations into creativity.
 
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Mar 24, 2014
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Down the road, I would also like to have a sort of "niche specialty" in private practice work with artists/people in creative professions (though, not exclusively), in addition to becoming trained as a psychedelic-assisted therapist for PTSD treatment.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Is that even legal? It would definitely be ethically problematic and i don't know of any legitimate research support for this. From what I have seen with my own patients and what the research shows is that people who don't use any drugs have better outcomes.
 

WisNeuro

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There have been some experimental studies, not a whole lot, but yeah, I have seen nothing even remotely encouraging from the drugs and PTSD work. The closest was probably MDMA, but even that didn't hold up well in some longer term studies. I think it's fine to study some of these things, but I wouldn't bank on it being legal in therapeutic settings anytime in the next decade or two.
 

Ollie123

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There is actually OK preliminary data for psilocybin and ketamine in very specific contexts. Though I cannot emphasize the word preliminary enough. Buddy is running a small-mid size RCT with the former at present, we'll see what happens. Fully agree that its (at least) a decade until any of this has any hope of making it into legit clinical settings - if it ever does.
 
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There have been some experimental studies, not a whole lot, but yeah, I have seen nothing even remotely encouraging from the drugs and PTSD work. The closest was probably MDMA, but even that didn't hold up well in some longer term studies. I think it's fine to study some of these things, but I wouldn't bank on it being legal in therapeutic settings anytime in the next decade or two.
There is actually OK preliminary data for psilocybin and ketamine in very specific contexts. Though I cannot emphasize the word preliminary enough. Buddy is running a small-mid size RCT with the former at present, we'll see what happens. Fully agree that its (at least) a decade until any of this has any hope of making it into legit clinical settings - if it ever does.
Key point I get from both of these posts is - more research needs to be done. The other point is even if research supported it as being effective, would this ever make sense for a counselor or social worker to conduct this type of treatment in a solo practice setting?
 

WisNeuro

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Key point I get from both of these posts is - more research needs to be done. The other point is even if research supported it as being effective, would this ever make sense for a counselor or social worker to conduct this type of treatment in a solo practice setting?
No, in the unlikely event that it ever gets approved, I can almost guarantee you that it will need to be administered by an MD, so it will fall to Psychiatrists.
 

Ollie123

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Key point I get from both of these posts is - more research needs to be done. The other point is even if research supported it as being effective, would this ever make sense for a counselor or social worker to conduct this type of treatment in a solo practice setting?
Almost certainly would not be done outside hospital treatment settings and would certainly not be done without prescriber involvement barring massive deregulation or substantive changes to the healthcare system (how could it?). Possibility that extracts could one day be approved for outpatient use, but that's another ballgame entirely.
 

Ollie123

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OTOH, maybe I read the initial post wrong. It does say psychedelic-assisted therapist so maybe it's not the patient taking the psychedelics? Sort of a boundaries of perception, Carlos Castaneda thing? Still has some legal and ethical hurdles.
I'm just confused why it would be limited to psychedelics in that case. Amphetamines and cocaine would allow one to seriously boost volume. Someone has to make up for coverage gaps and help address all that unmet need...
 
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