When I received an email from my alma mater asking to profile me for an upcoming story, I saw it as a great opportunity to brag- not about me, but about my mentors.
Rewind a few decades… When I applied to psychology programs, I was a practicing physical therapist. In college, I had majored in biology and then went to Duke University to get my Master’s in physical therapy. It was while I was a practicing PT that I realized my true calling was psychology. So, I decided to go back to school and get my doctorate.
Luckily, I did not realize how difficult it is to get into a clinical psych program. Having taken a total of 3 psychology courses in undergrad and none in PT school, I had minimal knowledge about this field. I applied to schools that were geographically near me (and my then boyfriend) without realizing how different and unique each program is. Unlike many other degrees, training in clinical psychology is more dependent on your mentor (the person with whom you do your research and clinical work) than it is about the classes. And I lucked out.
Arthur M. Nezu, Ph.D. accepted me into his group at what was then called Hahnemann University (now called Drexel University). He is a master clinician and researcher- not common among psychologists who tend to be good at one or the other. It was Dr. Nezu who taught me how to interact with clients, how to conceptualize what is really going on, how to teach my clients skills to help themselves be happier and healthier. He modeled for me how to conduct therapy, how to educate the masses (Art is a great speaker) and how to lead others (he has held countless leadership roles in the world of psychology and medicine, including President of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the American Board of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology, the World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies). It was also with Dr. Nezu and his wife, Dr. Christine Maguth Nezu, that I wrote my first book: Cognitive-Behavioral Case Formulation and Treatment Design: A Problem-Solving Approach.
I am so grateful to Dr. Nezu for taking a chance on a young physical therapist who knew nothing about psychology!
And here’s the article that Drexel wrote, allowing me to share my gratitude for my mentor.