Working with graduate students and young professionals is one of the most rewarding aspects of my professional life. I view them as junior colleagues in training and engage them in all areas of my professional life described on this site. For example, graduate students typically work on all my research studies, at times helping to develop treatments, serving as therapists, coding couples’ interactions, and conducting assessments. Students frequently develop their own research hypotheses within the context of these projects, ideas which they then pursue. Students also develop research questions outside of any ongoing studies, and these inquiries often lead to new investigations. Not only do graduate students take the courses that I teach, but they also assist in teaching those courses, as well as in conducting the practicum in our Couples Clinic. Mentoring graduate students is extremely important to me, and I am honored to have received the University’s Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding mentoring of doctoral students at UNC. I also have received a national mentoring award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). Here is a link from The Behavior Therapist (January, 2016) that describes my mentoring philosophy.
Furthermore, I believe that it is important for students to get to know other researchers in the couple field. It is common for students working with me to be involved with collaborators elsewhere in the United States and in other countries. Students in our Couples Lab typically attend and make presentations at national conferences. At times, we also make international trips to visit other researchers and present our work, and we frequently have researchers from other universities visiting our lab.
A MESSAGE FOR PROSPECTIVE DOCTORAL STUDENTS
Like almost everything of value in life, I believe that graduate study and the profession of clinical psychology are demanding. I also believe that the study of relationships and psychotherapy is intriguing, rewarding, and a great deal of fun. Just as in all relationships, the “match” between adviser and student is paramount in determining how well any program will fit you as a doctoral student. I hope the information on this website is helpful as you explore where you might most productively pursue this next stage of your career development.