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Sample APA Personal Statement of Purpose in Counseling, Veteran

I have found my most complete, spiritual joy serving in my current volunteer position connecting with the residents at XXXX Recovery Center in XXXX, Texas.  Working on a regular basis with victims of addictions has helped me to grow and thrive in every way, intellectually and also in terms of my compassion and empathy. Many of the women are homeless, alone and without support from family members. Many have also lost their children through the court system with little clue as to how they will ever be able to be mothers to them again.  When I sit and talk with them I am amazed by how similar we are.  Paying attention to our similarities instead of our differences allows me to put my empathy to good use empowering them to become survivors and to find the strength to conquer their addictions. Having empathy for these women is the first step in breaking the stereotype that labels these women as “broken”.  These are the people I want to reach out to and work with upon completion of my master’s degree program.

For a variety of reasons in addition to its convenient location, I have my heart set on attending the distinguished Master’s Degree Program in Counseling at XXXX University and this is the only program to which I am applying. My passion to pursue a Master’s of Arts in Counseling has been intensifying over the course of the past six years and I have been preparing myself incrementally to hit the ground running in your program and excel. I am fortunate to have a loving husband who fully supports me in every way in my endeavor.  I am confident that my combined life experiences and dedication to the success of the recovery process have provided me with the skills necessary to excel.  I would like the opportunity to radically increase my skill-set and knowledge base at XXXX University so as to maximize my potential to make my fullest professional contribution.

Upon completion of my degree and certificate as a licensed professional counselor at XXXX University, I intend to continue working in a recovery center in the Austin, Texas area for the foreseeable future.  I enjoy very much working with clients coming from such diverse demographic and socio-economic backgrounds and I have found the women in our groups to be the best teachers of all. Facilitating a group of women sharing their experiences, strength and hope is where I currently feel the most comfortable.  Recovery centers will give me the opportunity to work with many people individually as well as in a group setting. One special aspect of recovery centers these days that has me extremely excited is the fact that many are integrating Yoga – of which I am a great enthusiast - into their treatment plans. I have earned my 200-hour Yoga Training Certification and I am now working towards bringing Yoga to groups of clients in recovery from trauma as well as addictions. trauma-recovery communities.  I see Yoga as an excellent compliment to life in general; and mental health counseling in particular. I see its greatest promise for those suffering from depression and anxiety as well as addictions and trauma.

I have carefully read both of Dr. XXXX’s books: A Contemporary Approach to Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling and A Counselor’s Introduction to Neuroscience. And they have helped me to grasp both the horizons and inner complexities of my field.  I especially look forward to learning as much as I can about creative and developmental approaches for working with clients struggling with addiction and/or trauma.  Learning the neuroscience behind addiction and trauma helped me to more fully appreciate how addiction is not a moral issue.  I look forward to lifelong learning in this area, staying fully abreast of the literature dedicated to the effects of trauma and addiction on the brain; and even more importantly, what treatment methods can be used to restore health.

I find Dr. XXXX’s work extremely fascinating and inspiring insofar as she has incorporated Yoga into her therapy practice. I am especially interested in how effective Yoga has been at reducing anxiety and depression in the people she works with.  I have found very little research in the effectiveness of Yoga as a form of therapy and I am eager to hear how it has directly helped her clients. After researching Dr. XXXXe’s work, I am interested in her experience helping individuals suffering from emotional repercussions of trauma.  Many of the people I have met in the recovery community suffer from both addiction and trauma and I am particularly engaged with learning what is most effective for these sufferers.  I am also interested in Dr. XXXX’s development of the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Method. I am most curious as to how this method is applied and how it assists clients in processing distressing memories. 

My first profession was in the Navy. In 2002, I received the Commanding Officer’s Personal Excellence Award, awarded to only 3 of the 320 students serving at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program for greatest number of hours volunteered for training purposes.  I’ve visited many countries while in the Navy enhancing my appreciation for diversity making port calls in Canada, Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.  Along with my British husband I have also visited England, Australia and Mexico. I am proud of the fact that I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. I was not fully aware until around the age of 12 that both my mother and father were untreated alcoholics. Now I also know that, when I was 3, my mother was also diagnosed with schizophrenia, which was kept secret as it was thought shameful. A decade ago, she was admitted to a mental hospital and my parents divorced shortly after. She spent the rest of her life in and out of hospitals until she passed away in 2011. While throat cancer was listed as the cause of death, it was alcoholism that killed her. When I think of her it drives me forward. Unlike many children who suffer from abuse and neglect, my story has a silver-lining.  My grandmother and grandfather fostered my brothers and me and showed us unconditional love and acceptance.  We spent much of our childhood in their care and they humbly demonstrated that a successful life is defined by how well we serve others, not by social status or financial wealth.  Every week my grandmother volunteered at our local church and homeless shelter teaching us that service work is not only an ethical responsibility, but essential to our happiness and well-being.  At the age of thirty six, I have come to more fully appreciate how the career worth pursuing is that which brings purpose and meaning to my life as well as to those I serve. 

My service is quite different from other statement writing services on the Internet for several reasons. I am the little guy on the web, not a big business like most of my competitors. You deal directly with me. I answer all of your questions completely free of charge and I am solely responsible for producing a statement that you are very pleased with.

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Samples of My Work for the Masters Degree in Counseling

Statement on Left Continued

From a very young age I promised myself that I would never be an alcoholic, as if determination and will-power alone would save me.  Despite my best efforts, however, genetically coded for alcoholism and never having worked through my own trauma, I became alcoholic myself from the age from 28 to 32 years of age – now nearing 5 years in a definitive recovery without a drop or any desire for one. Personally, the very idea makes me want to vomit.  In 2012, I entered a thirty-day treatment program that showed me how other women as desperate and hopeless as me were getting sober every day.  The therapists in the recovery center taught us how to put the 12 steps to work to get sober and maintain long-term sobriety.  In the beginning, I would pray every morning for just one more day of sobriety, not expecting to last until lunch.  For some reason beyond my own understanding at the time, however, I was able to string together enough days and eventually came to believe that I deserved a life worth living.  One of the mottos in our recovery community is “You can only keep what you give away” and that we are responsible to “carry the message to those who still suffer”.  Because of these principles I decided to start volunteering at the Austin Recovery Center in Buda, Texas where I was once a resident.  In January, 2017, I began leading meditation sessions with a group of women every Saturday.  Meditation and Yoga became integral parts of maintaining my sobriety and I felt the best way for me to give back was by sharing a part of my own daily practice. I was initially afraid that I had little to offer these women but something my Yoga teacher told me kept coming back to me; she said that “the best teachers are the best students.”

I chose to major in Engineering in College because my most trusted and supportive teachers were in math and science. A “pleaser” by nature and desperately wanting their approval, I decided to follow their dreams instead of my own.  I was not aware of my motives at the time, but I now realize that I decided straight A’s and an engineering degree would be the best way to gain everyone’s desperately needed approval.  I never once asked myself what I wanted because I felt my own desires were not commendable enough to merit respect and approval.  By aiming to please others, I denied myself at an early age the fulfillment that comes with following a path in accordance with one’s innermost passions. In 2001, after my first year of college, I quickly learned that going to school full time as an engineering student and working a full-time job was nearly impossible.  I decided to join the United States Navy for their highly-regarded Naval Nuclear program because of the training, large bonus and the GI Bill, which would secure my education in the future.  I was fortunate enough to earn my Bachelors of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology while still on active duty and, therefore, still had my GI Bill available to pursue further education.  I am very proud of my Navy experience and training and was honorably discharged from active duty in 2008.  Upon discharge, I decided, to go back to college to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering because it paired nicely with my Navy training.  After three years, I was miserable from struggling through the curriculum and raising my three-year-old.  It was then that I was offered a corporate recruiting job in my favorite American city, Austin, Texas.  I saw a way out of my current situation and immediately took the offer.  I endured feelings of shame and guilt for not finishing my electrical engineering degree, but I now realize it was because it was not something I truly wanted. In 2010, I moved to Austin and the stress of raising my son on my own with little support triggered my addictive behaviors.  I hid it for two years, but in 2012 my fiancé discovered that I had been hiding my drinking.  With his encouragement I agreed to enter a thirty day, inpatient treatment program because I no longer wanted the life I was living. However, at that time I had no clue as to the life I wanted to live.  I dedicated the next few years to therapy and maintaining my sobriety through a twelve-step program of recovery.  I found a passion for service work and helping others struggling with addiction. Only through working with others have I found a fully meaningful life, on professional as well as personal levels. Earning my degree in counseling will vastly augment the extent to which I am able to help others, the fruition of my own recovery.

The idea of becoming a certified counselor first crossed my mind while observing the counselors working with other women when I was in treatment. I was given the great advice of not pursuing any new profession until I had at least a year of sobriety.  As a result, I took a few years to focus on recovery and spent my time taking care of my kids and my home.  My desire to become a counselor has never wavered, however, and I still feel strongly that becoming a licensed therapist is the one profession where I will not only be of greatest service to others, but constantly inspired to continue to grow as well.  I see my own personal struggle with alcoholism and my continued experiences in recovery as an asset rather than something to be ashamed of.  My best therapists and counselors have been those who had once struggled with addiction and who continue to work on their own program of recovery.  In the beginning of sobriety, I often felt like: “I can’t do this.  I am not as strong as the countless women who have tried and succeeded.”  But then I thought of my counselor, remembering the stories she shared about her own recovery and I had hope that one day, just maybe, it could happen to me.  Hope is a powerful emotion and can inspire others when they feel they are too weak to carry on. Nothing lights me up as much as inspiring my clients with hope. I am a lifetime student of Counseling just as I am Yoga, continually learning something new about myself and passing on my experience to others.

I have a special research interest in incarcerated women with histories of drug and alcohol abuse.  According to an article written by Michelle Stanton-Tindall from the National Institute of Justice, “…a large number of women offenders, reported as high as 98%, have a history of substance abuse, and nearly half of incarcerated women indicate that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their offense.” (pg.1). I hear this statistic often and the same questions always cross my mind. I wonder if these women were provided with mental health care on an individual basis as well as group therapy, while incarcerated, this could expedite their successful reintegration into society upon release. I began to read widely about what little mental health care is provided to prisoners and how I, as a future mental health professional, might help society to better understand that these women are not inherently bad people, but rather victims who have been victims of unfortunate circumstances and that many if not most deserve a second shot at life. I want to contribute to lowering the recidivism rate for alcoholics and addicts released from prison. I keenly look forward to the methods employed by other countries in this regard. These questions continually come to mind when I meet people in recovery who have found themselves in and out of our prison system.

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Yoga and meditation are an integral part of my recovery.  For me as well as many others, just showing up to meetings and therapy sessions are not enough to heal and change.  I strongly believe that recovery is a holistic process regardless of what you are suffering from: addiction, anxiety, trauma, neglect, etc.  Treating the mind through therapy, the body through movement and nutrition, and the spirit through meditation, have all been necessary parts of my recovery.  Most people I know have heard of the mind, body, spirit connection, but feel it is all-too-often mostly a new-age fad talked about by women in coffee shops sporting over-priced Yoga gear.  Thus, as a researcher, I look forward to carefully investigating the concrete evidence that suggest that Yoga helps in the healing process and the most effective ways that therapists are incorporating Yoga into their practice.

One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”  Although I am not attempting to become a saint in this lifetime, I feel this quote applies to anyone who desires to make a difference, big or small.  I meet many people who feel they want to help improve society through activism and service, but fear that their small efforts will not be able to make much of a difference.  Every day I see how small efforts create miracles in the recovery community because of one addict or alcoholic helping another.  There is no elite group of individuals holding up the community.  The program only works because there are millions of people doing their small part by helping just one person at a time. 

I thank you for considering my application to Counseling at XXXX University.

 

References

Stanton-Tindall (2010).  Female Offender Drug Use and Related Issues.  National Institute of Justice. Retrieved January, 24, 2018 from: https://nij.gov/topics/drugs/markets/adam/documents/staton-paper.pdf

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