situations” (as both patients and clinicians-in-training).
Programs also need to “set the climate and tone that says
seeking help is a strength,” says Douce, “and that it’s an ethical
thing to do to recognize when you need help and to seek it.”
She also suggests having mentors contact students if
something like a death or illness occurs. “They can check in
with them and say, ‘How are you doing? What do you need?
How can we help?’”
In addition, advises Norcross, psychology programs should
regularly audit how they are incorporating self-care and
humane values. Institutions need to “dispute the notion that
turning to personal therapy constitutes failure,” he says.
“We spend a lot of time trying to convince our patients of
that, but we don’t spend much time convincing our students of
Finding a balance
When Michael,* a postdoctoral research fellow in psychology,
was in graduate school, he lost both of his parents, two years
apart. His father died suddenly in 2011, while his mother
endured a protracted battle with cancer, dying in 2013. The
trauma led him to experience anxiety and panic disorder.
Michael says his program’s response was “absolutely
great.” While he didn’t arrange formal leaves or other
accommodations, his supervisors were flexible and allowed him
to work remotely when needed. He also received services from
the student counseling center, where his confidentiality needs
were automatically taken into account (he was assigned a senior
psychologist to limit exposure to people from his program).
Today he is still grieving, but has learned coping skills.
Among them, he says, are looking for something to be thankful
for each day — “If nothing else, today I can notice a beautiful
Also, he advises students in crisis not to isolate themselves,
but to seek social support and to “be willing to open up and
talk.” Michael, for instance, found one source of support to be
his mother’s friends.
His parents’ deaths have, he says, made him more humble,
more appreciative of what’s truly important in life, and more
able to enjoy the present.
George, meanwhile, tried to ease the stress he felt over his
brother’s addiction by playing hockey and frequently talking
to his faculty mentor, who helped him learn to reprioritize his
time, giving more emphasis to such goals as getting a good
night’s sleep over getting a great grade.
“The hardest part was being OK with Bs and B-pluses for
that semester,” George says. “It took a while to come to the
realization that it was OK to not get 100s, especially with what
was going on.”
While the crisis with George’s brother
has passed, its effects have altered how
he approaches school and life in general,
he says. He no longer focuses solely on
the perfect score, but rather on a bigger,
“I’m 100 percent changed in terms
of what I value,” he says. For example,
he now is working with clients and isn’t
reluctant to take extra time away from
his coursework to research treatments for
them — even if it means a slightly lower
His situation with his brother became,
in some ways, part of his education
as a therapist, he says. “It was a very
emotional experience — but looking
back on it, I grew from it and learned
Similarly, Clare Gibson found that her
mother’s death forced her to think about
“I think students can really grow from
these traumatic experiences,” Gibson
says. “They can use that significant life
event in a professional way.” n
Law and Psychology Resources from APA Books®
www.apa.org/pubs/books • 800-374-2721
APA Handbook of Forensic Psychology
• Volume 1: Individual and Situational Influences in Criminal and Civil Contexts
• Volume 2: Criminal Investigation, Adjudication, and Sentencing Outcomes
Editors-in-Chief Brian L. Cutler and Patricia A. Zapf
2015. 1,176 pages. Hardcover.
• Series: APA Handbooks in Psychology®
List: $395.00 | APA Member/Affiliate: $195.00 | ISBN 978-1-4338-1793-9 | Item 4311515
Using the MMPI– 2 in Forensic Assessment
James N. Butcher, Giselle A. Hass, Roger L. Greene, and Linda D. Nelson
2015. 349 pages. Hardcover.
List: $79.95 | APA Member/Affiliate: $54.95 | ISBN 978-1-4338-1868-4 | Item 4317362
Forensic Evaluation and Treatment of Juveniles
Innovation and Best Practices
Randall T. Salekin
2015. 271 pages. Hardcover.
List: $69.95 | APA Member/Affiliate: $49.95 | ISBN 978-1-4338-1934-6 | Item 4317364
The Psychology of Law
Human Behavior, Legal Institutions, and Law
Bruce D. Sales and Daniel A. Krauss
2015. 188 pages. Hardcover.
List: $69.95 | APA Member/Affiliate: $49.95 | ISBN 978-1-4338-1936-0 | Item 4316165