Back to School: How to Be the Best Advocate for Your Child

Shirly Ulfan with students at Aleph Bet Academy, a preschool she founded last year. Photo by Irene Ulfan-Coopersmith

 

It’s the start of a new school year. As a parent, you want to give your child every chance to succeed. But what’s the best way for you to help? How can you work with teachers and other school staff—who, let’s face it, see more of your child than you do—to make sure your favorite student is getting what they need?

FORDHAM magazine checked in with some alumni of the University’s Graduate School of Education—professionals who work with students ranging in age from preschool to high school—to ask them for some guidance. Here’s what they had to say.

Read the full story in Fordham Magazine.

The Route Most Troubled: Education Student Devoted to Trauma Victims

Esther Fingerhut never knew her older sister Joyce, but her death at age 8 from a brain tumor resonated with Esther nonetheless.

“She died before I was born, and seeing the impact on my family made me think about being involved in a profession that helps people coping with loss,” said Fingerhut, who is graduating with a doctorate in counseling psychology from the Graduate School of Education (GSE).

“I wanted to be the person who helped in that moment.”

Born and raised in Forest Hills, Queens, Fingerhut earned a bachelor’s in psychology at the University of Maryland, and began her graduate studies at Fordham in 2009. Under the guidance of Joseph Ponterotto, PhD, professor of counseling psychology, she completed her dissertation, “Consistency of Self-Reported Symptoms and Etiological Events of Afghan/Iraq War Veterans.”

Working at the Veterans Administration in Manhattan, she examined the screening tools the VA uses to assess whether veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She found that self-reporting measures like yes/no questions are unreliable because they fail to distinguish between traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and PTSD, which often has similar symptoms.

“You might have headaches and, because you hear about TBI in football, think [they’re caused] by that,” she said. “But it really was PTSD—because it was terrifying to lose consciousness in the middle of a war zone in Iraq.”

Read the full story at Fordham News.

PES Newflash

The PES Newsflash is a weekly news roundup from the Counseling and Counseling Psychology and School Psychology departments.

Student Presentations

Counseling Psychology doctoral student Shannon O’Neill had her qualitative research proposal accepted for presentation at the 2015 APA Conference:

  • O’Neill, S. (2015, August). The Exploration of a Therapist’s Culture and Work as a Rational Emotive-Behavior Therapist. Poster to be presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention in Toronto, Canada.

Student and Faculty Presentations

Counseling Psychology doctoral students Molly Brawer and Melda Uzun, in collaboration with Andrea Pratt, Alexandra Lamm, Dr. Merle Keitel, and Signe Simon, had their proposal accepted by APA Division 17 for presentation at the 2015 APA Conference.

  • Brawer, M., Uzun, M. S., Pratt, A., Lamm, A., Keitel, M., & Simon, S. (2015). Living with PCOS: A qualitative study of female college students. Poster to be presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention in Toronto, ON, Canada.

Counseling Psychology doctoral student Atara Wertentheil, in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Ponterotto, is excited to announce that their proposal, entitled “Exploring Marital Couples’ Career Interests and Relationship Dynamics: A Qualitative Study” has been accepted by APA Division 17 for presentation at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Eric Chen will be the Chair of a symposium at this year’s APA Convention, entitled:
“Building Group Therapy Trainees’ Multicultural Competencies through Difficult Dialogues.” Counseling Psychology doctoral students Leia Ting, Elena Kim, Hannah Wertz, and Andrea Pratt will also be contributing to this symposium.

Hanna Wertz, in collaboration with Dr. Eric Chen and Andrea Pratt, is pleased to announce that their presentation proposal entitled “Training Group Practitioners to Address Spirituality Issues in Group Therapy” has been accepted to the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Canada. This is part of a CE symposium entitled, “Building Group Therapy Trainees Multicultural Competencies through Difficult Dialogues.”

Leia Ting, in collaboration with Dr. Eric Chen and Counseling Psychology doctoral student Elena Kim, is pleased to announce that their presentation proposal entitled “Enhancing Group Therapy Trainees’ Competence in Addressing Microaggressions through Supervision” has been accepted to the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Canada. This is part of a CE symposium entitled, “Building Group Therapy Trainees Multicultural Competencies through Difficult Dialogues”

Elena Kim, in collaboration with Dr. Eric Chen and Counseling Psychology doctoral student Kali Rowe, is pleased to announce that their presentation proposal entitled “Facilitating Group Therapy Trainees Multicultural Competencies Development through Clinical Supervision” has been accepted to the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Canada. This is part of a symposium entitled, “Multicultural Skill Development in Group Psychotherapy.”

Student Accomplishments

Shannon O’Neill begins her tenure as the APAGS (American Psychological Association of Graduate Students) Fordham University Campus Representative (CR). As an APAGS CR Shannon will be a part of a network that is the heart of a subcommittee of APAGS, the Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT).

ACT is composed of psychology graduate students who primarily engage in legislative advocacy work on behalf of the science and profession of psychology, in the interest of individuals studying, researching and practicing psychology, and on behalf of individuals who are the recipients of psychological services.

In her duties as Fordham’s APAGS CR and ACT member Shannon will promote the welfare of graduate students and the vigor of the profession by their participation in legislative lobbying efforts. Additionally, she, along with APAGS-ACT, will represent all sub-fields of psychology equally in its legislative and advocacy efforts.

Lastly, Shannon will network to help facilitate the flow of communication between the APAGS Board and its constituents. Shannon is not only enthusiastic about her new role and working with the APAGS board, she is also excited about her opportunities to work with her Fordham colleagues and honored to represent you all in this nationally recognized position.

Alumni/Faculty Accomplishments

Congratulations to our Counseling Psychology and adjunct faculty member Dr. Angela Kang, who was interviewed and featured in a WNYC news story about treating children with serious emotional problems. Read and listen to the story.

“Reading, Writing and Psychotherapy: When Schools Step In” via WNYC

Angela Kang ’09, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, works as the Mental Health Director at P.S. 8 in the Bronx, as part of a clinic run by Montefiore Medical Center.

Recently, she was interviewed for “Reading, Writing and Psychotherapy: When Schools Step In,” part of WNYC’s Breaking Point: New York’s Mental Health Crisis series.

Last school year, Dr. Kang’s clinic saw about 60 students for 2,000 visits.

“The kids she sees are dealing with homelessness, losing a relative to violence or watching a parent struggle in an abusive relationship.

‘Our kids are witnessing things that they can’t really process and understand,’ Kang said. ‘And a lot of times our families, our parents, are not really being able to support their children through what they are seeing.'”

Listen below or read more about Dr. Kang, P.S. 8’s mental health clinic, and early detection for mental health issues.

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