My name is Alyssa Choate and I am a first-generation college student at UNC-Chapel Hill from Charlotte, North Carolina. I am pursuing a bachelor’s of science in Psychology with a minor in Classical Humanities, focusing on Ancient Greece. The second semester of my freshman year, I was able to shadow the head psychiatrist of the Emergency Psychiatric Department, Dr. Angela Strain, and nurse practitioner Judith Evangelus. My time shadowing at the UNC Hospital gave me better insight into the inner workings of the emergency psychological field. I met patients with different mental disorders, sat in on a staff meeting regarding room availability for new patients, and observed the staff handle difficult mental health situations. During my junior year, I gained experience conducting research within the Department of Psychology at UNC. I conducted a conceptual replication study of the Pennycooke and Rand (2019) study on fake news susceptibility in relation to analytical thinking and wrote an APA 30-page paper about my research. At the same time, I also helped conduct a separate social psychology study on the effects that mental contrasting techniques and social anxiety have on perceived effectiveness of instructional techniques and active learning discomfort. In the future, I hope to attend graduate school and continue my education further to become a clinical psychologist to help treat adolescents suffering from mood, personality, and eating disorders.
This semester I am an intern at KKJ Forensic and Psychological Services, also called The Purpose Center, in Durham, North Carolina. The Purpose Center has a primary mission: to focus on specific problems that affect people’s daily lives and use evidence-based techniques alongside empathetic and warm counseling to help patients. The Purpose Center offers personalized therapy, psychological evaluations, various services, and educational workshops. Every member at the Purpose Center is highly accomplished and each offers a holistic and individualized approach to counseling that best serves their clients. Through the Purpose Center, clients can seek life coaching, individual therapy (for children, teens, and adults), couple’s counseling, family therapy, different psychological evaluations, divorce services, various forensic evaluations (including civil services, family law, and criminal evaluation services), and other psychological services.
As an intern, I am able to better understand the inner handlings within the world of psychological private practice and have taken on various projects. My mentors include Dr. Katrina Kuzyszyn-Jones and Dr. Julianne Ludlam who have expanded my knowledge and given me valuable experience about legal handlings, gathering research for professional presentations, and helping clients through real world psychological applications.
During my time as an intern, I researched and created a presentation on the Tarasoff v Regents of the University of California court case and the duty to warn. I focused specifically on interpretations of a psychologist’s duty to warn within the state of North Carolina. Within my research, I also discussed the duty to warn in relation to child abuse and instances where doctors are legally permitted to breach confidentiality. I am currently working on a nutrition presentation which discusses how specific eating habits and nutritional intake is biologically related to one’s emotional wellbeing. Another project I am working on is a coparenting workbook that will be digitally accessible to the Purpose Center’s clients who are going through a divorce with children. Currently, I am also writing a more in-depth paper from a legal standpoint on the duty to warn, including relevant court cases and specific state laws that psychologists and lawyers should consider when handling clients in the state of North Carolina. Lastly, I explain how psychologists can find a balance between patient confidentiality and their moral duty to warn. My experience at KKJ Forensic and Psychological Services has given me valuable knowledge about therapy treatments, psychological and forensic evaluations, the area where law and psychology combine, as well as the best way to help treat and provide informational sources to clients.