Psy.D. Program Graduate Profiles: Pauline Nelson

Pauline Nelson

Psy.D, Wright Institute (Dissertation title: "A Survey of Psychologists' Attitudes, Opinions, and Clinical Experiences with Animal Abuse")
BA, Hofstra University (Psychology)

Pauline was born and raised in New York, her father is an electrician and her mother is a homemaker. Pauline lives in Manhattan, does volunteer work with animal shelters, and enjoys ballet. She came to the Wright as a 24 year-old, having worked as an activity therapist with chronically mentally ill adults, and a dance and exercise teacher.

Current Work:
Pauline is a psychologist with the Child Study Center at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center where she provides psychotherapy for children with neurobehavioral disorders. She also works with their families, and provides testing, teaching and community outreach.

My work is intellectually stimulating and meaningful because I work with an underserved community - children with formerly undiagnosed disorders - and I help them turn their lives around.

The APA Internship:
Pauline completed her APA accredited internship at Lenox Hill Hospital where her training included individual, group and family treatment as well as cognitive, neuropsychology and personality assessment. She saw adults and youth in the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic while also completing a rotation in the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, and two rotations with the Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service.

I was treated with great respect at Lenox. They were dedicated to making sure I had a good internship experience.

Pauline also completed a half-time internship at John Muir Medical Center's Neuropsychology Department, where she assessed adults with head injuries and ran groups for patients in long-term rehabilitation.

These internships gave me a solid foundation in clinical practice, and a taste of many different career specialties so I could figure out where to focus my career. My hospital internships taught me about the interaction between physical and emotional health. The learning curve was incredible.

About the Wright:

I received excellent training at the Wright; the environment is really conducive to learning. The most influential part of my training was the Case Conference. Being in a small group of students led by Wright faculty and taking turns presenting clinical material from our practica, exposed us to each other's sites and how to work with different populations. So you learn from other practica vicariously, and you understand the many capacities in which psychologists work. I worked with chronically mentally ill adults in day treatment; other students worked with children, inpatient psychiatric units, or in drug rehab programs.

Her first year practica was at Sunset Mental Health, and in Project Sister Kin where she taught exercise and dance at a group home for girls. Her second year, she worked at University Counseling Services at Golden Gate University, counseling students with problems ranging from interpersonal issues to psychosis. Her third year practica was with Oaks Children's Center, providing therapy and testing with children experiencing a range of psychological disorders.

The practica provide real hands on experience. I learned about myself as a therapist, and began to understand effective interventions.

I liked the Wright faculty. They were experts in their specialties and cared about what they did, which really came across to the students. We felt very supported because they were dedicated to our education.

Wright's emphasis on social responsibility helped me harness my true career path. I learned that I could professionally and responsibly really do progressive work.