Approach to Mentoring Graduate Students

mentoring graduate students
When it comes to providing research mentoring to graduate students, I describe my approach as collaborative, developmental, and individualized. What follows is a brief description of what this looks like in application.

My approach is collaborative in that I believe that the research process is most effective when a lab model is utilized. Graduate students receive support around their thesis and dissertation research while also providing support and assistance to others in the lab. Students who are making progress on their thesis/dissertation work often have the opportunity to participate in collaborative team projects.

My mentoring approach is developmental in that I recognize that every graduate student enters the program with a unique background, comfort level, and skill set around research. Some have already had considerable research experience working in a variety of faculty labs; others have not. Thus, it is important that research training goals take students' previous research experiences into account and build on student strengths.

Finally, my approach is individualized around students' career goals. For example, a doctoral student hoping to pursue an academic career will need a different set of experiences than a master's student aiming to pursue licensure as a professional counselor. Thus, an important part of mentoring involves recognizing that each student will have somewhat different needs.

At the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, we utilize a lab model where I meet regularly with all students throughout the Fall and Spring academic semesters. These lab meetings allow students to be involved in idea development, strategizing research design, planning statistical analyses, troubleshooting problems, and dissemination. Senior graduate students are expected to take on a peer mentoring role to assist more junior graduate students, and some graduate students (especially those seeking academic careers) will be encouraged to train and mentor undergraduate research assistants.

Student success is a top priority and is critical to lab productivity. I strive to set clear expectations and challenge students to develop their research competencies and critical thinking skills. Similarly, I challenge myself to provide meaningful support and timely feedback. The guiding principle is that we work better when we work together and support one another.

Free Online Training in Military Culture for Health Care Providers

Seal of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (1989-2012)
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest provider of predoctoral internship training for doctoral students in psychology, and so it is no surprise that many of the doctoral students who have worked at the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab complete their internships at VA sites. We have a couple doctoral students who will be applying for VA internships in the next couple months, and some of our previous students are employed as psychologists in the VA system.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Employee Education System and Mental Health Services and the Department of Defense have made online training in military culture available at no cost for community health providers, including students in training. The course, Military Culture: Core Competencies for Health Care Professionals, is divided into four modules:

I found the training very informative, and I think it would be a great resource for students planning to work with veterans, especially those interested in VA internships.

Continuing education credits are available for licensed providers, and supplemental material is available from the Center for Deployment Psychology. It looks like the program is set to expire in early November, so do not procrastinate if this is something you'd like to do.

Students Complete Advanced Anger Management Training

After completing a round of basic anger management training last month focused on learning how to incorporate anger management techniques into individual counseling, several graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi continued their training today. Today's training focused on preparing students to implement Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills (CRCS; Deffenbacher & McKay, 2000), a brief evidence-based treatment for clinically dysfunctional anger.

CRCS is a structured multicomponent treatment in which clients learn to reduce their level of anger arousal through a variety of relaxation coping skills and cognitive restructuring. It is typically delivered in an 8-12 session package.

The students who completed today's training will have the opportunity to provide CRCS to clients in the Hattiesburg community seeking help with problem anger through the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic's anger management program.

Students Complete Basic Anger Management Training

On February 21, 11 graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi completed a live training designed to fulfill the basic anger management content component required for Certified Anger Management Specialist - I (CAMS-I) designation by the National Anger Management Association. The training was designed to provide students with basic information about anger and how to integrate evidence-based anger management interventions into their work with clients at the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic in Hattiesburg, MS.

Students who completed the training and go on to complete the supervision component will be eligible to apply for certification by the National Anger Management Association.

Anger Management Content Training Successful

On Friday, I held a training session for students in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi interested in learning to provide evidence-based anger management services. This was the first training I had offered since completing certification with the National Anger Management Association and revising my materials to be consistent with their standards. It went well, and it looks like we've got a few who are interested in pursuing certification too.

In order for those who are interested and attended on Friday to apply for certification as an Anger Management Specialist I, they will need to complete the required supervision component. I plan to work on setting this up for the students who are enrolled in practicum first, as they may begin working with angry clients right away.

We're planning to begin offering anger management classes through the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic too, as soon as I finish writing the treatment protocol.

Anger Management Training for Counseling Psychology Students

I am in the process of finalizing training materials based on a curriculum approved by the National Anger Management Association (NAMA). I plan to hold a training for students in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Southern Mississippi early in the Fall semester. This training is designed to satisfy the content portion of the requirements for certification by NAMA as an Anger Management Specialist I.

I hope to offer these trainings to a wider audience at some point; however, they will be limited to current students for the time being.