Jodette Rodriguez talks about her experiences with the Master's Program in Mental Health Counseling and the IMH-DP program.

My name is Jodette Rodriguez. I was born and raised on Long Island. I received my B.A. in Psychology from CUNY Brooklyn in 2011. After graduating with my B.A., I began working as an intake specialist at a personal injury law firm while I took some time to determine what route I wanted to take with my degree and where I could use my skills and strengths to help others. During this time, I had a daughter who is now three years old. Through my work at the law firm where I essentially provide client customer service, the knowledge that I gained from my bachelor’s degree and from being a mother, it became clear to me that I wanted to work with individuals in a clinical setting as a therapist particularly with children. To start this next part of my journey, I began the Master’s Program in Mental Health Counseling at Adelphi University in Fall 2016. During my program orientation, Marcy Safyer spoke to us about the Infant Mental Health-Developmental Practice (IMH-DP) program in which she was a director. It was then that I knew that I was in the right place.

I began the IMH-DP program after completing one year of the mental health counseling program. The IMH-DP staff welcomed my cohort with open arms, emphasizing the level of support that was available to us. I have also been blessed with such incredible people in my cohort who I am lucky to have by my side through such an awakening experience. The coursework is insightful, elicits self-reflection, and is very challenging, yet it is manageable even for a working mother with the help of tremendous family support. Through it all, I have developed a newfound appreciation for parenting, for children, for myself and people in general. In learning to understand child behavior and development, I can better understand adult behavior which will be valuable not only in my professional work but in most aspects of life.

As I have reached the midpoint of the IMH-DP program and think about my professional future, I hope that I can work not only with children but also with pregnant women. Although I enjoy working with children and their parents in a dyadic setting, I would also love the opportunity to provide prenatal mental health services to expecting parents. Providing services during pregnancy has been found to significantly impact postnatal development which is an area that I hope to explore further in my career. I still have the second half of the program as well as another year of the mental health counseling program to figure out exactly where I would like to be in the future and I am looking forward to the rest of my journey.

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