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Anne Vanderlaan PhdMFA

Artist's Profile

We all have questions regarding who we are and where we are going, which John Dewey defined as “the progressive organization of subject matter” in Democracy and Education (1916, p. 6). Coming from a Mexican heritage, my family members settled in Fountain Valley, California, as farm workers. Advanced education was not common among them until my mother earned a nursing degree, paving the way for my educational aspirations. Now, preparing to pursue my next educational challenge, I realize that my ability to overcome obstacles—both real and imagined—will equate to positive change for me and those around me.

Psychology and art have long been my passions. I earned my associate of arts degree from Seattle Central, my bachelor of science degree from Southern Utah University, and my master of fine arts degree from a distance program through Goddard College. In my master’s degree program, I studied the theories of Carl Jung and defended my thesis focused on symbolic meanings that are universal throughout various cultures. Seeking to pass on my love of education to my children and foster children, I wrote a poetry legacy to them, exploring ways to make life more meaningful and happy.

As I progress in my professional role, I will draw upon my practicum work in Mexican orphanages, conducting workshops and collaborating on murals, as well as my work as an outreach instructor with students for whom English is a second language. I have used my expertise to offer invaluable workshops for many populations in need for sponsoring organizations including the American Cancer Society, the Salvation Army for Battered Women, Habitat for Humanity, and the Dot-to-Dot Artist in Residency program in Mexico. I have also organized and planned several relief projects for third-world countries.

            Education is my greatest accomplishment as seeking and learning enable us to find and truly live. Described as a listener, others have found solace in me—a safe place to open “inner doors” and release their souls. However, determining my professional path has not followed the traditional course. I am currently enrolled in a master’s program in clinical mental health where I have completed all my course work, having switched from Union’s Psy D program—a currently non-APA accredited program—because I realized that the program did not meet my needs and required extensive travel at an enormous cost. Luckily, I have benefited from the master’s program and find the professors to be accessible and knowledgeable professionals who have been wonderful mentors. I am currently in my dissertation of a doctoral program with Saybrook University.

            My education has also offered me numerous opportunities. For example, I have completed almost 1,600 hours working at the State of Idaho Mental Health in Pocatello and Blackfoot, Idaho. I have been extremely impressed with my supervisors and the didactic trainings I have received, despite the 4-hour drive to my internship site. I have also been extremely successful in conducting therapy with challenging clients. My weakness is that have a hard time leaving my clients’ problems in the office. In addition, I collaborating in publishing a child development book that was published this year—an important accomplishment for me. I served as an APA ambassador, meeting my mentors face to face, and an IPA and NASAP ambassador. Four of my poster presentations have been accepted, and I was able to attend three. I was also approached to be a student editor for NASAP. I have also published over 15 chapters in a child development book.

            Teaching has been a lifelong passion; it is now time to make it my life’s work to be a teacher and a therapist. I seek to use my gifts to provide clients with a greater understanding of how to effectively intercommunicate. I have learned appropriate test procedures to evaluate clients and enable me to effectively counsel people from various backgrounds and cultures. This has been a learning experience as well as another form of teaching Many steps are required for good values to replace bad behaviors; however, a successful process could have global implications for the good of all people. In teaching art, this is a process to help students find creative ways of expression and to learn various mediums to help with all other aspects of their lives. This combination of psychology and art walk hand in hand in helping people find their place in life.



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