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Careers in Psychology Student Interview Series: Meet Ailema Frigerio, PsyD, LMHC - by Luis Garcia

The Careers in Psychology Student Interview Series features interviews conducted by Albizu University students of professionals currently working in the field of psychology. The interviews are part of the Careers in Psychology course taught by Professor Yamila Lezcano.

My name is Luis Garcia and I am in my sixth and final semester for my Bachelors of Science Degree in General Psychology here at Albizu University. During my studies, I have met many faculty and staff members. Every one of my classes has been interesting and challenging, and my experience has been superb. During my fifth semester I completed a course called “Careers in Psychology,” taught by Professor Lezcano, who has been very supportive and helpful in all my endeavors. One of the assignments was to interview a professional currently working in the field of psychology to better understand the path the professional had taken to achieve their career goals.

My interview was of Ailema Frigerio, PsyD, LMHC. I chose Dr. Frigerio because I had previously taken her ethics course here at AU and I admired her professionalism, charm, and willingness to help and be accessible to her students. I felt at ease in her class and that I could approach her about any of my concerns relating to the assignments. Here are some excerpts from that interview.

Ailema Frigerio, PsyD, LMHC

How did you decide to go into your current field?
I was actually mentored into academics by one of my doctoral professors. While I am a psychologist and a mental health counselor, I found a passion in mentoring and advising students.

What is the title of your current position?
Assistant Director of Clinical Training for the PsyD program and an Associate Professor at Albizu University.

What training and credentials are needed for your position?
The position requires a license in psychology, knowledge of American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation guidelines, experience in teaching and mentoring, and program development.

Where did you go to school?
I received my BA in Psychology from FIU and my MS and PsyD degrees from Albizu University.

What skills did you acquire through experience that you didn’t learn in school?
While universities will teach you techniques, you can only gain knowledge in individual strengths through experience. I learned how to focus on the individual strengths of my students and mentor them accordingly through my years in the position.

What are the best features of your job? What are the worst?
I love to mentor students into the profession of psychology through selecting practicum sites that will refine their training. I also love teaching students and providing them with knowledge to grow in the field. The worst aspect of the position is the administrative paperwork. This is, unfortunately, an aspect of most mental health and psychology careers, no matter how lengthy.

What are some of the pressures and stressors you face in your job?
Most of the stressors come from the responsibility to train the students in the program to become exceptional professionals who are compassionate towards their patients. Also, client care when a student is providing services to a patient is also of concern as the Assistant Director of Clinical Training.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you can give to a student?
Engage in a career that you love! While any position will have its challenges, if you love what you do, these challenges are more tolerable and you will be creative in your position.

What was your biggest misconception about your profession?
That psychologists only work in the mental health field. There are many different avenues open to psychologists, including in academia.

What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
I wish I would have known about the various subspecialties within the field of psychology, such as pediatric health psychology or juvenile forensic psychology.

What do you think the future holds for this field?
Psychology is so diverse and it has a wide variety of areas that are still untapped. I think with the advent of technology, psychology will be able to reach a wider audience and provide greater assistance to those in need.

I want to thank Dr. Frigerio for allowing me to interview her. It has helped me to understand that there are many subspecialties within the field and that I should research the ones that interest me before embarking on my Master’s Program. It also gives me hope that this field has a bright future with lots of potential.

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