HRSA Project TeamUP Alumni Spotlight: Sukhpreet Kaur

HRSA Project TeamUP Alumni Spotlight: Sukhpreet Kaur

My name is Sukhpreet Kaur, I am a third year student in the Clinical Mental Health Program, and will be graduating in Spring of 2021. Right now I am completing my practicum experience at Sober Life Recovery Solutions in downtown San Diego working with people 18 years+ with substance use disorders, opioid use disorders, and co occurring mental health disorders. Sober Life serves a diverse variety of people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. Sober Life is one of the few treatment centers that have sober living opportunities with sober houses in different pockets of San Diego.

At Sober LIfe, my experience has been very educational and eye opening. I’ve gained a lot of experience learning techniques for treating specific disorders, in addition to a lot of knowledge about the interaction between medication and treatment. Because of the nature of the treatment, I’ve also learned a lot about working with insurance- its advantages, limitations, and how to conduct thorough documentation.

I feel my courses and professors have trained and prepared me for my practicum experience and my overall career beyond this program. As a result, I’ve felt I can shut down feelings of imposter syndrome as I take what I learn in class and directly apply it to my work with clients. Faculty has been very supportive and demonstrated their investment in my growth. I talk to Dr. Hall and DCam a lot, because they are caring while also telling it like it is. My professors have given me insight into the real world of counseling and don’t sugar coat the challenging reality. Overall, I feel lucky to be in this program.

As a first generation student, a grant like this has been very helpful since I don’t have family to fall back on for support. This has provided me with so many resources that I can now pass onto others who need resources and information. Being an OWEP stipend recipient, I’ve already attended a number of workshops and seminars that have added more knowledge to my toolbox. Most recently, I attended the Mental Health America Conference where I discussed the impact of global crisis situations, like the one we’re currently facing, and how to address it in treatment. I attended sessions around racism and how to practice advocacy in our work. This grant is allowing me to simultaneously grow as a professional and a student.

Looking towards post grad life, I am considering working at a rehabilitation center in the Bay area, which is my home. I’m looking for and researching centers and community resources available to take on an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor next year. A big focus of mine is multiculturalism and ultimately I want to bring this treatment to underserved ethnic groups. Many groups of people are left out of research and conversations about substance use. My own community, the Indian community, is currently facing a “war on drugs”, specifically in Punjab. In the long term future, I want to take my work international and provide education about mental health, substance use, and holistic treatment for addiction.

To prospective students, I would suggest really getting to know the program you’re applying to: the courses, resources, and opportunities available to you. It’s important to figure out what the community and environment look like and not just the classes, as the environment is a large part of this experience. I’d also suggest getting to know your faculty because they are there to support you and just as invested as you are! Grab any and all opportunities to conduct research with a professor, get involved in community service, and attend workshops and seminars.

begin quoteIt’s important to figure out what the community and environment look like and not just the classes, as the environment is a large part of this experience.
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