• Sophia Williams Kapten Portrait
    The New School for Social Research ’21

    PhD Clinical Psychology ’21, The New School for Social Research

    What are you working on now?

     I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at a private practice in the city, Therapists of New York. I see individuals and dyads—siblings and couples. Much of my work is helping my clients develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with themselves and their loved ones.

    When you started your program, what did you think you would be doing?

    When I started the program, I imagined that I would be a psychologist practicing therapy. Although I am doing broadly what I imagined I would be doing, I am compelled to add that my imagination for the future was a bit limited. Graduate school was a big deal for me. I am a first-generation college student and now the first in my family to hold a doctorate. I knew, on a surface level, what it meant to pursue my doctorate in psychology. However, I did not fully understand what career options would be available to me once I completed my degree and, subsequently, my licensing exam. Entering graduate school, I was not fully aware of the various settings where I could be of value. All I knew is that I wanted to learn how to be the best possible therapist.

    What was a new way of learning that you experienced at The New School?

    Primarily out of a real need for community, I learned and embraced an interdisciplinary approach while at The New School. I found mentors outside of my graduate school department who expanded the way I think about my field of study and inspired my interest in other fields. 

    I also learned in a very experiential way at The New School. First, doing therapy is the best way to learn therapy, so just by being a student in my program, I came to recognize the value of learning through experience. This is also the way in which I learned to teach. While I recognize there is a science to teaching that is important to study as well as practice, it was at The New School that I taught my first course and developed my voice as an instructor and public speaker. Again, at The New School, I learned through experience, which has contributed in very meaningful ways to the scholar and clinician I am today. 

    How did that change your way forward?

    I am likely a much more eclectic therapist as a result. For example, not only do I reference psychological theory and practice in thinking about and practicing my work, but I also integrate insights from fiction authors, historians, anthropologists, poets, and filmmakers. The language and perspective I bring to my work may be hard to label; that is largely because I have been so greatly influenced by such a diverse array of creators. 

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

    In short, I want to create. I want to learn more, and I want to help generate discussion. I want to contribute to psychological research and knowledge, and I want to support my clients in their creative processes,which for me is what life is all about. I can say that my interests in teaching and practicing therapy are well established. My hope is to continue to grow in these ways. I am also interested in program development and evaluation, so perhaps there is a consultative role I can serve in the future as well. I also hope to support graduate students and early-career psychologists in a mentorship or supervisory capacity. I do not take the work of supervision lightly, so that is another skill set that, within the next five years, I hope to develop.

    How do you want to leave your mark on the world?

    Liberation. I want to help as many people as possible feel liberated—which for me means to make contact with as many people as possible and let them speak their heart and their spirit and truly experience what it is like to have their truth received with open arms. 

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