Margaret Laracy, Psy.D., Class of 2011
“At IPS, I saw the possibility of overcoming the split between faith and work, which is so common in our modern world. Equally important, IPS met my desire for strong clinical training.”
As the first graduate to join the IPS faculty, Dr. Laracy is forming future alumni while also engaging in clinical work part-time.
From early on in your academic career you had an interest in psychology. What path did you pursue to bring you to where you are today?
I did my undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame where I declared my major in psychology right off the bat. The clinical praxis of psychology had long appealed to me. Not only did I like the idea of accompanying others through difficulties toward a more fulfilling life, but I was particularly struck by the way in which psychological problems can obstruct human freedom and flourishing.
Nonetheless, I wasn’t satisfied by the empirical approach in psychology. Often I found that the questions I had about the human person and mental health could not be adequately addressed by the methods of the contemporary discipline.
I felt myself attracted to other disciplines, especially theology and philosophy, which provide access to the rich texture of our human nature.
As I approached the question of graduate studies, I was uncertain. I knew it would be important to get solid clinical training and I wanted to have the possibility to teach and engage in scholarly work.
At the same time, I wanted to be in an environment where I could consider anthropological issues that are not susceptible to empirical research, drawing out the implications of a Catholic vision of the person in my clinical work.
I interviewed at and considered attending several graduate programs, and I appreciated the quality research and training offered at other institutions, but the program at IPS was totally distinct.
I was drawn to the idea of being in an intellectual community that thinks from within the Church. At IPS, I saw the possibility of overcoming the split between faith and work, which is so common in our modern world.
Equally important, IPS met my desire for strong clinical training. I had varied externships, working in the IPS outpatient training clinic, a Catholic elementary school, and an inner city hospital.
I just completed my pre-doctoral internship at an APA-accredited consortium called the Chicago Area Christian Training Consortium. Situated primarily in an outpatient setting at the Outreach Community Counseling Center, I worked with a varied population, often serving the poor in the community.
Not only did I have excellent clinicians to follow on internship, but I saw embodied in this agency the Catholic social principle of subsidiarity.
I have been pleased with my training experiences and my IPS education prepared me for the challenges I faced on externships and internship.
I am excited now to be coming back to IPS as an assistant professor.
I plan to do clinical work part-time, and I look forward to educating future psychologists and therapists. This combination of teaching and clinical work will be a great fit for me.
In my first year, I’ll be teaching Law, Ethics, and Psychology, and I will co-teach Group Psychotherapy with Dr. Philip Scrofani. I am looking forward to partnering with Dr. Scrofani, who taught me a lot during my years as a student at IPS.
I’ll have the opportunity to teach a practicum class as part of the M.S.-Plus program throughout the year, and in the spring I’ll also teach a course on cultural and religious diversity in clinical practice.
I look forward to meeting and working with the new students who choose to join in the mission of IPS. I am grateful for what I have received thus far and I anticipate the adventure ahead!
To view Dr. Laracy’s professional bio and curriculum vitae, click here.
For more alumni testimonials, click here.