Su Li Lee, Psy.D., Class of 2012
“The greatest education I have received and continue to receive from IPS is precisely from simply being here, present to and with the community which is daily striving to live out its Christian vocation of love.”
The most recent IPS graduate to join the faculty, Dr. Lee brings her rich training in both the humanities and empirical psychology to the service of current students as well as to the clients in her practice.
“When I was asked to write about my experiences at IPS as a recently graduated alumna, I found it somewhat a struggle to complete this task.
Whirling through my mind were a plethora of memories, a strong sense of gratitude, nostalgia of student life never to be had again, and my current position as a faculty member in this Institute.
What was it at IPS that I had gained, I thought; or rather, what was it at IPS that I had not gained? Education? Check. Friendships? Check. An academic life? Check. A clinician’s life? Check. The list could go on, and indeed it does, yet perhaps what is most striking in my time here as a student, and now as a member of the faculty, is the sense of faith, hope, and charity thematic in the interpersonal relationships.
If clinical psychology is about the human person, and if the human person is about relationships generated as a gift of self to the other, then perhaps the greatest education I have received and continue to receive from IPS is precisely from simply being here, present to and with the community which is daily striving to live out its Christian vocation of love.
Being of Chinese descent and growing up in the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious country of Malaysia, I was exposed to much commonplace knowledge about human nature and psychology—primarily, that the human person is made to love and be loved, and although incidents in the past may hamper this reality, the person remains free to choose to overcome adversities in order to live well.
Blessed with a scholarship to come to the United States for an undergraduate education at Ave Maria University, this belief was further reinforced in the Catholicism which I encountered on campus, the philosophy I was taught, and the wonder of the natural sciences to which I was exposed.
I found myself drawn into the mystery of the human person…“LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!” (Psalm 144:3).
With the aspiration of understanding the human person more fully, I entered the field of psychology and moved to the United Kingdom for a graduate program in experimental psychology at a major English university.
It was there that I learned first-hand how bankrupt psychology becomes when it is divorced from the true nature of the person as the Catholic Church has understood it through the millennia.
The soul is anathema in the world of experimental psychology in which I found myself. At best, the spiritual dimension that is distinct and intrinsic to the human person was completely ignored; at worst, it was actively negated.
Despite the difficulties encountered in the empirical training I received, I gained from it both the positive knowledge of the utility of empirically-based psychological methods, and the invaluable realization of the dangers of reducing the human person to a thing that is studied through numbers and brain scans.
Because of my desire to understand the human person in all its facets, I came to IPS with the hope of integrating what I had learned in the pure sciences of undergraduate life, in the empirical study of psychology, and in the humanities of philosophy and classical languages.
I have not been disappointed.
On the one hand, no area of the empirical study of psychology is left unexplored by the philosophy and theology of the human person; on the other, both the philosophical and theological understandings of the human person are constantly enriched by the findings in experimental psychology.
I have found here a most fertile ground to integrate these seemingly divergent fields into a coherent whole; and this is only possible because academic freedom in this Institute is so vibrantly alive.
It is precisely the very mission of IPS to understand the human person—and therefore to offer ever better psychological care and support—that so profoundly enriches the training and education here.”
To view Dr. Lee’s faculty bio, please click here.
For more alumni testimonials, click here.