“I wanted to become a psychologist in order to help people break free of the chains of mental illness and experience joy and peace. I consider it a personal mission to help others understand their own intrinsic worth in the face of psychological struggle and doubt.”

Please tell us a little bit about your background.

I earned my B.S. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky (UK) in 2014, with minors in Neuroscience and Business. After entering college, I became intensely interested in psychological processes and the impact of psychological illness on human life. A person’s psychology is a huge part of who they are; it impacts the spiritual realm, relationships, and personal calling and happiness. I wanted to become a psychologist in order to help people break free of the chains of mental illness and experience joy and peace. I consider it a personal mission to help others understand their own intrinsic worth in the face of psychological struggle and doubt.

What attracted you to IPS?

I was ultimately attracted to IPS because the school addresses that and has implemented the integrative model for training that strives to encounter every aspect of a human person (spiritual, physical, vocational, psychological etc). It’s a beautiful model that integrates Catholic truth about God’s love for us and our calling in this world with empirically supported evidenced-based psychological practices. I love it here and I am so thankful for this opportunity.

Coming from a secular undergraduate program, I can personally attest to how different the IPS model is from secular training in psychology. Modern psychology often utilizes a medical model approach, treating clients as patients with diseases and focusing on symptom reduction and returning the client to “health”. Often times, this “health” is simply a return to the same state the client was in before the therapy. The IPS model looks at the person as a creation of God with a purpose in life, a need for relationship, and capacities and strengths that can strengthen them to follow their calling and flourish in life.

How does IPS differ from your previous training?

In my experience, my training at UK and IPS differs drastically in focus, themes, and appreciation for personhood. I loved my time at UK and I learned much about the latest theories and therapeutic models in psychology, but IPS offers an integrated model that allows me to incorporate my faith and calling with the client’s faith and calling into our therapeutic relationship.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future include becoming a licensed therapist. Ideally, I’d like to work with married couples and families, and eventually to open my own private practice.

What advice would you like to pass on to prospective students?

All prospective students: Pray and talk to God about if this is the right place for you because graduate school is incredibly busy and it is hard work. Once you’ve decided to come here, though, trust that God’s got you and wants to help you succeed and flourish. Trust Him and His voice. Peace and joy to you in your decision.

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The son of immigrant parents, doctoral student Gabriel Somarriba, M.S., welcomes the opportunity to use his training at the service of the Church.

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Fr. Joseph Tatro, M.S.

My priestly work made it clear to me that there is an urgent need to combine the spiritual and psychological in order to truly serve in our wounded culture.

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Katy Malley

I often find myself asking how it is possible that all of these incredible professionals are in one place? The mission and vision of IPS so clearly attract quality clinicians and researchers who wish to shape this field for the good.

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Claudia Zohorsky, M.S.

The emphasis of the school to rigorously prepare students for clinical practice, coupled with the mentorship model of the faculty and welcoming culture of IPS, is truly an exceptional combination.

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Student Testimonials

Just a few reasons students choose IPS to pursue their vocation to heal…

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