Conrad Burbank, a first-year master’s student recently accepted to the Psy.D. program, draws on his experience as a student-athlete in undergrad to manage the rigors of IPS.
“Although I was born and raised in Reno, NV, I had the unforgettable experience of attending Montana State University (MSU) as a student-athlete.
From the Fall of 2007 through the Fall of 2011, I was blessed to receive a full scholarship to play football at MSU. My undergraduate years were filled with the all-consuming combination of academics and football, and I dedicated myself to the tireless pursuit of excellence in both of these arenas.
Playing football also was character building. My four years as a starter on the offensiveline instilled leadership, discipline, hard work, and resiliency. The lessons I learned on the field are aptly summed up by the cliché phrase, “When you get knocked down, you must get back up again.”
Although I literally experienced this in football, I’ve learned that applying it in life is even more important. Life brings so many challenges that have the potential to knock me down. Instead of quitting or giving up, I push myself to persevere when adversity strikes.
When did you develop an interest in psychology?
My interest in the field of psychology began during my freshman year of college and continues to this day. The more psychology classes I took as an undergrad, the more fascinated I became with the human mind and human behavior.
For me, psychology became a natural interest and I viewed every psychology class I took as a great opportunity to learn a new aspect of the human mind and spirit. The deeper I delved into psychology, the more I wanted to apply it in a practical way to help people.
Before beginning my studies at MSU, I attended Catholic grade school and high school where the importance of God in education was strongly emphasized.
My college experience, however, was radically different; it was hard to find God and my Catholic faith in my educational experience, most notably in psychology.
When God was never mentioned in any of my psychology classes, it was easy for me to wonder if somehow God was separate from clinical psychology. Was there not enough room for God to fit into psychology?
The more I thought about this question, the clearer things became. God is the most important piece to the practice of clinical psychology. Who knows humans better than God? God made man in His own image and knows what will ultimately lead to happiness.
What has your experience been like at IPS?
My experience at IPS has been wonderful. I’ve found IPS to be the missing link in my search for how God and psychology connect.
In my classes, I see firsthand how IPS’s psychological framework (the IPS Model) creates the needed structure for clinical psychologists to better understand and heal people with psychological problems.
IPS embraces Catholic teachings and recognizes that people are much more complex than any one psychological framework. Secular psychology tends to reduce humans to their behaviors or cognitions and neglects to see the wholeness of the human person.
In addition, it has been a real blessing to be at a school where both the students and the faculty share core Catholic values. IPS’s students and faculty are also unique in that they come from various backgrounds and cultures.
IPS creates a loving and welcoming environment where Catholic morals are shared and individual differences and perspectives are valued and embraced.
Once you earn your Psy.D., what are your professional plans?
After my time here at IPS, I aspire to to open my own practice and apply the wisdom and skills offered by IPS to help those who suffer from psychological problems. I am excited to be an instrument God can use to better people’s lives and increase their well-being.
My advice to prospective students is Come and visit! Come meet the faculty, staff, and students, and get a taste of what IPS has to offer. Come see for yourself!