Josh Kalman, M.S.
“I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, in a conservative Jewish family. After 23 years of living a more or less secular life, while celebrating the occasional high holidays with family, I felt drawn to seek a deeper meaning to life.
Being diagnosed with epilepsy since high school forced me to confront the reality of my mortality, and I grew in my desire to know God.
Having a very vague — and that’s being generous — idea about who Jesus is, I started asking questions and having long discussions about Jesus with my mom.
I ended up following my mother’s lead into the Catholic Church seven years after she reverted to the faith. I have been Catholic for three and a half years.
In 2008, while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I began to volunteer at the Missionaries of Charity in Washington, DC.
Assisting many of the men who were suffering from schizophrenia, and who had no family to support them, influenced me to pursue a career in clinical psychology. Working alongside the sisters and other volunteers, giving assistance to the “poorest of the poor”, has helped me understand the great need for Catholic psychologists.
Why did you choose IPS to earn your advanced degree?
IPS wasn’t my first choice for my graduate degree. I thought that going to a secular university with all the bells and whistles, and reputation was going to give me what I wanted.
So what did I want out of a graduate school of psychology? Once I started asking that question, I realized that IPS had more to offer than any of these other schools.
After taking numerous courses in psychology that treated religion and truth as something that is purely a personal experience, I began to see where the secular schools are lacking. I decided that I wanted to go to a school where religion is not taboo, and where the students and faculty are focused on the whole person.
What qualities of IPS do you appreciate the most?
I appreciate the support and charitable attitude of both the students and the faculty.
Since I had never taken philosophy or theology, the course material is a bit intimidating. But the whole class has come together, each with his or her strengths, to help each other learn the material. I would not be able to do this on my own.
The faculty is obviously committed to their students, and above all else to God. Beginning each class with a prayer sets the tone for a learning experience that is both rigorous and supportive.
Any advice you would like to pass on to prospective students considering studying at IPS?
I would tell any prospective student that these are the most challenging courses I have ever taken. And yet, I have enjoyed every minute of it.
The one thing I would recommend to the psychology majors is to brush up on philosophy and theology, but even without any prior experience, if you’re determined to succeed, you’ll be fine.”