CEBS Student Spotlight: Dane Adkins
- Thursday, November 11th, 2021
Name: Dane Adkins
Major: Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology
What year are you in the program? I am in the 5th year of the program.
Hometown: I was born in Lexington, KY, but spent much of my adolescence in Knoxville, TN.
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him or They/Them
Why did you choose WKU’s PsyD in Applied Psychology program?
I chose this program for a variety of reasons: I have been at WKU for many years and have family in Bowling Green for whom I wanted to provide support. However, the primary reason I chose WKU’s PsyD program is that it offers the ability to work as a licensed professional while also attending classes. The classes are at reasonable times, allowing students to work toward professionalization while completing their coursework. This is something that not many programs let you do; WKU’s PsyD program is progressive and ahead of the curve in this way. The staff understand the students’ need to have a stable source of income! Additionally, all the program’s staff have been extremely understanding, helpful, and supportive of all the students. I have never interacted with faculty that go out of their way to help students like the WKU PsyD staff.
What key activities/organizations have shaped your WKU experience?
I have worked as a part of Dr. Redifer’s Attention and Memory lab, which has been most excellent. Dr. Redifer has been a mentor to me throughout much of my undergrad and graduate career. Joining the lab helped me be a better researcher and consumer of other published studies. Additionally, it gave me hands on experience in conducting research, data entry, and analyzing and interpreting data.
How have you already applied what you are learning?
I’ve been applying what I learn since my first day in the program. Whether it be in consuming/producing research (i.e., my dissertation) or seeing clients, I’m applying my learnings on nearly a weekly basis. It’s actually quite astounding in that it seems that I’ll learn something one week and use it at work with my clients. Moreover, all the course material elaborates and expands on information I accumulated in undergraduate and previous graduate coursework. Everything I’ve learned has been extremely relevant and applicable to the profession! I also learned a lot about myself, too. I have been using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with my clients for a few years; however, after taking an advanced psychotherapy course taught by Dr. Grieve, I learned that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) resonates with me much more and aligns with my values.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to see clients full time for therapy and assessment while also having some additional time to spend with my family. More than anything, I enjoy working with clients who are in their late adolescence/early adulthood. I would love to continue seeing clients within this age range while being able to practice ACT.
What experience(s) have you had during your years as a WKU student that have helped or is helping you prepare for a career after graduation?
One of the experiences that has helped me the most involves my job at the WKU Counseling Center. I’ve been working with the WKU Counseling Center for a little while now, and I have learned a great deal about the profession, about working with clients, and about myself. I have loved working with the amazing staff there and have had an amazing opportunity to see clients and benefit from a full case load. It has not been easy, but it has helped me identify my strengths and areas for growth, as well as clarified my long-standing career goals.
Another immensely helpful experience is Dr. Grieve’s supervision and advanced psychotherapy courses. I really enjoyed receiving supervision and working with him, as he has allowed me to practice psychotherapy/assessment with clients while also helping me learn from my mistakes. He also introduced me to ACT. After much reflection, discussions with staff/supervisors in the PsyD program and at the Counseling Center, and a lot of practice, I determined that ACT is a style that suits me and resonates with me more than CBT. It has helped me better identify my values and make value-congruent decisions. Practicing ACT has also led me to some of the most meaningful moments that I have had with my clients.
What has been the best part of your WKU experience? Why?
The best part of my WKU experience is seeing the progress I’ve made personally and professionally. With the help of my supervisors and professors, I can truly see the improvements in my clinical work and application of my psychotherapeutic orientation. It has been immensely important for me to see how I have grown in these areas, especially since imposter syndrome seems like a trademark trait of most graduate students.
Additionally, being a member of Dr. Redifer’s lab has been one of the best experiences that I have had as a student at WKU. I have learned so much from Dr. Redifer and other members of the lab over the years. It has been a vital part of my academic experience.
Are there any life experiences that impacted you in your pursuit of obtaining this degree that you would like to share?
Life has been extremely difficult and challenging in a variety of ways. The COVID-19 pandemic also has not helped. I’ve been isolated from family members that mean so much to me because I don’t want to take any chances that I could negatively impact them. This stress, coupled with the generalized stress that comes from needing to make ends meet (e.g., rent, food, self-care, personal time, socializing with peers) has made schoolwork challenging at times. However, this has also been an important lesson for me and helped me clarify and assert my boundaries in a healthy way – one that helps me take care of myself, and helps me manage my academic and occupational responsibilities efficiently and to the best of my ability.
What advice do you have for future PsyD students?
Beyond refining time-management skills, I recommend that students use the resources they have at their disposal. Also, communicate with your supervisors, cohort, professors, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
I’ve also learned that when something makes you anxious, that means it’s important and should be addressed, not avoided. If you don’t want to watch a video for supervision because you’re embarrassed or scared, that means it’s vitally important to address with your supervisors and peers. It’s a learning opportunity. If you can share those vulnerable moments with your supervisors, you will learn so much. These are the lessons that I have learned (and am still learning) that have been most helpful.