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Counseling Center intern Angelica Soto shares her experience working with students during pandemic

By Emma Radel, Copy Editor

Angelica Soto’s career at Canisius began last spring, when she accepted a position as a doctoral intern for the school’s counseling center. The coronavirus has had disastrous effects on most people’s mental health, and Soto’s experience at the counseling center has been shaped by the year’s challenges. “The first place you have an opportunity to conduct therapy leaves an impression, almost like someone walking over wet cement,” she said.

Soto’s education began at UB, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by a master’s degree in higher education. After three years working at a small, liberal arts college in the Adirondacks, Soto made the transition to a position at a local agency, where she spent four years assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. It was there that she saw the need for mental health services and felt compelled to be a part of it. Soto then applied to a Ph.D. program at UB in order to become a psychologist.

Soto described her experience conducting therapy at Canisius — her first of several interning positions before her doctoral program is complete — as unique and overwhelmingly positive. “I have loved getting to know the students and working with the amazing counseling center staff,” she said. Now that her year-long internship has concluded, Soto will soon be performing personality assessments and providing therapy at ECMC Psychiatric Inpatient.

She also spoke on the difficulties and valuable moments of her career so far. One of her main complications, she said, has been leaving work at work. “The caring doesn’t stop just because the clock hits 5:00 p.m.,” she said. She described her work as rewarding, especially the Oprah-style “aha” moment when, “a client realizes their own power and potential.”

In her closing notes, Soto thanked her colleagues at the counseling center and offered advice for students, especially those considering a career path similar to hers. “I cannot say enough good things about Mike, Charita and Eileen. They are so dedicated and care so much,” she said. To those considering therapy as a profession but who are hesitant at the idea of completing more school, Soto said not to be scared away if it is truly what you want to do. The time, she said, will pass anyway.

She also encouraged students who are struggling in any way to reach out to the counseling center. Soto closed with, “This will be one of the only times in your life you have access to therapy without having to pay out of pocket at each visit. Take advantage of that!”

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