Student Spotlight: Manny Sandoval
PhD clinical psychology student, Manuel Sandoval, or Manny, as many call him, is set to graduate next year. While at the recent RC (Residential Conference) we caught up with him and discussed his past work with the elder population and his present work at Palomar Health Center in Escondido, CA.
Manny’s initial focus was assessing job loss in older adults as a professional conservator in Los Angeles. “After receiving my BA from Hope College in Michigan, I enrolled in a two year program at USC for coursework to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP),” he says. “I always had a love for conservator work with the elderly population. I spent 10 years in the field taking care of elder client’s financials. In superior court I represented clients who were not able to take care of themselves due to dementia and other health related issues.”
When asked why he chose this combination of business and psychology, he says, “I worked with state and bond programs in the community for people who were disadvantaged. So I got involved in the economics and working with people. I found that economics and psychology went hand-in-hand because economic and personal well-being is related to one another. There was always a human element. Being human and helping people was a calling to me.”
At Palomar, Manny works in a locked, 25 bed facility, serving behavioral clients suffering dementia, major depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety.
“The people that we get are the most severe,” he says. “There are three requirements to be admitted into the facility: either the client is greatly disabled, suicidal or homicidal. They have to meet one of those items to be admitted to the facility.”
Manny teaches 10 classes a week as an intern at Palomar. “I do one-on-one therapy and teach two classes,” he says. “The Process Group is a group counseling class.” His second class, Wellness and Skills, is a class taught to clients ready for discharge.
Manny said that he has received a tremendous amount of knowledge while at Saybrook. “I switched from another school’s PsyD program to Saybrook. [The school] was cognitive/behavioral oriented. Though I thought it helpful, I found myself leaning more into humanistic values and approaches to therapy. Viktor Frankl, Rollo May and James Bugental were very instrumental to me in learning the humanistic existential model. I worked with Dr. Bonnie Burstein at LA Harbor College, which was my first internship while working on my doctorate. She was very instrumental in my pursuing Saybrook. I wanted more of the humanistic existential and I found a home.”
Manny enjoyed the RC and encourages current students to take advantage of the opportunities they offer. “Stay in touch with your instructors,” he says. “They have so much knowledge. The RC really is enriching on both academic and personal levels.”