Liz Schreiber, Psychology

Photograph of Liz Schreiber

Liz Schreiber

Psychology Student

“I think we bring who we are to what we do in life,” says Liz Schreiber, “whether it’s business or education or medicine. I wanted an education that would challenge my intellect while it also broadened my personal growth, pushing me to look at things in a different perspective.”

Liz has worked as a counselor in several different organizations, and thought she had the training she needed to make a difference that the world needed. But she discovered that conventional psychological training is only really effective in conventional situations – and those weren’t the kind she wanted to address.

“I was working with middle-school children who had one or both of their parents in prison, and these kids didn’t even know how affected they were, at this crucial age, by the choices their parents and society had made for them,” she says. “I think that was the beginning of my trying to see the whole picture – not just seeing a child as being diagnosed with ADHD or with a learning disability, but to see beyond that diagnosis and what might be contributing to it.”

Too often, she says, “we were helping impoverished individuals, but not looking at what caused that poverty, or the cycle of it. So I decided that I needed not just to understand individuals, but their environments, and how people could move on from one set of environments into a set of healthier ones.”

That’s why she came to Saybrook to get an MA Psychology degree with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy.

“I’ve found the professors to be open and I was definitely mentored,” she says. “After I graduated I passed the licensing exam on my first try, and that's really a credit to some of my faculty, who pushed me.  But I got so much more out of it.  I did my undergrad in 3 years, and I never wanted to go back to school because I never felt challenged, and I didn't want to pay for another degree that I wouldn't enjoy.  But Saybrook challenged me, and really reignited my love of learning.  Which was wonderful."

After graduating Liz found a position doing mental health evaluation for the homeless population in her city, and then took a job at an outpatient clinic.  She says that she was a different kind of therapist thanks to her Saybrook education.

"Saybrook prepared me to really see the dignity in people and their worth," she says. "That we're all human beings, and that the lives people live outside the diagnoses that we give them are vitally important.  And when I speak with other mental health professionals, I'm very researched based, I have a lot of backing for what I say, which I'm very grateful for."

Liz has since gone on to work for the New York State Office of Mental Health, helping to design integrated clinics that combine conventional medicine with mental health services.  She's considering expanding her practice into industrial psychology as well. 

"The skills Saybrook gave me are ones I can take with me anywhere, they transfer anywhere," she says.  "It's tremendous."