Rita Carlson, Psychology

Photograph of Rita Carlson

Rita Carlson

Psychology Student

Rita Carlson worked in law enforcement, as a sheriff’s deputy and dispatcher for 20 years. 

During that time she saw many forms of human ill and misery. “I did a lot of work with child abuse and sexual assaults,” she says. “I worked on our hostage negotiation team, patrol investigations, and as a school resource officer for a while.”

There were rewarding aspects to all the assignments for her, “but I found a great deal of satisfaction in being able to sit down and work with someone, to work constructively to improve their situation and make it better for everybody,” she says. 

That’s why, after she retired, she wanted to become a therapist. “I still want to help people, including other law enforcement officers and military personnel, and their families, to cope with the trauma that can have such a devastating impact on many people,” she says. 

Rita’s sure that with her law enforcement experiences – everything from interviewing survivors to counseling students to crisis incident negotiations – she’ll have a lot to offer people looking to keep their lives on track. “That’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” she says. “Get a license and make a difference.”

She spent a long time looking for the right program. “I was really looking for a program that would allow me not just to look at mainstream psychology and be ready for licensure, but to look at alternative approaches to healing and that allowed spirituality to be a part of it,” she says.

When she found Saybrook, she knew it was the one for her. “I saw that the professors really care and were really involved,” she said. “I looked at a lot of other programs, even full time residential programs, but I didn’t see the same kind of contact and support in them that I was seeing at Saybrook.”

She joined Saybrook’s PsyD program, while working full time in the chaplain’s office of the Nevada National Guard, and admits that she found graduate school “a big adjustment.” But it’s a welcome one.

 “It’s been just a great experience,” she says. “The professors have been very responsive, I love the humanistic approach we take, I have been very pleased. In fact, I’ve actually recommended Saybrook to a number of people … including my daughter, who started this fall in Saybrook’s Master’s program.”