Interview with Dr. Vanessa Holtgrave, PsyD, MS
Dr. Holtgrave is a professor of clinical and forensic psychology and a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of California. She has extensive experience in psychological assessment and diagnosis. She works closely with psychiatric medical professionals as part of a forensic team, provides consultations, and coordinates patient care with medical professionals in a psychiatric setting. Over the years she’s has worked within the prison system, juvenile detention facilities, and within community mental health.
Questions? Comments? Recommend someone for an interview? Contact us email@example.com or find us on twitter @twopillspodcast!
Highlights (full transcript at www.twopillspodcast.com):
Forensic psychology is the intersection of mental health and the legal system. There are many branches. It could be police psychology, correctional psychology, and expert witness testimony; there are so many different areas. Clinical psychology is working more in the community where you might be working with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. They cross over where you may be working with similar individuals in the correctional setting. It's not really it like CSI like everyone thinks.
I really love working with other professionals. On the forensic team, we work with psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, public defenders, judges, case managers, all kinds of different professionals. It's nice to be able to bounce ideas off of each other in a respectful way. It's a focus on how do we get this person help so that they stay out of the justice system?
I really wanted to challenge myself after getting my Ph.D. and one of my friends started teaching and said that she needed someone to teach clinical assessment. I thought everyone would be fighting for that class because it's so exciting. I just loved it so much.
I think new faculty should invest in Red Bulls. Being a professor does not have to be so dichotomous. You can have high standards for your students, but also be supportive. You also want to make the student experience fun. You don't have to have that be at the sake of standards. I see that that kind of dichotomous approach where you have to be strict with your grading and then can't be supportive or give them additional opportunities.
I wish someone had told me that lectures don't have to be perfect. I probably spent 20 to 30 hours on my lecture and then worried about if there would be extra time and I wanted to make sure to include the specific active learning strategies. You can let yourself get too lost in that rabbit hole. I wish someone had told me that they didn't have to be perfect because students will still have their questions about the content and what is most important is that they're learning.
Each person has their own coping skills or lack of coping skills. They have their own support system or lack of support system. What a person is going through is not something that you have gone through. Patience, clients, and students, humble me and remind me to be sensitive to the fact that they have their own experiences. Our students are a bunch of superheroes. They balance school with everything else going on in their lives. As faculty and Scholar practitioners, we need to remember that these students are coming from a different place and all need different types of support. It's not being needy or putting in less effort. They just may need a different type of support or level of support.
For me, it's about making the time for people in your life. It may be deciding that I'm not going to open my laptop or I'm not going to work from home. It sounds like an anti resolution. I'm going to go hiking with my friends this weekend and I'm going to make the time for it. If I were to describe happiness on a certain day, it comes from those kinds of interactions.