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Lázaro Castillo, Jr.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

PERSONAL STATEMENT By Lázaro Castillo

UWG- 2001-2004
Most students associate Psychology with mental illnesses more than any other thing, which is not true. When I lived in Cuba, I had no idea that I would one day be a student at an American university studying psychology. Of all the fields available, I have chosen to pursue a Master's Degree in psychology so that I could help people deal with their traumas, develop new and better techniques for treating patients, as well as helping to educate people about relationships and communication.

My desire to help people find ways to deal with their personal traumas arose from my own experiences.

At five years old, I ran away from both of my parents and went to live with my grandparents. During this time, I experienced a loving and nurturing environment.

My grandparents, however, decided to go to the United States of America when I was 12 years old. I then had to go and live with my father and his new wife. For six months, I suffered a lot of abuse from both of them. When I could not take anymore, I reported them to the school authorities. The authorities took me away from my father and sent me to live in a secondary school.


When I graduated from High school, I went on to the University of Havana where I studied Economics. I received a bachelor's degree in Economics with a minor in Journalism.

I worked for 2 years in a government enterprise. I then found a job with a radio station where, I remained for 3 years. At this time, I had found my maternal grandparents. I lived with them for 5 years until I became a refugee in Panama. Three years later, they gave me a refugee status and sent me to the United States of America.

UWG 2003  Carrollton, Georgia
Upon my arrival, I began the transition from the Spanish Language to the English Language. I suffered a huge cultural shock, which led to my depression. The individualism, which is so prevalent in the United States, angered me. I was accustomed to a culture based on collectivism. I had believed that the United States could offer me some kind of future because we have freedom here.

My language barrier, however, prevented me from enjoying many of this country's gifts. While I still have some difficulties with the English language, I am working hard to overcome this obstacle. I left my family in New York and moved to Ohio, where I was a reporter for a newspaper call La Prensa de Toledo for approximately 2 years. I then traveled to Valdosta, Georgia and founded the first Hispanic radio program for all of South Georgia. I stayed in Valdosta for five years and started my own Newspaper for Hispanics called La Explosion. I was happy in Valdosta but I still felt that something was missing in my life.

I took a Psychology class at Valdosta State University and this opened my eyes to my own issues, which were unresolved from my childhood. I wanted to delve deeper into my own spirituality and try to heal some of my childhood wounds. I suddenly realized, as I look around at my fellow students and co-workers, that I wasn't alone. It seemed that everyone was trying to cope with their own neuroses residues from their childhood. At that moment, I felt a tremendous amount of compassion for my fellow human beings. I realized just how much a person's childrearing effects their adult life.

University of West Georgia  09/2001 
Issues from childhood which are left unresolved can severely effect how people interact with the world as adults. These issues can hinder growth and spiritual development making evolution in the human species almost impossible. By becoming more educated in the field of Psychology, it is my hope that I will be able to relieve some of the human suffering caused by personal traumas.

The compassion that I feel for people fuels my desire to develop better techniques for treating patients. I feel that the medical field can sometimes forget that these patients are human beings. My greatest wish is to teach the psychology profession how to treat patients in a more personal manner by implementing Carl Rogers' techniques of empathy and unconditional positive regard.

I feel that lack of communication between people in relationships is the main reason for the higher divorce rate and violence in the world.
My goal is to teach people more effective ways to communicate with each other and better ways to cope with different situations.

Finally, psychology is important to me because it is a tool that will enable me to make a positive contribution to society. This contribution can be made at anytime through modern technology as well as personal conversations. For this reason, choosing psychology as my major and the University of West Georgia as my home was the most logical choices for me. I love the Humanistic and Psychodynamic Approaches, and the loving acceptance that I have experienced so far at this school. I feel that I still have a lot of important lessons to learn both spirituality and academically. For me, this is the only school that I believe can help me in both areas. The professors here are more than helpful and they treat me with kindness and respect. They go above and beyond the call of duty in order to help me better understand the concepts being offered to me.



In conclusion, I would like to say that because of this department's practice of Unconditional Positive Regard, I feel that I have finally found a place where I belong. This department has become the family that I have always dreamed of having...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a well-written essay, Laz! I know that you have trouble vocalizing the English language, but you are able to write it better than most. I can fully understand your observation how the North American culture (collectivism) is so vastly different than others inasmuch as how people treat each other (individualism).
    Such a lengthy story, my first response will be chronological: "I took a Psychology class at Valdosta State University and this opened my eyes to my own issues, which were unresolved from my childhood. I wanted to delve deeper into my own spirituality and try to heal some of my childhood wounds."One of the things I have always said about working in psych is: Some go to mechanics school to learn how to fix their own cars.
    Secondly, the amount of influence "childrearing" has on a person must at least equal that of the physical, genes, nature. You say, "Issues from childhood which are left unresolved can severely effect how people interact with the world as adults. I must argue the use of the term "severely", since I assert that a person is only affected as much as he desires to be affected. No one can make you happy, sad, guilty or whatever unless you allow them to do so. An event is different than a person, but they can potentially leave the same residual effects.
    As far as helping others, Laz, you are already doing that. I see how compassionate you are for the patients, and how you want to give them another chance at personally-motivated success. I won't give up on them either! But I would say that the Rogerian approach might be as "outdated" as using the word "groovy" or "do you dig?" But if it is important to you, we must revisit to see why you are being pulled in that direction.
    I thank you for wanting to make a "positive contribution to society". You are a gem for even considering it. I must caution you, tho, in your use of the phrase, "Unconditional Positive Regard", for I only find extremely limited applications of this mechanism in our world, few of which may be included in our job.

    Great writing, sir!

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