Geetanjali Deole, Counseling Psychology

Where are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison? 

I am from Gwalior, a small city in Madhya Pradesh (North-Central) India. I came to UW to pursue my master’s in Counseling Psychology. The excellent faculty in my program, along with the established reputation of UW’s School of Education, are what brought me here. 

Why did you decide to pursue graduate study?

I was at a point in my life where I realized that I only wanted to work towards the most important thing in my life, and everything else could take a break. Graduate studies in counseling psychology seemed like the best choice to build my career and fulfill my dream of six years to become a psychotherapist. So, I decided to brace myself and travel thousands of miles to be a graduate student at UW, haha.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in international psychotherapy and the multicultural aspects of counseling. I am fascinated by the work done in the decolonization of psychology and psychotherapy and am excited to contribute to it. I want to develop culturally aligned models of evidence-based counseling and therapy practices for Indian and Asian populations. I am also interested in student mental health concerns, especially international and immigrant students.

What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?

My internship experience as a therapist working at University Health Services (UHS) is by far my most meaningful experience here. My time at UHS gave me an opportunity to experience the phenomenal strength and resilience of the UW student community while being a part of it. I will forever be grateful for the acceptance and warmth that I received from my colleagues and student clients at UHS, which made this a great experience despite the pandemic.

What class or professor had the greatest impact on you, and why?

The Theories of Counseling Class taught by Dr. Corissa Lotta in the Counseling Psychology Department was the first-ever class I took on this campus. It still strikes me as one of the most outstanding classes ever taught. The course was a phenomenal experience of understanding the various approaches to counseling. It also set an excellent foundation for the importance of choosing a specific approach in counseling as a graduate student.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Trust yourself and your instincts. You have come this far, so you definitely deserve to be here. Don’t let imposter syndrome lure you into questioning your abilities. Graduate school is challenging, and a good support system and the ability to ask for help will take you a long way.

How will you celebrate your graduation?

The pandemic has made celebrations a bit different for us this year. My family from India cannot be here for the celebration, but I will be celebrating with my classmates and friends who have become my family and have made life in the U.S. easier for me.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on working as a trauma-focused psychotherapist providing therapy to underrepresented populations. I want to gain experience in the States for a while, and then move back to India and start a nonprofit mental health clinic.

You’re a UW–Madison expert now, so we must ask: Where’s the best place to eat on campus?

I love Rathskeller’s Monday specials — chicken wings and tater tots and Babcock Ice Cream. I will miss these so much!

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