By Mary Morgan, ’11

After graduating from the University of Richmond in 2008, Maggie Place, a psychology major, attended a psychology master’s program at Villanova University. After receiving a full graduate assistantship, she imagined transitioning directly from a master’s program to a doctoral program. Instead, Place decided to gain work experience in the field before continuing her education.

“I felt that others who attended my master’s program with previous job experiences had an easier time relating our coursework to practical situations,” she said. “A commitment to a Ph.D. program should not be made lightly, and I did not want to decide to spend five or more years in a clinical psychology doctoral program without fully understanding what it means to be in a clinical field.”

As an undergraduate student, Place spent her summers working at Caron Treatment Centers, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center near her hometown of Reading, Pa. After graduating with her master’s degree in psychology, Place applied for a job at Caron and was offered a position as an addictions counselor in primary care.

At Caron, Place manages a caseload of clients who progress through their first 31 days of treatment. She also collaborates with a treatment team to provide recommendations for further care.
 
“Each day at Caron is different from the last,” she said.  “A typical day includes participating in a morning clinical team meeting, holding individual and group therapy sessions and facilitating patient lectures and interactive activities.”

She also spends time meeting with patient families and planning for the patients' continued care as they prepare to leave the facility.

“What I enjoy most about working at Caron is being alongside a knowledgeable group of colleagues who I learn from each and every day,” Place said. “Each patient I work with also presents a new challenge and an opportunity for personal and professional growth. I also like the fast-paced environment at Caron - there is never a dull moment in the clinical field.”

Place says that she would eventually like to receive a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field.  She’s interested in remaining in the addictions treatment field but is also open to working in an academic setting.  

“I really credit my education and experience at UR for helping me succeed at my first job in a fast-paced clinical setting and preparing me for future gradate study.”