Kyra Sjarif ‘14 works as Licensed Professional Counselor and Art Therapist
Kyra Sjarif graduated from SCU in 2014, with dual degrees in Psychology and French & Francophone Studies, with a minor in Studio Art. Following graduation, she taught English through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) in Briançon, a small mountain town in Southeastern France in the Alps. She then completed her master's degree in Art Therapy & Counseling at Drexel University in 2017, and is now working as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and registered and board-certified art therapist (ATR-BC) in Philadelphia. She writes:
“Through my outpatient work as a psychotherapist, I work with BIPOC women and LGBTQ+ folx who have experienced trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, and who are navigating life transitions. I also work as an art therapist at a nonprofit organization where I serve refugee, asylum-seeker, and immigrant survivors of torture and human trafficking. As opposed to a rigid emphasis on psychopathology, I believe in viewing the individual not in isolation, but as a byproduct of the systems they are impacted by. I am fascinated by how our varied intersecting identities impact our psyche, sense of self, belonging, and connectedness to the world.
This perspective I take in my clinical work today was greatly impacted by my time as a psychology major at SCU - the guidance, support and mentorship I received from the faculty, whether I had taken their classes or had simply bumped into them frequently due to my work as a peer advisor, was invaluable. Majoring in psychology sparked my interest and curiosity in exploring human development and behavior, and in tracing the universalities we share as human beings while also honoring the particularities that shape various cultures and societies, which informs my current work with refugees and asylum-seekers.
Working as a research assistant in Dr. Kahan's Sleep Cognition Lab for four years helped me develop and sharpen my critical thinking skills, analyze and code data for salient themes, and present material in a clear and succinct manner through conference presentations. Whether it was through exploring the relationship between mindfulness, creativity and the development of empathy in Dr. Kahan's Cognitive Psychology senior capstone, or volunteering at the Senior Center after completing a project through Dr. Simone's Psychology of Aging course, my time at SCU reinforced my passion for helping others, allowing me to apply the theories and research gleaned in the classroom to my clinical work.”