Public Service Professionals in Psychology Shine a Light on Experiences to Make Positive Change

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“Our returning veterans often feel abandoned, and have a difficult time transitioning back to civilian life. They tell me that they would just like someone to say thank you. Pets for Vets is a concrete and lasting way to say thank you.”


–Clarissa Black, founder of Pets for Vets


Public service professionals across the board are constantly evolving with the diverse and ever-changing needs of our communities today. This may be especially true for professionals in the vast field of psychology, driven by understanding human behavior, what makes us do the things we do and ultimately how we can live happier, healthier lives. Whether the end-goal is to work in mental health or in another industry, psychology offers a wealth of career paths that address many special need areas, including child development, applied behavioral analysis, addictions and industrial/organizational psychology.


Another focus area of increasing importance in the mental health arena is the needs of military veterans and U.S. servicemembers. According to an article in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined have resulted in more than 118,000 receiving a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) after returning from deployment, yet still serving on active duty. Early treatment is important and may help reduce long-term symptoms that can significantly impair an individual’s daily life.


One individual making unique strides in this area is Clarissa Black, who founded the nonprofit Pets for Vets after witnessing the powerful role therapy dogs played in recovery for veterans and soldiers. Although Clarissa’s expertise lies in an area outside of psychology, she harnesses her passion for working with animals and her own experience with PTSD to help others heal physical and emotional wounds.


A stand-out in Clarissa’s program is her hands-on approach in assessing a veteran’s needs to determine what kind of pet would best fit his/her lifestyle. She draws from her expertise in developing personalized training and behavior plans to prepare the pets accordingly, helping ensure that the pet and veteran are set up for success to become lifelong companions.


Thanks to many of our public service professionals like Clarissa, the sacrifices of our troops and veterans do not go unnoticed. In fact, professionals in all areas of psychology both, directly and indirectly, touch every aspect of life and human development, to the benefit of society. As we encounter different challenges and opportunities in life, public service professionals in psychology are there to help shine a light on these experiences in order to make positive change.







The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author(s) and are not attributable to Kaplan University. 

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Clarissa Black 


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