Graduate Counseling Student Caitlyn Mejia Published As Lead Author
"I am fascinated with anything relating to psychopathy and I would love to one day teach or present on the subject covering the myths, the facts, and how important it is to understand the concept of psychopathy in the counseling field"
Caitlyn Mejia, M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Counseling, Clinical Mental Health (M.S.)
- Counseling, School Counseling (M.S.)
- Psychology & Counseling
Hood Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate student, Caitlyn Mejia, was published as a lead author, co-authoring a paper entitled, "Mean, uncommitted, and aggressive: Divergent associations between triarchic psychopathy, elements of love, and caustic relationship behaviors". The article has appeared in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Please provide a brief bio including your educational and career background.
I have always had an interest in abnormal psychology and, in 2017, I earned my B.A. in Psychology at the University of Baltimore.
It was during my undergrad program that I discovered I had an additional interest in research. I completed an independent research project as my senior thesis in which I researched how psychopaths engage in their romantic relationships
This senior thesis ended up being the catalyst that provided me with the opportunity to have my research published. Currently, I am a counseling intern for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse at Heartly House.
Why did you choose Hood College and your Counseling program of study in particular?
I chose Hood College and the clinical counseling program as I was very much interested in treating either psychopaths or their victims.
Since this program offers a clinical concentration, I felt that it would be the perfect fit for me. I started my journey at Hood in January 2018 and am so excited to graduate this summer!
Has Hood College connected you with any professional opportunities in the area?
Hood has afforded me the opportunity to participate as an intern at Heartly House, in which I am able to work with a population that tends to be under-supported.
That population is comprised of survivors of child abuse, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault and, unfortunately, survivors of such experiences still face stigma. As a result, many do not report that they’ve been victimized for fear that law enforcement and/or family and friends will either not believe them or may even blame them.
In my work with these populations, my goal is to empower and help them to view themselves as survivors, and to give them tools to heal and grow past their traumas.
What do you enjoy most about being at Hood College?
I really enjoy the support from the counseling program faculty. They have taken so much time invest in me and my growth as a counselor. I feel incredibly fortunate to be a participant in this program.
I have really enjoyed the Diagnosis and Psychopathology and the Attachment Theory courses. These two classes have really served to grow my understanding of the populations seen at Heartly House, and of those seeking mental health treatment in general. I have also really enjoyed the Creativity in Counseling course.
This class was super helpful in my professional work and I have been a much more effective counselor with my clients since implementing the creative art interventions taught in this class.
You have been published as a first author, and the article has appeared in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Tell us more about this.
My article was published in December of 2019. I am so excited to share it with others!
The research is broken into two studies. The first study is comprised of my senior thesis project from undergrad. My mentor and co-author, Dr. John Donahue, encouraged me to replicate the study and further expound upon it; this is where the second study comes into play.
It was in this study that I learned the differences in psychopathy as it relates to sex/gender and abuse tactics. For example, we found and discuss how women who are psychopaths vs men who are psychopaths use different abuse tactics in their relationships.
We also discuss what the quality of romantic relationships with psychopaths look like.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I am fascinated with anything relating to psychopathy and I would love to one day teach or present on the subject covering the myths, the facts, and how important it is to understand the concept of psychopathy in the counseling field. When I’m not studying or working, I love going on hikes, cooking, and painting.