Graduate students Teri Heard-Ralbovsky ’20 and Kongjing Xing ’21 have been awarded in-home therapy fellowships from the MassHealth Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative.
Heard-Ralbovsky and Xing, who are master’s degree candidates in Lesley’s Counseling Psychology program, look forward to the additional training that the fellowship and $2,500 stipend will afford them as they prepare to launch into therapy careers.
“I want to make the most out of my internship experience and this will provide me with a strong structure and group of colleagues to help me transition into practice upon graduating,” said Heard-Ralbovsky, whose internship will be with In-Home Therapy in Haverhill.
Xing, whose internship will be at Riverside Community Care’s Home Based Family Services in Somerville, said the fellowship will help her “be well prepared to serve children and adolescents who experience emotional and behavioral difficulties.”
In-home therapists work with clients and their families in their homes, and the fellowships will create opportunities for collaboration, support and networking as Xing and Heard-Ralbovsky enter the field, noted Meg Connor, associate director of field training for Lesley’s Division of Counseling and Psychology.
“The Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative seeks to train clinicians to partner with families in a strengths-based, culturally responsive, collaborative way – and this fellowship will help these students develop the skills needed to do this important work,” said Connor, who is also a licensed mental health counselor.
For Xing, who is an international student from China, she hopes to be a “change agent in our society as a therapist,” helping clients manage anxiety and integrate mindfulness practices.
“I have walked the way of being a client and patient,” said Xing. “The big picture connects to every individual, too. … We all need a safe space to be listened to, to change, to heal and to lead a fulfilling human life. That is a space that therapists can create for our clients and for our society.”
Heard-Ralbovsky’s career has spanned a variety of roles – including human resources, career coaching and working with children with social/emotional and learning differences. She recently returned to Lesley to complete her graduate studies after a decade-long hiatus while raising her family.
“Through my work in coaching and advising, I discovered that I really enjoy sitting with individuals and helping them work through problems,” said Heard-Ralbovsky, who is originally from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and has lived in Massachusetts for 31 years. “All of the roles I’ve had came together as my inspiration for pursuing work as an in-home therapist.”
Xing added that the need for talented and dynamic therapists has never been greater.
“In our fast-paced world, there is not enough space for breathing, unconditional acceptance, and positive connection. Our earth is becoming warmer and we are slow in taking action,” she observed. “People feel alone, unheard, tired, worthless, sad, anxious and fearful. I am extremely grateful for the in-home therapy fellowship and for the Counseling and Psychology faculty for teaching me valuable lessons in becoming a good therapist.”