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L.A. Clinical Psychologist, Professor Career Is Two-Folded

Dr. Erica Ellis is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology. Her clinical work takes place in her private practice and PCH Treatment Center. Dr. Ellis teaches at Antioch University, Pepperdine University and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her professional life is two-fold: teaching and seeing clients. With teaching, Dr. Ellis works at several psychology institutions training students in academic and dissertation coursework. On the clinical side, she works with adults, teens and couples, specializing in treatment through a mind-body lens.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Erica Ellis)

Dr. Ellis earned her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and her Doctorate of Psychology from Alliant-California School of Professional Psychology. She has over 8,000 hours of clinical experience from UCLA, The Maple Counseling Center and private practice internships. In addition, Dr. Ellis has completed several advanced trainings to support her specialty in psychophysiological (mind-body) issues, including mindfulness meditation, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Neural Manipulation and Visceral Manipulation.

What are the scope and responsibilities of your current role?

"Teaching: The central responsibility is, of course, teaching. The scope of responsibilities in this role, however, is broader than you might expect. It can include course development, creating syllabi, lecturing, facilitating discussion and grading. In addition, I chair dissertations, advise students and serve on institutional committees."

"Private Practice: Beyond meeting with clients, assessing their needs and supporting them in psychotherapy, private practice is also a business. As such, there are a number of responsibilities that fall under a more entrepreneurial umbrella. These include getting a business license and insurance, bookkeeping, marketing and networking. This work also requires that you stay current with the field via continuing education and training."

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

"Hands down, my favorite part of my work is witnessing clients heal and students learn. In both practice and teaching, this translates to daily meetings with people wherein I hear their stories and discuss their challenges and growth."

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

"Generally, my education prepared me well. The internships were the most important part of my training--it's where the rubber met the road and where I began to translate theory into practice."

Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?

"For people who want to do clinical work: Find practicum and internship opportunities that reflect the types of populations and environments with which you want to work after you are licensed—the training in a hospital or rehab setting will prepare you differently than a private clinic. In particular, for people who want to develop a private practice, seek out mentorship on how to set up your own business—most programs do not explicitly prepare you for this."

"For people who want to teach: Generally, teacher training tends to be limited. If your program offers courses on teaching psychology, take them! Otherwise, the preparation for this comes from experience. Find opportunities to be a teacher's assistant, give presentations and guest lectures in the community. This will help you develop your teaching legs and your resume"

Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of and Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on

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