Kile Ortigo is a licensed psychologist, PTSD Resource Specialist & Research Associate at Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – Dissemination & Training Division and within his own private practice. He is a researcher on a Department of Defense funded project looking at getting clinicians the best evidence-based tools to help them treat their clients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ortigo's job involves a lot of content and survey development including some fun things with web design. Ortigo also has a small private practice as a therapist because he loves clinical work as well.
Ortigo received his Doctorate of Philosophy in clinical psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and then completed his training at VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Afterwards, he finished two postdoctoral fellowships at San Francisco VA Medical Center as a University of California – San Francisco affiliate, with one fellowship specializing in PTSD and substance use and the other in an innovative new program in interprofessional LGBT health care.
What are the scope and responsibilities of your current role?
"My job is diverse. It consists of a combo of individual work on tasks related to research projects (like writing web content, brainstorming design options, writing book chapters, etc.) and a lot of teamwork too! At the national level, I'm also the VA LGBT Fellowship Didactic Coordinator. In this role, I help guide each class of new psychology fellows as they complete the program. Finally, in my private practice, I see people in individual and couples therapy. These clients may be coming in for mood or anxiety symptoms, traumatic stress, relationship difficulties and/or a desire to grow personally and emotionally in any number of ways."
What is your favorite part of your daily duties?
"I love the variety of my job. I work on multiple projects and on multiple aspects of each of them. No single day is the same as the projects I'm on are different from one another and develop at varying paces. Learning more about the use of technology to improve care has been particularly engaging. In addition, I appreciate how my work as a therapist keeps me sharp on that front. It's also very emotionally satisfying!"
Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?
"Absolutely! A PhD in clinical psychology can prepare you to be a researcher and a clinician. Balancing both roles can be tough, but if you pull it off, you can have a very satisfying career."
Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?
"Reflect on what you really want to do in the end. Is it clinical care, research, other applied work or some combo? Then work backwards from there to see what degree and experiences you need to get to that point. There can be more than one path and your ideas may change over time, but that's part of the journey too. Try to balance having a plan with staying flexible because you might stumble upon something better than you imagined."
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