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Shelly Henderson '01
How did you become interested in women's history, why this particular program?
My interest in women's history corresponded with a developmental awakening to the multiple disparities of power that surround us. I felt angered by the injustices suffered by those with seemingly less power. Studying women's history was a way to empower myself and to discover the agency that groups have exerted throughout time. I chose to study at SLC because of the small, intimate classes, the one-on-one relationship with professors, and the opportunity to immerse myself in an intellectually stimulating environment.
B.A. Theatre Arts, University of California, Santa Cruz
What was your experience at Sarah Lawrence College like?
My experience was a rich personal journey. I grew to understand the nuances of identities over time and gained insight into my own struggles and hopes. The interdisciplinary nature of SLC allowed me to expand beyond women's history and incorporate my other passions, dance and psychology, into my studies.
"Personal Therapy, Political Healing: The Relationship Between Lesbians and Psychotherapy, 1970-1987."
Reason for your interest in the subject?
My interest in this topic was two fold. First, I had planned to pursue further study in psychology and psychotherapy and was interested in the history of the field.
Second, while living in San Francisco, I observed that there seemed to be a disproportionately high number of therapists who identified as lesbian. I found this intriguing, given the troubled history between LGBT people and the field of psychology that pathologized "other" sexual orientations. I wanted to explore what had changed in psychology and in lesbian communities that allowed this healed relationship.
What did you take from your experience at Sarah Lawrence?
The time I spent at SLC was a turning point in my life. I developed the confidence and the skills to pursue a Ph.D. I learned to think critically and contextually. I made friends that I will have forever.
I rely on the insights and knowledge I developed at SLC everyday in my work as a psychologist; whether I'm practicing psychotherapy from a narrative perspective and eliciting stories or training primary care physicians to consider the impact of culture on health and illness.
Further education and degrees after graduation:
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
Currently, Clinical Professor and Director of Behavioral Science Education, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of California, Davis Medical Center