The Importance of Close Relationships: in research, clinical work, and life

Alex Adame

Alex Adame '04, Therapist

Therapist Alex Adame is “interested in working from a relational-existential perspective with people—typically labeled with schizophrenia—who struggle with severe relational injuries and extreme states of consciousness.” She’s currently completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and recently began her internship year at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. She’s training in a variety of settings—a university psychology clinic, a community mental health center, and a state psychiatric hospital.

At Mount Holyoke, Adame says, she was “deeply inspired” by psychology professor Gail Hornstein’s research on first-person madness narratives, the psychiatric survivor movement, and qualitative inquiry. “I continued to pursue these interests in graduate school,” she says. “I wrote my master’s thesis on how the psychiatric survivor movement has reconceptualized the concept of healing from emotional distress. For my dissertation, I interviewed several people who identify as both psychiatric survivors and mental health professionals and explored how this dual-identity influences their clinical and activist work.”

Adame values the strong sense of community she found among her peers at Mount Holyoke and the deeply meaningful mentoring relationships she developed with several faculty members. “Through these relationships, I found my voice as a scholar. I also became attuned to the needs of others and the importance of social activism,” says Adame. “My MHC experiences continue to inspire me to strive for the ideals of social justice, community, and the importance of close relationships in my research, clinical work, and life in general.”