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Theo Catanzaro headshot

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Student Stories: Theo Catanzaro

Theo Catanzaro headshot

Theo Catanzaro

The following is part of an ongoing series highlighting the experiences and accomplishments of students in the Morrison Family College of Health

About the Student

Theo Catanzaro, enrolled in the PsyD program at the time of this interview. His main areas of interest are addressing issues related to eating disorders and suicidology. 

Why are you pursuing a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology and what made you choose the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Professional Psychology

One of my main reasons for pursing the doctoral degree is to increase minority representation of those with advanced degrees. Also, earning my doctorate degree will allow me to teach at a university in the future as an adjunct professor. Lastly, with my doctorate degree, I will have the opportunity to be a doctoral-level supervisor for other therapists and doctoral-interns. 

How are your experiences at the University of St. Thomas preparing you for a career in the field of counseling psychology?

St. Thomas is preparing me for a career in psychology by increasing my skills in both producing research and providing clinical interventions in therapy. During the master’s program, we learned to evaluate and critique research, but the doctoral program has built on that even more by having us design an original research project in the form of our dissertation. The multiple practicum experiences have allowed me to integrate what I have learned from classes while having support via consultation from my classmates and professors. Lastly, student-led organizations allow students to network with classmates while also getting to know others who share similar interests.

Tell us about your areas of interest.

My two areas of interest are eating disorders and suicidology. I became interested in eating disorders after learning about the prevalence of men who have damaged relationships with food and exercise. It is much more common than we would think; but due to stigma, representation in research, and recognition, most men do not receive help. I hope to continue to spread awareness and be a therapist who can address male-specific related eating disorder concerns.

Regarding suicide, it is the second leading cause of death among 15-30-year-olds, and it is twice as common as homicides in the US. Right now, we as a field do not know why some people die by suicide yet others don’t, and this precludes us from lowering suicide rates, which largely have not changed despite the robust increase in research over the last 40 years. With my degree, I will strive to learn more about what factors (protective and risk) differentiate between those who exclusively ideate and those who attempt. I also want to do presentations at high schools and colleges and destigmatize talking about suicidal thoughts.