The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN psychology graduate students attentive to body language

When Eric Lara walks into a room he can easily interpret how people are feeling and behaving through their body language and facial expressions.

Lara, 28, is a graduate student in psychology. He sees the world through an extensive lens developed through his major.

Psychology has affected Lara’s everyday life in many ways. It has become part of his personal life, with his friends frequently asking him for help with their personal issues because of his extensive knowledge in the field.

“Whenever I’m with my friends they constantly ask me for help and sometimes I just want to hang out and not think about psychology,” he said. “It’s hard because sometimes I don’t want to hang out with people because they are constantly asking me for help, it’s like I’m working 24/7. Or when I realize something is wrong with them I try to get it out of them.”

He has begun seeing himself and others in a new light, paying close attention to everyone’s actions, and has become more analytical.

He has learned not to be judgmental, to see people for what’s on the inside, and believes there is a reason behind everyone’s actions and thoughts. Psychology has become part of his personal life, including friendships and romantic relationships.

In the past, for instance, when Lara saw that his girlfriend was not giving him eye contact, he was able to tell that she was upset.

One ability Lara has gained from his studies is reading body language. He can easily see the truth behind people and find if their words match their actions. This has helped him find friends easier.

If Lara sees someone slouching and bobbing their head while someone is talking to them, he can conclude that the person isn’t engaged in the discussion. He allows his clients to solve their own problems by having them talk it out to themselves without an interruption from Lara.

Typically, when the grad student is with a client, he can talk to that person for about five hours without directly telling that person what to do about their problem: he will only ask questions.

He wants his clients to figure out their own problems. His job is just to direct people onto the right path.

Larisa Villa is also a grad student in psychology. Because of her knowledge in the subject, she is able to communicate better with her friends and family. She has learned more about herself and understands why she reacts to certain events the way she does.

“I instinctually apply psychology to whatever issues I see reported in the world and community news, trying to understand how our human behavior has influenced the creation of these issues we now face and how we can use that same psychology to find possible solutions to make our world better,” she said.

Psychology has opened a new window for Lara and Villa. They are aware of everyone’s actions, thoughts and behaviors.

Both students have one goal, and that is to empower and help their clients.

Lara is currently interning at the CSUN Career Center as a career counselor. In the future he hopes to be a counselor at a community college where he would be exposed to an array of topics such as academic advisement, career counseling and student’s personal issues.

“I love my job and wouldn’t change it,” Lara said.