SPFC Newsletter

Interactions Newsletter, from the School of Psychology, Family, and Community

NOVEMBER 2015

A Message From the Dean

Multicultural and International Understandings

As I write this introduction to our fall newsletter, three recent images come to mind that captured global attention. The first instills hope for a future of justice and opportunity. It is co-recipients of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi — a Muslim young woman of rural Pakistan and a Hindu man of India, who have risen above the conflicts between their cultures, genders, faiths, and nation-states to stand “against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." The second image sears heart and mind and is a denunciation of human motivations that exclude the Other. It is 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian Kurdish refugee, drowned off the coast of Turkey as he and his family sought sanctuary. “May Aylan’s soul be on God’s right hand.” The third image startles and stimulates the imagination, as we contemplate a new generation of social activists seeking societal change. It is recent SPU graduate, Marissa Johnson of the Black Lives Matter movement confronting presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a Seattle political rally. These images display the kaleidoscope of color and language and song and lament and dance and prostration that form the human experience worldwide.

The above images also represent the many multicultural and international opportunities we in SPFC have experienced walking beside, serving among, collaborating with, and learning from peoples of many cultures, nations, and faiths. For example, SPFC students and faculty have had substantive encounters among indigenous peoples: Maori of New Zealand, Canada’s First Nations, Aboriginal Australia, Pacific Northwest Native Americans, and Mixtecos of Oaxaca. Our work has taken us to Asia (e.g., the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, Laos, India), Africa (e.g., Botswana, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Cameroon), the Middle East (e.g., Jordan, Turkey), Eastern and Western Europe (e.g., Ukraine, Belgium, Northern Ireland, England), and in the U.S. to ethnic minority, refugee, and immigrant communities. This list goes on and on.

It is multicultural and international understandings that define the theme of this issue of our newsletter. Enter the fields of international family psychology and trauma psychology with Dr. John Thoburn, as he describes his personal journey over the past three decades. Enjoy the wit, wisdom, and insights of Dr. Dave Stewart’s blog describing his sabbatical in Botswana. Appreciate again the world of active behavioral science by reading the research summaries of Dr. Paul Kim on Asian-American cultural beliefs and utilization of mental health services, Dr. Jenny Vaydich on the experiences of Korean immigrant parents and adolescents in New Zealand, and Drs. Lynette Bikos and Nicola De Paul (Clinical Psychology PhD, 2014) on the psychological well-being of expatriate health care and humanitarian aid professionals.

I invite you also to enjoy the updates on our programs, faculty, and students. And by all means, become acquainted with our two new faculty members: Drs. Jake Bentley and Jenny Vaydich. There is much happening in SPFC as we pursue multicultural and international understandings through learning, research, and practice in the community and beyond.

I am respectfully and thankfully yours,

Dean Joseph Williams

—Mícheál Roe, Dean
School of Psychology, Family, and Community

To the top


Top Stories

John Thoburn and a baby

Clinical psychology and Isaiah 61: International family psychology

By John Thoburn, Professor of Clinical Psychology

My career in international psychology began when I accompanied my mentor, Dennis Guernsey (instrumental in the early development of SPU’s Clinical Psychology program) to Uganda in 1987, at the end of the Twelve Year War. (More than two million people were slaughtered during that time.) We spent six weeks in Uganda training about 50 Episcopal priests in family-systems-based traumatology; they took their newfound skills back to their respective villages.

When Guernsey contracted brain cancer in 1995, I took over his SPU classes (in 1996) and continued his mission to spread family-systems-based disaster psychology around the globe. I took six clinical psychology students to Bosnia in 1999 at the end of the war and trained professional counselors in traumatology. In 2003, I took six clinical psychology students to Vellore, India, to the Christian Counseling Centre for a multicultural experience and to present papers on international family psychology at a national conference in Chennai. Tami Buker-Parrott PhD ’06 and I presented one of the first international papers in the field on training indigenous volunteers in psychological first aid.

In 2005, following the South Asian Tsunami, Glenn Goodwin (a local neuropsychologist) and I started a nonprofit, PsyCorps: Psychology Support International and created a formal training program in psychological first aid for indigenous volunteers. We provided consultation, support, and training in Sri Lanka and trained a number of SPU doctoral students, among them alums Kira Mauseth PhD ’08, Chris Tobey Phd ’01, and Michael Tandy PhD ’01. The year 2005 also saw PsyCorps providing aid during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Goodwin and I worked with the mental health division of the American Red Cross, along with Tandy and Tobey.

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Tandy and I joined Mauseth and a team of psychologists providing relief to survivors. Mauseth took the lead in developing a new innovative program, the Health Support Team (HST) Curriculum, to train volunteers in Haiti to provide basic mental health services to members of their communities. Over the course of several years we trained some 500 people in the curriculum. The training also led to core group of trained trainers to continue the program in Haiti and beyond. Alum Stacy Cecchet PhD ’12 accompanied us on two trips to Haiti and did stellar work. Cecchet, who now works in the Seattle area as a pediatric psychologist, was deeply moved by her experience and has since started a nonprofit organization devoted to helping children of sex trafficking. In 2012 and 2013 HST made trips to Jordan to work with Syrian refugees, providing training in the HST curriculum and conducting research. Then-clinical psychology student Noel Clark PhD ’14 went on the first trip and did an outstanding job teaching and interacting with the Syrians. (She related so well to them that they insisted she was a Syrian!) We have trained about 100 Syrian refugees to date and have several research articles in the pipeline. Our research on the efficacy of the HST training program indicates that listening skills and the provision of hope and encouragement are among the strongest facets of the program.

I have been working with my Japanese family psychology colleagues since 2013, sharing the HST curriculum with them and presenting on trauma at several conferences in Japan. In January 2015, I accompanied faculty members Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology Rob McKenna and Assistant Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology Joey Collins to India to participate in a Free Methodist pastoral training conference in Hyderabad, India. The church is experiencing a great deal of persecution in India, so my presentations on trauma were timely. I have been invited back to Hyderabad and Mumbai to train pastors to provide mental health support to their congregations. Our next trip is being planned for Spring 2016; clinical psychology faculty member Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology Amy Mezulis will accompany me along with several students. We will be using a new curriculum, Flexible Psychological Support, that we are developing based on family systems and relational process, a product of the work of the Thoburn Interpersonal Research Team. Recently, students in my research group have revived PsyCorps as an entity to provide family-systems based training for first responders, domestically, and training in flexible psychological support for indigenous volunteers in international regions prone to natural and/or man-made disasters. I am acting as a consultant to PsyCorps, but it is a student-driven nonprofit. We provided our first training on First Responder Self-care to the Lacey Fire District in June of this year and will provide a follow-up couples workshop for first responders in September. We think that will be the first of its kind anywhere.

In the last conversation I had with Dennis Guernsey before he died, he lamented that he was no longer able to teach or train or conduct psychotherapy. In what was a poignant moment for me, I assured him that I would continue to teach and train a new generation everything that he had taught me. Guernsey sought in his work to serve God and people and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. In fulfillment of my long-ago promise, I have sought to inculcate in the next generation of psychologists the same inclination. When Jesus came out of his desert temptation full of the Spirit he declared Isaiah 61 to inaugurate his ministry of reconciliation. The words of the prophet are no less timely today, echoing the mission of clinical psychology:

Isaiah 61

¹The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. ²He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. ³To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

In Haiti
Baboons in Botswana

Stewart reports from Botswana: Postings from sabbatical

From August to November 2014, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology David Stewart was on sabbatical at the University of Botswana; his wife, Linda Jansen, also on sabbatical, accompanied him. These are excerpts from his blog.

By David Stewart, Associate Professor and Chair of Clinical Psychology

We arrived in Gaborone on August 30, 2014, after a five-hour drive from Pretoria, South Africa. Gaborone is immediately contiguous to the border crossing so we had little time to recover before pulling out our directions. We pulled into the first landmark our landlord had named, the comfortingly American-sounding Riverwalk Mall. And indeed we found an upscale American-style mall with a ring of restaurants on the outside and ATMs and cellphone stores on the inside. I made an immediate note of a cultural difference between Botswana and South Africa: We were clearly in an African nation and the people in the mall bore the confidence and ownership of a self-determinate country. Time to stop being tourists and start living abroad! After our luncheon of oxtail stew and African lasagna (all meat and béchamel, no tomatoes) we headed on to our cottages.

We arrived at our rented cottage in the Mokolodi Conservancy, adjacent to a game reserve with the occasional giraffe and antelope gazing at us over the fence. We also noted that in this free-range cattle country there were cows, goats, wild donkeys, sheep, baboons, and stray dogs about. Tracker-Linda also ominously noted on a walk, “Those paw prints look too big to be a dog.” We were truly blessed to be in such a peaceful, comfortable, and unique setting.

The University of Botswana

On September 1, I set off for the university where I was met by Professor Kennedy Amone-Polak, the head of the department. We immediately bonded over department-chair minutiae, which interrupted our introductory meeting (graduation checks urgently needed by the end of business but just being delivered for his review). THIS is what I was on sabbatical from! He introduced me to Drs. Plattner and Mogdubu and to a graduate student and undergraduate student. I scheduled consultations with the two of them to talk about their research interests. I settled into my office, figured out Internet logon, etc., and was ensconced. By the end of lunch, I had been allotted two lectures on behavioural theories of personality in Kennedy’s course this term.

Church

We ended our first week by attending church. The only church we had seen and knew how to get back to was the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross very near the university. We looked at the sign and noted that the English language service was at, gulp, 7:30 a.m. We arrived just on time at 7:37 to find several hundred worshippers and the priest apologizing for the “low turnout” due to the bishop presiding over confirmation at the 9:30 a.m. Setswana language service.

A highlight of the service was immediately after Holy Communion when dozens of children appeared from nowhere, dashed to the altar to the strains of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and received blessings and laying on of hands from the priests. We introduced ourselves as long-term visitors from America and were warmly greeted at tea after the service by a Princeton student (who took me, a Princeton alumnus, to meet his mother), a pediatrician who studied in the U.S. and has a brother in Spokane, and various other members. On our way to the post office the next morning, another parishioner, Dave from Zimbabwe, who recognized us from our introduction at church, warmly greeted us. Dave attended American mission schools and his grandfather built the TB ward at the mission hospital. He was fond of Americans.

As I drove to and from the university, I listened to the Setswana music on the radio punctuated by election debates and public affairs and I was struck with pride to be in this peaceful, prosperous democratic African country and looked forward to being of some small service there.

Baby baboon in Botswana

Out and about

Kgale Hill, “the Sleeping Giant,” rises 4,200 feet above the city of Gaborone and is right down the road from our cottage. It is also inhabited by a troop of somewhat intimidating baboons (we only posted pictures of the cute babies). We had read that it has three climbing trails making for a popular hike. Linda and I drove around the roads at the base one weekend afternoon only to find hordes of baboons, some piles of strewn aluminum cans and a rock quarry with signs everywhere warning about upcoming dynamite blasting. Not promising, and surely not a popular trailhead in an urban center. I resigned myself to hikes on the dirt roads around home and was a little relieved to avoid the baboons! Linda did not resign and early on a Saturday morning dragged me out of bed and off to the hill. What a difference!

The cars were parked and double parked up and down the road and many dozens of people, dressed mostly in running gear and sweats and usually in groups of four or more, were walking toward but mostly away from the hill. We were definitely in the right place and as we approached we realized that we were at THE place for Saturday morning exercise. We found the trail and quickly began to climb up the stone hill. The trail was not necessarily well defined except for the highway of people climbing up the path — basically a tumble of medium and small boulders. It was packed! Like Green Lake in Seattle on a Saturday. We were struck by how sociable this climb was; there were hardly any solo hikers and mostly groups of young people talking and laughing while jogging(!) up and down the steep rocky path.

Almost everyone greeted everyone else with “Dumela,” “Hello,” or “Good Morning, Good Morning.” The greeting was cheerful, made with eye contact and a little wave, each of these additions being exceedingly difficult for me in my breathless and precariously balanced state. As we picked our way along we were entertained by snippets of lively conversation, sometimes directed at us, in Setswana, English, or both interchangeably. The precise but lilting accent of the Batswana English was a joy to me. “No pain, no NOTHing,” quipped one woman to her friends before making eye contact with me and laughing. “My mma mma, how are you? You are good and brave!” said a young man running down the hill past Linda. We hiked the hill on weekends, getting closer and closer to the summit, and were rewarded by breathtaking views of the city and countryside.

My students

One weekend as I was being passed on my hike by the umpteenth group of youngsters, they greeted me with “Good morning, Sir!” I thought this rather formal and was muttering my breathless reply when one woman peered under the bill of my down-turned cap brim to make eye contact and with a big smile repeated “Good Morning, SIR!” I returned the greeting and as she jogged on, she said “We meet again from class, Sir. Psychology 201!”

I delivered two lectures in her class during the semester and had a great time with 60 undergraduates studying theories of personality. I was invited to deliver lectures on “Behavioural Theories of Personality.” I read the chapter, changed all my “behaviors” to “behaviours” and faced the class of undergraduates whom Professor Kennedy assured me would not have read ahead of time, and would not understand my accent if I didn’t slow down. The first lecture was a little dry and a little theoretical but well received with students taking copious notes, occasionally offering comments and questions, and generally seeming engaged. For the second class, I wanted to liven things up, so I came armed with fun-size candy bars and clinical vignettes of delinquent, substance abusing youth requiring mini Behaviour Chains! The students broke up into large groups and elected presenters who were remarkably poised, funny, and very good at describing “anteCEdents,” behaviours specified by “freQUEncy,” duration and intensity and consequences both “proXIMal” and distal.

Research and return

Botswana, though prosperous and peaceful, is in crisis because of an HIV epidemic. About 25 percent of the adult population lives with HIV and this rate has not dropped appreciably in the past decade. As an adolescent-substance-abuse researcher, I have an interest in the intersection of substance use and risky sexual behavior. During my time in Botswana, I met with local substance-abuse treatment providers and a representative from the ministry of health; gave public lectures; and met with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students interested in this topic.

This activity culminated in an ongoing research collaboration called “CREATE” in Botswana. This project will provide “culturally responsive engagement, adaptation and transfer of evidence-based” practices designed to reduce substance use and high-risk sexual behavior in adolescents throughout Botswana. We will be working with local tribal leaders (Kgosi), as well as treatment providers, educators, and the University of Botswana psychology clinic to develop, implement, and sustain innovative and effective practices to reduce HIV in teens. I will return to Botswana in October 2015 to provide a keynote address and workshop at the African and Middle East Congress on Addiction held at the University of Botswana. I am looking forward to reengaging with my colleagues and friends.

Note: Stewart has recently returned from his follow-up visit.

Dr. Paul Kim


Faculty Research

Are Asian Americans really healthier?

By Paul Kim, Associate Professor of Psychology

A well-known problem exists within the field of Asian American psychology: Compared to other racial groups in the United States, Asian Americans tend not to seek mental health treatment. When I tell people about this trend, some respond with something to the effect of, “But is it really a problem? Doesn’t it simply reflect the fact that Asian Americans do not need the services as much, meaning that they are healthier psychologically?” There is much research, however, that debunks the notion that the underuse of professional mental health services by Asian Americans can be adequately explained solely by rates of mental illness. So the question instead becomes: Why do Asian Americans, on average, have more reservations about seeing a professional counselor? I have attempted to identify some of these reasons in my research program over the last several years, with the ultimate goal of helping Asian Americans access mental health services when needed; below, I briefly describe a few factors uncovered in my research.

One reason might be that there are core cultural elements within Asian cultures that are incompatible with Western professional counseling or therapy. For instance, a salient Asian value is the ability to restrain one’s emotions. In a typical Western counseling session, however, the counselor encourages the client to freely express their feelings — one stereotypical snapshot of a counseling session we are familiar with is a tearful client pouring out their deepest thoughts and feelings in therapy. Therefore, for an Asian American who is experiencing emotional problems needing professional help, the idea of going to a counselor might not be appealing, especially if the individual strongly adheres to the Asian value of emotional self-control.

Another reason might be beliefs and attitudes related to mental health, such as opinions regarding what causes mental illness. In traditional Asian cultures, it is common for people to believe that mental illness is caused by non-biological factors (e.g., supernatural causes). A quick family story as an illustration:

In the traditional Korean culture, it is expected that deceased family and extended family members are all buried in close proximity. Thus it is typical for a family to have sizable land devoted to burying deceased family members. One day, my father (who has distanced himself from this aspect of Korean culture) informed an elderly member of his family that he does not wish to be buried in the family site when he passes away, and the elderly family member reacted with extremely strong anger. It is safe to guess that the anger was triggered by the traditional belief that the “wrong” burial of a family member brings unrest (including mental health concerns) on the family for generations to come. Such beliefs regarding what causes psychological distress has significant influence on the decision to seek or not seek psychological help.

Finally, another important reason for the underuse of mental health services by Asian Americans might be something that concerns our society at large: racism. My research with Asian American college students have revealed that experiencing even subtle forms of racism can lead to more negative views of seeking psychological services. With accumulated experience of racism, perhaps one starts to develop a sense of suspicion toward mainstream services such as mental health services. Interestingly, even the seemingly positive stereotypes of Asian Americans (e.g., Asian Americans being seen as the model minority group) can lead to more hesitancy about seeking professional services, perhaps a reflection of the unhealthy pressure that the model minority stereotype can place upon the individual — to the point of viewing the utilization of professional mental health services as a detriment to expected success.

In sum, my program of research has begun to address the question of why Asian Americans might view psychological services in a negative light. Before closing, I would like to offer two cautionary notes about what I have shared in this piece:

  • The summarized findings should not be used to overgeneralize about all Asian Americans (i.e., homogenizing of Asian Americans). The research trends that I have shared are based on averages, and that means that there are always exceptions.
  • The fact that some of the reasons for the underutilization of mental health services are cultural (e.g., value placed upon emotional restraint) should not be used to draw the conclusion that a culture itself is somehow disordered or “bad” (i.e., pathologizing of culture); on the contrary, there are many ways in which cultural values should be celebrated.

Rather, a better application of the findings is to understand that cultural discrepancies exist in beliefs regarding mental health and find ways to provide services that are culturally sensitive and ultimately helpful to all persons.

To the top

Jenny Vaydich

Vaydich on the immigrant experience

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jenny Vaydich joins the Department of Psychology following a Research Fellow appointment with the Parenting Research Group at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. (Read her bio in Faculty News.) During her time in New Zealand, she had the opportunity to examine culture from multiple perspectives. One project, in particular, allowed her to explore the experiences of Korean immigrant parents and adolescents in New Zealand using focus groups and surveys. Through her discussions with Korean parents and early analysis of the data, two issues related to culture and the immigrant experience emerged:

  • Goals and expectations of current immigrants may be different compared to previous Korean immigrants.
  • Conducting culturally sensitive research may require reconsideration of standard research processes.

The results of the study suggest that Korean immigration today may be different than it was for previous immigrants. For example, parents reported some of the same values and behaviors, such as sending their children to Korean language school. However, the reasons they provided were different than those reported by earlier immigrants. Previous Korean immigrant parents indicated they valued Korean language schools so that their children could learn Korean and remain connected to their cultural heritage. However, many of the parents in this study also emphasized the importance of their children being multilingual so that they could be competitive and successful in a diverse community. These parents indicated their children may be citizens of the world and therefore needed to think globally in terms of their skills and cultural competencies. Many parents themselves reported the intention to either move back to Korea or to another country in the future, further highlighting differences in expectations and goals for their current immigrant experience compared to earlier waves of immigrants. This fits with Hong-Jae Park’s notion of “soft migration,” wherein immigrants’ attitudes and behaviors may be shifting because they no longer expect to settle in a new country for the remainder of their lives. Instead, they are settling for a period of time to provide their children and themselves with educational, employment, or personal opportunities to benefit them in the future.

The second cultural issue that arose was the potential need to re-examine research ethics within the field psychology, as well as the ethical research standards required by educational institutions. Although the processes are designed to protect participants and ensure that no harm is done, they may not always be culturally sensitive. The American Psychological Association has put forth a series of recommendations for conducting culturally appropriate research; however, researchers are still bound by the standard protocols for conducting research and this may not always be appropriate for all groups.

For example, the seemingly simple (and important) process of obtaining written consent to ensure that individuals are voluntarily participating in research may need to be reconsidered. Within Korean culture, consent forms are generally signed in serious situations such as prior to a medical procedure. Therefore, Koreans are typically not accustomed to signing consent forms to participate in research. This resulted in hesitance to sign for consent and constituted a barrier to participation in this study. Although great steps were taken to explain the purpose and minimize any concerns, it posed a considerable challenge. Often, it took the first 30 to 45 minutes of a focus group to get the consent forms signed. While participants would listen to the explanation and nod that they were happy to sign the forms to enable the start of focus groups, they would often try to begin the focus group without signing the form or find many ways to avoid it such as striking up conversations with the person next to them or ignoring the focus group facilitators as they went around the group collecting the forms. It quickly appeared that in order to conduct research ethically according to our discipline, we were in essence conducting research in a culturally inappropriate manner by asking and requiring participants to do something that did not fit within their cultural way of being.

Moreover, it did not help to break down some of the known barriers between researchers and underrepresented groups. The process of recruiting and working with the participants in this project highlighted several issues in which conducting research in an ethical and culturally sensitive manner may require further consideration and dialogue, beginning with how we even conceptualize consent. This and other projects conducted by the Parenting Research Group provided Assistant Professor of Psychology Vaydich with wonderful opportunities to explore culture both professionally and personally during her time in New Zealand. She continues to reflect upon the learnings from these projects, as well as the humbling experience of being an immigrant herself, and looks forward to ongoing discussions on the topic as well as future opportunities to explore families within specific cultural contexts.

To the top


Department News

Immanuel University students visit Seattle Pacific University

During Autumn Quarter 2015, the Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology graduate program hosted students from Immanuel University in Hyderabad, India, for the third consecutive year.

The group included six MBA students and one faculty member; in Seattle, they visited major companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, and Boeing. They also joined SPU’s I-O psychology graduate students through in-class participation and later for fun at Pike Place Market.

Immanuel University is a graduate school with a mission similar to Seattle Pacific University’s: Immanuel University transforms character, builds careers, and enhances creativity by educating and assisting minorities through higher education. Read more.

And read about Dr. Rob McKenna’s trip to India this quarter.

To the top

Dr. Lynette Bikos

Bikos, Smith-Bates, and McDonald receive SERVE Grant

Professor of Clinical Psychology Lynette Bikos, along with co-authors Jacqui Smith-Bates, director of the Center for Calling and Career, and Patrick McDonald, associate professor of philosophy, were awarded an SPU SERVE (Spiritual and Educational Resources for Vocational Exploration) grant for $14,328.

The grant provides funding for graduate career advisors to extend the reach of SPU’s Center for Career and Calling to imbed career exploration activities and opportunities for vocational discernment throughout the campus.

The services are expected to assist in meeting the needs of targeted groups such as arts and sciences majors (e.g., philosophy, sociology) where employment options are not “obvious,” students not accepted into their desired majors (e.g., nursing, biology), international students, and returnees from international immersion learning (and service-learning) programs. Beyond the expansion to targeted groups, our proposed project is well-positioned to explore the integration of theological perspectives on calling and vocation with psychological science. Bikos, Smith-Bates, and McDonald are all members of the provost’s Vocational Initiative Task Force and authored the proposal with the goals of this initiative as a guiding focus.

To the top


Faculty News

McKenna travels to India

By Rob McKenna, Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Once again we traveled to Hyderabad, India, with a team from the Center for Leadership Research & Development (CLRD). When our graduate program launched in 2005, I knew something special was happening, but couldn’t have predicted where it would go and what it would become.

While Industrial-Organizational Psychology is our guild, it provides us with a high-level ticket to play in shaping organizations, our journey has taken us beyond that bread and butter, into some unlikely partnerships and places. Over the past two years, the CLRD has been involved in partnerships that have inspired all of us to think differently about what it means to serve as professionals in the field of I-O psychology. We have had the opportunity to host hundreds of people at CLRD events such as an interactive “Ted” talk conference called YRU; a screening of a documentary film that tells the story of a partnership between a public high school, a church, and the Nike Corporation; and the iTunes launch of the documentary film “Rape for Profit,” that tells the story of hundreds of young women on the streets of Seattle caught in the web of human sex trafficking.

Most recently, we have now sent two teams of professors, business people, and graduate students to India to partner with one of the first universities to offer graduate education to individuals from the tribal areas of India and the “untouchable population” in the caste system. On the ground in India, these teams have worked with faculty establishing effective pedagogy, coaching nearly 50 students on presentation and interviewing skills, and helping the university establish its own foundation for fund raising and scholarships.

I am often asked, “What does all this have to do with leadership and with industrial-organizational psychology?” That question caused me to think deeply about what it means to lead. We are committed to building up leaders in corporations, churches, schools, and communities, who are willing to pay attention to the needs of the people they serve — and to take the initiative to go first, if necessary. This includes awareness of their own blind spots or mistakes as leaders, and taking risks to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, even when it may not be popular to do so.

In Hyderabad, India, our team spoke to hundreds of pastoral leaders who had taken a very rough 20-hour train ride to be at the conference; we met hundreds of leprosy patients in the care of some committed leaders; we passed out 1,000 bracelets made by children in the United States to nearly 700 orphans; and we coached an unlikely bunch of graduate students whose identity has been set into a caste outside the boundaries of society, but who are now entering the mainstream workforce and who will serve as leaders in their communities and beyond.

Bikos’ and De Paul’s publication explores expat health

Crossing cultural boundaries is a frequent focus of research for Professor of Clinical Psychology Lynette Bikos and her advisees. Nicola De Paul ’14 used organizational support theory to investigate the psychological well-being of 159 expatriate health care and humanitarian aid professionals. Results suggested that three factors had a significant effect on psychological well-being. The first is sociocultural adaptation. That is, expats who felt comfortable navigating the interpersonal and environmental intricacies of the host country reported higher psychological well-being. Second, both host- and home-country organizational support facilitated increased psychological well-being. That is, if expats perceived that their sending and receiving organizations were supporting their placement, their well-being was stronger. De Paul’s dissertation was recently published in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations (2015).

To the top

Service Learning in Psychology book cover

Brown publishes Service Learning in Psychology

Professor of Psychology Margaret Brown, along with co-authors Robert Bringle, Roger Reeb, and Ana Ruiz, have a new book published by the American Psychological Association. Slated for November 2015 release, Service Learning in Psychology: Enhancing Undergraduate Education for the Public Good, includes guidelines for designing service-learning courses and integrating them into the undergraduate psychology curriculum.

To the top

Tina Schermer-Sellers

Sellers signs book contract with Routledge Publishers

Director of Medical Family Therapy Program and Instructor of Marriage and Family Therapy Tina Schermer Sellers has signed a book contract with Routledge Publishers for her book, Sex, God and the Conservative Church — Balancing Faith and Sexual Shame. Writes Sellers, this book will walk “clinicians and readers through a critique of Western culture and the conservative Christian church, and their effects on intimate partnerships and sexual lives.”

To the top

Jacob Bentley

SPFC Welcomes Jacob Bentley

Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology Jacob (“Jake”) Bentley comes to Seattle Pacific University after serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

He completed his graduate education at SPU and pre-doctoral clinical internship at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida. He joined Johns Hopkins in 2011 for post-doctoral specialty training in rehabilitation psychology, transitioning into a faculty position in 2012.

He is a board certified rehabilitation psychologist as recognized by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). His current research scholarship is in the areas of chronic disease self-management and international considerations in medical rehabilitation. He maintains an associate appointment in the School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.

Growing up in the South, Bentley says his faith was integral to his culture and family of origin. He has participated in a variety of Christian churches and denominations over the course of his faith journey. He is drawn to faith practices based on core Christian values of peace, compassion, loving service, and social justice. As a graduate student, he attended Seattle’s University Presbyterian Church. He and his family look forward to returning to this church home.

Bentley now lives in Magnolia, one of his favorite Seattle neighborhoods, with his wife, 8-month-old daughter, and two dogs. He says that he and his family are excited to be returning to friends and loved ones in the Pacific Northwest. He and his wife enjoy art, music, and hiking. In his spare time, he also enjoys photography and baseball.

Jacob Bentley, BA, Lee University, 2003; MA, Seattle Pacific University, 2007; PhD, Seattle Pacific University, 2011.

To the top

Jenny Vaydich

Welcome, Jenny Vaydich

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jenny Vaydich joins the School of Psychology, Family, and Community after serving as a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland and teaching for two years in the Department of Psychology at Rhodes College.

Vaydich’s research interests are in developmental psychopathology, bridging clinical and developmental psychology. Her research focuses on the influence of parent-adolescent relationships and parental emotion socialization on adolescent functioning and well-being. She is also interested in the influence of culture on emotion socialization as well as how parent-child relationships are associated with physiological and neuroendocrine functioning. Most recently she has completed projects exploring the experiences of Korean immigrant parents and teenagers in New Zealand, as well as the cultural acceptability of a parenting program for indigenous Māori whānau (families) in New Zealand.

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, and hiking. New to the Northwest, Vaydich says she looks forward to exploring the area and finding a local church community.

Jenny Vaydich, BA, St. Olaf College, 2004; MA, University of Notre Dame, 2008; PhD, University of Notre Dame, 2011.

To the top


Student News

Tatyana Lats

The Outsider

Images she has never seen have indelibly shaped Tatyana’s life. Her grandfather, the first to bring Protestant Christianity to his village in Ukraine, was jailed by the Soviets for his faith. Read her story in the upcoming issue of Response magazine, available November 23.

To the top

close(X)