SPFC Newsletter

School of Psychology, Family, and Community Newsletter

MAY 2015

A Message From the Dean


As this newsletter is prepared we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the June 5 shootings on campus. SPU student Paul Lee was killed, others injured, and the campus was in shock and grief. I mention this because this tragic moment offered a remarkable opportunity for SPFC faculty, staff, students, and alumni to respond constructively in many and varied ways.

Some partnered with the Student Counseling Center to provide a continuing presence in the collegium with traumatized students, while others partnered with HR in debriefing work with stressed faculty and staff. Some provided presence at Harborview Medical Center with families of the injured or with the Lee family. And still others gathered with students in a multitude of settings – from dorms to inviting them home for dinner and comfort.

Even the SPFC conference room was continually stocked with goodies to create a welcoming refuge for any or all who passed by. What a privilege it is to be part of a school committed to rigorous learning, so that we may become effective, compassionate agents in emotional and relational healing and health.

A commitment to such healing and health is our theme throughout this issue. Learn about our unique Living Well Initiative that provides undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students a deeper understanding of persons and families affected by severe, persistent mental illness. Gain an appreciation for the complex variables, currently being studied by Dr. Amy Mezulis and her students, that contribute to teen depression. And take a closer look at the world of adolescents at risk for alcohol and drug abuse through the lens of important preventative research provided by Dr. Dave Stewart and his students.

I invite you to also enjoy the updates on our programs, faculty, students, and alumni. There is much happening at SPFC as we pursue healing and health through learning, research, and practice in the community.

I am respectfully and thankfully yours,

Dean Joseph Williams

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


Top Stories


Mezulis and Team Study Teen Depression

Director of Research and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology Amy Mezulis and her team have launched research on adolescent depression, funded by a $400,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Mezulis and her team, which includes clinical psychology graduate students and psychology undergraduate students, are working to understand how abnormal emotional, physiological, and cognitive responses to stress may predict the development of depression in adolescence. Find out more about the research and about a recent event featuring Dr. Mezulis.

Related: The Paul Lee Foundation Partners With Mezulis
The Paul Lee Foundation plans to partner with Director of Research and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology Amy Mezulis at Seattle Pacific University. Her research on stress and depression in relation to individual and situational differences among college students is vital to identifying those who may be at risk. Women ROCK, her depression-preventive intervention program for female freshman students, has supported the mental and emotional well-being of hundreds of young women during their transitions into college.

Stewart and Students Run Intervention Program

Chair and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology Dave Stewart, along with graduate and undergraduate students, continue to implement Project READY (Reducing the Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on Youth) in local high schools. Project READY is an intervention program that has helped more than 300 teens markedly reduce their alcohol and marijuana use over six years.

Department News


Psychology Department Aligns Curriculum With APA G.O.A.L.S.

The Psychology Department is undergoing a curriculum audit to align our course offerings with the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (2013, Version 2.0). These guidelines provide five broad learning goals including: (1) Grow in knowledge; (2) Obtain scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills; (3) Adopt ethical and socially responsible values that are sensitive to diversity; (4) Learn to communicate effectively; and (5) Succeed with professional‚Äźlevel skills that transfer to the workplace.

We envision these goals mapping onto a trajectory through the major that grounds students in the science of psychology while adopting guild recommendations that identify psychology as a workforce major in as much as it is a graduate study prep major. As educators of undergraduate students, our focus is on student development in each of these areas across the various sub-disciplines within our guild. Moreover, we fully embrace the distinctively Christian liberal arts philosophy of education our comprehensive University was founded upon, and we seek to incorporate such philosophy in working toward these goals. Each of the APA goals is associated with a subset of learning objectives. We are working this year to develop a procedure for assessing each of these learning objectives, which are embedded in many of the courses we offer in our program. We will work to assure that collectively, all of the objectives are assessed by courses we offer in the major and we will remove/rework offerings that no longer align with the modern model of psychology in higher education.

Clinical Psychology Accreditation Renewed

During the 2012–13 academic year, SPU’s School of Psychology, Family, and Community had an accreditation visit, and positive results were announced in 2014. The American Psychological Association re-accredited the PhD in Clinical Psychology program. The program was awarded the maximum number of years before another accreditation visit will be required – seven years.

Marriage and Family Therapy Re-Accreditation

The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) voted to grant Renewal of Accreditation to SPU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program for a period of six years, stretching from May 1, 2015 to May 1, 2021. This is the maximum time frame given for renewal of accreditation.

CLRD Hosted Ministry Leaders for The Nehemiah Project

The Center of Leadership Research and Development in the School of Psychology, Family, and Community recently hosted The Nehemiah Project, a daylong workshop focused on helping ministry leaders and their staffs. The event was co-presented by Rob McKenna, associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology and director of the Center for Leadership Research and Development, and Jason Morriss, the national director of credentialing for the Free Methodist Church of the USA. Here’s more of what the CLRD is doing.

Faculty News


Yost Authors Book

Experience-Driven Leader Development: Models, Tools, Best Practices, and Advice for On-the-Job Development was co-authored by Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Paul Yost (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Dr. Yost provides a compendium of best practices, tools, techniques, and processes for developing leaders in the workplace, with case studies from innovative firms such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Heineken.

Craft Spends Autumn Quarter in Oxford, UK

During his Autumn Quarter 2014 sabbatical, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biology Baine Craft was in Oxford, UK, as a visiting scholar in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University. While there, Dr. Craft worked with renowned professor of behavioral ecology, Alex Kacelnik. In addition, he presented a research talk titled The Effects of Reward Quality on Risk-sensitive Foraging.

Brown Co-Authors Book

Associate Professor of Psychology Margaret Brown co-authored the updated edition of The Self, a text that documents theoretical and empirical understandings of the self in the discipline of psychology. New research and conceptions are juxtaposed with the classic and traditional views of self, providing the reader with a comprehensive introduction to this central area of social psychology. The text will be translated into Chinese and published in Beijing by Posts and Telecom Press, in partnership with Taylor & Francis Group.

Edwards Serves on AAMFT Division Affairs Committee

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy Scott Edwards served on the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Division Affairs Steering Committee in Washington, D.C. From his previous role as chair of the Council of Division Presidents and AAMFT board member, Dr. Edwards was invited along with other leaders from the United States and Canada to attend a working conference for the final stage of the AAMFT Division Affairs Committee. The committee made recommendations regarding the future structure of AAMFT, impacting the profession, training programs, and the public.

Thoburn Featured Speaker

John Thoburn, professor of clinical psychology, was the featured speaker at a trauma conference at the University of Tohoku in Japan earlier this year. Dr. Thoburn’s presentation on trauma treatment and grief was targeted to displaced survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Sellers Invited Speaker

Director of Medical Family Therapy Program and Instructor of Marriage and Family Therapy Tina Schermer Sellers was the invited speaker for the annual spring lecture for Trinity Western’s 2015 Gender Café Series. Her talk, “You Are Beloved and Sex Is Good: What Does a New Covenant Understanding of Sexuality Look Like?,” was hosted in their Northwest Auditorium to a full house of students, faculty, and community members. Dr. Sellers’ talk focused on her research on the impact of the Christian purity movement on the sexual and spiritual health of evangelical Christians. She then went on to share the many sex-positive mystic Judeo/Christian stories revealing a sacred sexual ethic that illuminates the purpose and hope in God’s gift of sexual desire and sexual communion.

McKenna’s Article Published

An article titled “Seeing Leaders Takes Guts” by Rob McKenna, chair and associate professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, appeared in Light and Life magazine earlier this year. Dr. McKenna is the leader of the Develop Leaders Strategy Team for the Free Methodist Church General Conference in Orlando this summer. The article highlights the notion that leaders go first and bear a burden that others do not have to bear. They do courageous things in the face of tremendous opposition, get some credit when things go well, and take the blame when they don’t. At the same time, leaders are editable and willing to have the backspace key pushed on their decisions. They are aware of their strengths and areas that need further refining, are willing to consider personal sacrifices for those in need around them, and are convicted and clear. Read the article

Carpenter’s Paper Published

Instructor of Psychology Tom Carpenter recently published a paper titled “Social Support, Stress, and Suicidal Ideation in Firefighters” in the American Journal of Health Behavior. Co-authors were Portland State University graduate student Grace Stephanie Carpenter; Dr. Nathan Kimbrel with the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Dr. Claire Cammarata with the New York City Fire Department Counseling Services Unit; Dr. Rose Zimering and Dr. Barbara Kamholz with the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System; and Michelle Pennington, Elisa Flynn, and Dr. Suzy Gulliver with the Baylor Scott & White Warriors Research Institute.

Student News


SPFC Faculty and Students Are Well-Represented at the Western Psychological Association

Scholarship, leadership/service, and recognition was provided by (and awarded to) faculty and students from the School of Psychology, Family, and Community at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 30–May 3, 2015.

Lynette Bikos, associate dean and professor of clinical psychology, chaired the symposium, “Positive Psychology: Examining Growth in Unexpected Places.” Two presentations within this panel were presented by Dr. Bikos and her students. Two presentations within this panel were presented by Thane Erickson, associate professor of clinical psychology, and his students.

Twelve posters at the convention included SPFC faculty and students:

  • “A Consensual Qualitative Research Program Evaluation of a Positive Psychology Intervention for Prison Offenders,” Kim H. Huynh, Minhdan Ta, Melissa Gowen, Heather Rodney, and Lynette H. Bikos (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Marital Longevity: A Psychosocial Approach to Marriage,” Heather L. Lucas, Fiona Kurtz, and John W. Thoburn (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Psychosocialcultural-spiritual Experiences of Korean Missionary ‘Kids’: A Qualitative Study,” Paul Kim, Hee-Sun Cheon, and June Hyun (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Jamaican Trauma Conference Informs Development of Sustainable Mental Health Volunteer Services,” Claudine Campbell, Jessica A. Carlile, John W. Thoburn, and David Stewart (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Substance Use in Muslim Culture: Social and Generational Changes in Acceptance and Practice,” Noël Clark, Fiona Kurtz (Seattle Pacific University), Kira Mauseth, Jordancron Skalisky, and Ray Kaffer (Seattle University)
  • “Local Volunteerism and Resilience Following Large-scale Disaster: Outcomes for Health Support Team Volunteers in Haiti,” Jessica A. Carlile, Noël E. Clark, Jeff M. Holguin (Seattle Pacific University), Kira Mauseth, Jennifer Cruz, Ray Kaffer (Seattle University), and John W. Thoburn (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Affective, Behavioral, and Cognitive Dysregulation in Adolescent Binge Drinking Consequences,” Jennifer S. Harris, Sheherezade Krzyzaniak (University of Washington Tacoma), Jacob Manuel (Pacific University), Kelsey Moon (University of Washington Tacoma), Amber Holdren (Palo Alto University), Cristina Davis, Julia Charuhas, Sara Joy (University of Washington Tacoma), and David G. Stewart (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “The Role of Psychological Dysregulation in Adolescent Marijuana Outcomes,” Jennifer S. Harris, Cristina Davis, Julia Charuhas, Sheherezade Krzyzaniak, Kelsey Moon (University of Washington Tacoma), Jacob Manuel (Pacific University), and David G. Stewart (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Predictors of Cannabis Withdrawal in Adolescents,” Jennifer S. Harris, Sara Joy (University of Washington Tacoma), Jacob Manuel (Pacific University), Sheherezade Krzyzaniak, Julia Charuhas, Angie Arett, Ben Johnson, Ashley Garcia, Brayden Stanton, Johari DuPont (University of Washington Tacoma), and David G. Stewart (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Outcomes of Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity in Early Alcohol Use,” Malini Varma, Claudine Campbell, Beth Lehinger, Lindsay Moore, Ashley Estoup, David G. Stewart, and Jennifer S. Harris (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “Psychological Well-being and Emotional Proximity to Trauma,” Lynette H. Bikos, Clara J. Roberts, Chasity O'Connell, and Kaitlin Patton (Seattle Pacific University)
  • “The Association Between Synchrony and Attraction as Mediated by Eye Gaze,” Ryan Hamann, Fiona Kurtz, and Sadie Olson (Seattle Pacific University)
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