Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are sharing the big ideas that make a difference in their world. Steve McAmis, a sophomore studying psychology, has the big idea of de-stigmatizing mental illness. Through the help he’s received at UT’s Counseling Center, he’s learned that mental illness is something you have, not who you are.
Department of Psychology News
As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, romantic relationships are on many of our minds. Experts at UT are offering tips to ensure relationships stay healthy and strong. Kristina Gordon, professor of psychology and director of RelationshipRx, a project seeking to make it easier for couples to take good care of their relationship health, says there are some easy steps people can take to build more intimacy and strengthen their relationships on a daily basis.
Christi Culpepper, a graduate teaching associate in psychology, has a big idea that will make her class a little friendlier. Culpepper teaches Psychology 110, a class of mostly freshmen, and noticed that many of her students did not know anyone else in the class. This semester, she’s putting her students into groups and designing discussion areas on Blackboard so they can talk and get to know each other.
Turns out your first time really matters. Research conducted by Matthew Shaffer, a doctoral psychology student, reveals that the first sexual experience can set the tone for the rest of one’s sexual life. The study is published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy and is the first to look at whether the circumstances of losing one’s virginity have lasting consequences.
A UT study suggests that communicating with children positively after spanking them can cause them to exhibit depressive symptoms. The report was originally published in the journal Child and Adolescent Mental Health and was featured recently in Wired magazine. The study posits that having a parent who is the source of both stress and comfort may confuse children.
Deborah Welsh is the new department head of psychology. She served as associate head for the past year and has been the director of the graduate program in clinical psychology. She is a graduate of the 2010-11 UT’s Women’s Leadership Program.
Kristina Gordon, psychology professor, was interviewed for a lengthy piece entitled “From Promise to Promiscuity” on infidelity in Psychology Today. The national publication spoke to Gordon about her research into the “other woman.”
Relationship Rx, a study by Kristina Gordon, associate professor of psychology at UT was highlighted in the Knoxville News Sentinel. The article interviewed a couple who had undergone the check-up.
After writing a psychology class paper about the photos and stories of Tennessee’s Holocaust survivors from the “Living On” website, student Ryan Johnson decided to take the project a step further, and shared his paper with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. When the commission’s executive director read it, she asked Johnson to present it at Annual Day of Remembrance, held in April in Nashville.
The Department of Psychology’s Counseling Psychology Program received the Innovation in Graduate Education Award from the American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs for its novel curriculum emphasizing social justice and community empowerment in 2012. The award recognizes innovative practices in graduate departments of psychology that have improved the quality of education and training.