What More Can be Done for College Students With Autism?

 

Being a college student with autism can be quite challenging, research shows. In addition to the typical struggles that come with adjusting to the more rigorous but less structured demands of university classes, and the life changes of moving away from home and making new friends, young adults on the autism spectrum (ASD) tend to struggle with deficits in sensory processing, social skills, and executive functioning. While they can take advantage of therapeutic resources and government-mandated accommodations to address these concerns, there is more that can be done, according to BYU professors Mikle South and Jonathan Cox.

Mikle South
Photo by: Cheryl C. Fowers/BYU
Copyright BYU PHOTO 2007
All Rights Reserved

South, who is an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, and Cox, an associate clinical professor, analyzed two-decades’ worth of patient records from the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center to discover the effectiveness of therapy for autistic students as opposed to their neuro-typical peers. They found that the students with autism generally took twice as long and required significantly more therapy sessions to achieve degrees of improvement comparable to their non-autistic peer. In the United States in general, the graduation rate of college students with autism is 18 percent lower than that of the general population.

In an October 2017 Spectrum article, South and Cox suggest that, while BYU and other universities offer therapy groups and accommodations to bring more of them closer to graduation and farther from their difficulties, some universities have implemented other effective non-therapeutic measures, and there are more that can be taken that are more suited to the specific needs of people on the ASD spectrum.

What Can Be Done

“In large institutions,” say South and Cox, “the [social, mental, and organizational needs of people with autism] can easily be missed by everyone, including the parents of these students.” To address those needs, they suggest that universities offer programs like one provided at Utah Valley University. Passages includes weekly skill-building meetings, recreational and social activities like hikes and movie nights, and regular workshops for families. In addition, they say that universities can consider training aides in executive functioning coaching.

Too, they offer, “It may be possible to create safe spaces— areas with minimal sensory stimulation—for taking exams and other activities. And our data suggest that extending treatment limits for people with autism can lead to substantial improvements in well-being while decreasing costs associated with student failure.”

“Generating the institutional willpower to improve support for students on the spectrum requires advocacy, creativity and flexibility,” they continue. “Administrators and others should take the time to learn about autism and push for change. Autism is not rare; every college has many students with autism who can succeed with a little help.”

What We Know

South and Cox’s suggestions add to the large body of expertise produced by research group Autism Connect, whose purpose is to help everyone see autism as “a collection of disorders where each individual has unique symptoms.” These professors and researchers seek to improve the lives of individuals and families with autism spectrum disorders through research so that new understanding and symptom-specific treatments can be developed. Doctor South focuses his research on the relationship between anxiety and ASD. Using MRI and EEG brain imaging, South and his peers have found that people with ASD may have difficulties understanding their emotions and the safety of situations. These individuals may assume that everything is threatening and adopt anxiety as a default emotion. This anxiety may be a connection between ASD and aggression.

This research can help individuals and families get the help and assistance they need sooner rather than later, helping to decrease distress and isolation among families and individuals who have ASD.

 

 

Toward Finding New Perspectives for Psychologists by Acknowledging World Views

“For fish to understand the water of their environment, it’s not enough to describe different types of water,” says BYU psychology professor Brent D. Slife and his collegues in their new book The Hidden Worldviews of Psychology’s Theory, Research, and Practice. “The fish will not properly appreciate the environment they literally breathe through their gills until they have experienced a truly stark contrast, such as being jerked from the water altogether” (27). They argue that, like fish, people, and psychologists in particular, cannot appreciate the environments they are a part of unless they experience stark contrasts.  They would say that in general, neither individuals nor psychologists fully understand and recognize their unique worldviews and how they shape them as individuals and participants in the field of psychology.

World views are defined by psychologist Mark Koltko-Rivera as “a set of beliefs that includes statements and assumptions regarding what exists and what does not…, what objectives or experiences are good or bad, and what objectives, behaviors, and relationships are desirable or undesirable…. World views include assumptions that may be unproven, and even be unprovable, but these assumptions are subordinate in that they provide the epistemic and ontological foundations for other beliefs within a belief system” (2). World views create the “foundation” for everything we accept and believe.

It is monumentally important, say Slife et al, that people not simply know what a worldview is but that they sensitize themselves to all majority and minority world views so as to enrich their psychological state and the field of psychology as a whole. In most psychological settings today, psychologists are asked to separate their personal biases, or worldviews, from the study being done or the client being assessed, but this simply cannot be done. “It is not possible for [psychologists] to empty their brains of theories and worldview influences,” writes Slife’s colleague Kari A. O’Grady. “Their choice[s] of topic and methodology are inevitably informed by theory and reflect biases: their grandmother’s philosophies, internet blogs, professors’ positions, and childhood experiences, to name just a few” (45). Worldviews are unarguably attached to all aspects of psychology in the following areas:

The General Discipline of Psychology

“Psychology is the product of a particular culture, which has been referred to as primarily WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic)” (58). The secularized history of psychology has likewise favored naturalistic over theistic approaches. “Many aspects of naturalism are so endemic to psychology’s methods that they are not understood or even recognized to exist as a [world influence]” (48). This influence has set a concrete need for generalization, separation of subjective and objective, and to detect causality in psychology, but these “needs” are not needed in every world view, just the one grandfathered in by psychology. This limits the field of psychology to a singular set of perspectives and demands rather than specific needs that are unique to different peoples and facets of the field.

Methodology and Psychotherapy

A large majority of psychotherapy methodology is based off of the Liberal Individualism and Strong Relationism worldviews. Therapists not imposing their own beliefs on their clients, the use of self-empowerment in therapy, prioritizing the individual, and seeing a client outside of their personal environment, in a therapy room for example, are all based on Individualism beliefs. Family and group therapy aimed at improving relationships is based on Relationism. These methods and ideologies are often taught and exercised, but never questioned, closing the door on minority worldviews and perspectives and possible approaches to therapy that are not included in these two majority worldviews.

Research

Psychologists assume that objectivity in all cases is the best option, but as we’ve stated before, implying that a scientist, psychologist, or client has no worldviews is illogical. When an author of a cross-cultural study, for instance, “said that worldviews of other cultures ‘count,’ they neglected to count in their own worldviews” (59). When we study a different people or culture “we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” (63).

Education and Training

“The norms of [undergraduate and graduate training] are tacitly perceived and internalized, and by such means, contemporary graduate education forms its students into a certain kind of ethical participant, one who has taken on the normative beliefs, values, attitudes, and practices of one’s discipline…so that they too can become a reliable informant and a trusted member of the intellectual majority” (18-19).

The fact that the field of psychology itself is defined by worldviews should be enough to show that it is impossible for people—including psychologists—to live their lives in a worldview-neutral way. The fish cannot stay in its own little world and the field of psychology cannot continue in its blind state ignoring all forms of opposing worldviews. It may be human to guard ourselves against new or different views, but it is inhumane to stop others’ stories and opinions from being shared.

In an attempt to keep psychology “pure,”  a “reflexivity problem” has formed, says Slife. Psychologists might diagnose patients having minority worldviews with blindness and biases, but fails to see their own blindnesses. Minority worldviews exist, however, and are here and waiting to be heard. When psychologists hear and listen to diverse worldviews, psychology will have more sophisticated research, increased sensitivity in treatment, increased empathy towards clients, a decrease in the transfer of bias, increased policy transparency, more diverse ideas and perspectives on research and analysis, and increased efficacy in social programs (6-7).

Worldview awareness and coexistence is where psychology needs to be heading. “It’s where psychologists are allowed to be themselves, to come out of their respective worldview closets, and to openly explore the connections between their psychologies and their deepest convictions” (76). “It’s only when different worldview communities are treated in accord with the ethical and democratic values expressed [in this book] that these conditions will be possible. And all boats will rise. The recognizing and nurturing of all worldviews will create a space where all people of all worldviews can contribute to the field to make psychology more inclusive, integrated, and helpful.

 

How can you better recognize and accept other’s worldviews?

 

 

 

 

 

Why BYU Students Should Read Fiction and Nonfiction… For Fun

“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” Stephen King said. But the problem is that most people don’t read for fun, and that means that they’re missing out on literary magic. A recent survey by the National Endowment for the Arts suggested that only 43 percent of adults read a work of literature in 2015. The survey excluded assigned reading to focus on people who read for fun, and the results revealed the lowest percentage of adult readers since the NEA began tracking reader data in 1982.

BYU students are no exception. Between their classes, homework, part-time jobs, and social lives, few students pick up books to read for pleasure. One article published by The Daily Universe suggested that students prefer reading during the summer, when they have much lighter loads. But what are the benefits of reading fiction, and why should you do it as often as possible? New psychological research suggests that readers are more empathetic than other people are, probably because reading trains the mind to put itself in other people’s shoes. Those findings have been replicated by many studies in the past few years.

FHSS has a reading list on its website, and we’re going to suggest two of our recent favorites to our readers. These are works of non-fiction written by our own professors, but they provide food for thought and fun.

  • A World Ablaze, by history professor Craig Harline. This book tells Martin Luther’s story, but it’s no history textbook. A World Ablaze reads like a work of fiction, and Harline’s storytelling will keep you flipping pages all the way to the end. Keep checking our blog for more information; we’ll publish a detailed post about the book next week.
  • Friends are fun, and psychology professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad wrote a chapter in a recent book about the psychology of friendship, about what it means to be a friend and how we can befriend those across the race, ethnicity, gender, and orientation spectrums. This chapter also addresses what happens when a friendship turns sour, the effect of friendship on our mental health.

One of the most valuable things college students can learn is how to find books that interest them. Luckily, the Harold B. Lee Library ranks among the best college libraries in the nation, so you can find thousands of titles right on campus. You could also check out Pioneer Book on Center Street or purchase books through Amazon. If you don’t know what kind of books you yourself might be interested in, you might want to ask your roommates or favorite professors what they’re currently reading. For book recommendations, search #bookreviews, #amreading, #booknerd, or #bookstagram on Instagram.

What’s your favorite recent read?

Let us know in the comments section!

Tackling Mental Health with a Psychologist and College Quarterback

What do you think of when you hear the words “mental health?” For many people, there’s a stigma attached to depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, or any other form of mental illness, but these illnesses are real, and they are widespread. Luckily, more and more people are raising their voices to talk about their experiences with mental illness. You probably first heard of one such BYU student in September 2015 when he threw a Hail Mary to secure BYU’s victory over Nebraska, featured on ESPN. In an April 2017 Instagram post, “Miracle Mangum,” this year’s starting quarterback Tanner Mangum, spoke out about his struggles with depression and anxiety.

Now, a new CBS Sports video features the quarterback as he discusses more about his mental health. Dr. Michael Larson, a clinical neuropsychologist from FHSS‘s Psychology Department, appears in the video to elaborate on the science of mental illness. “Most mental illness tends to start between the ages of 18 and 24,” Dr. Larson says. It often manifests itself as young adults move away from home and live on their own for the first time.


Dr. Larson also addressed the myths that learning to “toughen up” or realizing “it’s just in your head” will cure mental illness. “The truth is that depression and anxiety have actual changes in the brain that are associated with these mental illnesses,” he explained.

Depression and anxiety may result from a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and social factors, according to the American Psychological Association. And mental illness may occur if there are problems with the function of a particular brain region or as neurons send messages via neurotransmitters, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services Office offers many resources and services to students with mental illnesses, and our Comprehensive Clinic provides counseling and therapy to members of the community dealing with mental illness. The office lets students make appointments with counselors, complete online courses on stress management, and enroll in student development classes, among other things.

Has mental illness affected you? How can friends and family members support individuals with mental illness?

Let us know in the comments, and don’t hesitate to share resources or tips.

Infants with Siblings on the Autism Spectrum are more Likely to Repeat Tasks, Student Finds

The fact that, as of 2012, the prevalence of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) had increased from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 68, according to the CDC, is alarming. In response to that, BYU’s Family, Home, and Social Sciences college has sponsored a variety of programs, research, and events meant to cast more light on the effects of the disorder and on better treatments, some of which we discussed here, in our last issue of Connections. Perhaps of equal concern, though, is that some research demonstrates a possible connection between children who have a sibling with ASD and a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disorder.

BYU Psychology student and Fulton Conference participant Katherine Christensen, under the guidance of Dr. Rebecca Lundwall, found that “infant siblings of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder have higher perseveration,” meaning that these infants tended to redundantly or insistently repeat tasks more than infants who didn’t have siblings with ASD. The implications of this study for earlier diagnosis and intervention are big, says Katherine: “I hope that in the future, the computer task that we used in the current study could be used as a screening device that could discriminate between high- and low-risk populations for ASD. If the computer task is able to do so, it could potentially help with earlier diagnosis and intervention for children with a higher risk for developing attentional disorders. Earlier treatment allows for a better prognosis.”

Fulton_Psych
Katherine Christensen’s Fulton poster

 

Katherine’s Connection

What made Katherine want to study ASD? In her own words, “I have grown up with a sister with developmental disabilities, and so the topic was interesting to me given my experience growing up with her.”

The Fulton Conference

Of her experience with the Fulton Conference, a college-wide event held every April highlighting students’ research projects, Katherine said: “I had a great time at the Fulton Conference. I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to get experience researching and presenting research in an open and friendly environment. I thank Dr. Lundwall for allowing me to be on her team and trusting me to present her research. It was neat to be able to see some of the other research in the FHSS school disciplines. I liked walking around and seeing and hearing from other students who are involved in research with other professors!”

Helping Families with ASD

In their 2005 book Helping and Healing our Families, professors Karen W. Hahne and Tina Taylor Dyches suggest the following, for those not affected by ASD who want to help those who are:

  • Offer respite care to families who are unable to attend church.
  • Provide transportation to church, activities, or other functions.
  • Ask parents of children with disabilities and service providers to give in-service training to auxiliary and priesthood leaders
  • Set high, rather than low, expectations for children with disabilities.
  • Express your love for the family, even if you cannot empathize fully.
  • Listen to parents’ concerns without judging their parenting skills.

How have you helped families affected by ASD?

Black and white feature image courtesy of Flickr.

Christina Riley: Fulbright Scholarship Recipient

Christina Riley, a recent BYU Applied Social Psychology doctoral candidate, has recently been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. With it, she intends to work in India, studying the likelihood of physical abuse in that country.  Her interest in helping resolve social justice issues like domestic violence effectively through prevention efforts is what drove her to apply for the scholarship, and what drives her research. She’s published five papers examining effective domestic violence prevention programs cross-culturally, as well as the social factors that contribute to domestic violence perpetration, as well as gender roles and obesity.

Who is Christina Riley?

Riley is a graduate of Baylor University with a degree in psychology and two minors in English and World Affairs. She came to BYU to pursue a PhD in psychology. While here, Riley has taught the online version of Intro to Psychology, Developmental Psychology: Lifespan, and a Peer Mentoring Capstone. She plans on going into “…into academia for research and teaching…[and]…to collaborate with international research agencies and NGOs focused on ending violence against women.”

What is a Fulbright Scholarship?

The scholarship that will be the catalyst for her dynamic research is one of many awarded by the J. Williams Fulbright Scholarship Board, whose members are all appointed by U.S. presidents. Each year, it gives around 1,900 grants and works in over 140 countries. It is administered overseas by bi-national commissions and U.S. embassies, who all work to increase mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and of other countries through exchange. In a time when both the physical and virtual worlds are more accessible that they have ever been, such increased, mutual understanding, acquired by as many students as possible, is perhaps more important than it has ever been. BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences is not only proud of Christina, but interested in making sure that other students know about this great opportunity. To that end, the college hosted events in March to increase awareness and facilitate application preparations.

At that meeting on campus, Lee Rivers, an outreach specialist for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program and other international scholarship programs, encouraged students to consider applying for the next round of Fulbright scholarships, as the next deadline for applications will be in October 2017.  During their grants, Rivers said, Fulbrighters will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences.  “The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with their hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.”

Other Students Are Encouraged to Apply

All of the following are encouraged to apply to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program:

  • graduating seniors and recent bachelor’s-degree recipients that have some undergraduate preparation and/or direct work or internship experience related to the project.
  • master’s and doctoral candidates who can demonstrate the capacity for independent study or research, together with a general knowledge of the history, culture, and current events of the countries to which they would like to apply
  • Young professionals, including writers, creative and performing artists, journalists, and those in law, business, and other professional fields   Competitive candidates who have up to 5 years of professional study and/or experience in the field in which they would like to apply will be considered. Those with more than 5 years of experience should apply to the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

More information on the scholarship program can be found at us.fulbrightonline.org. This programprovides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.” The research will take place outside of the United States. Applications can be found here.

The Fulbright Scholarship

The Fulbright Scholarship was proposed in 1945 and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. A student does not need to be currently enrolled in an institute of higher education to apply. They can apply for two kinds of grants, based on their desire to do independent research or study abroad, or to teach English abroad. Each grant funds 8 to 10 months of work. The grant funds round-trip airfare and provides a monthly stipend, as well as accident and sickness insurance and other possible benefits.

 

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

 

 

 

Clinical Psychology PhD Receive Prestigious Post Docs in Pediatric Neuropsychology

Two BYU clinical psychology PhD graduates,  Ashley Levan and Ann Clawson, received prestigious post docs in pediatric neuropsychology.

Ashley Levan

Capturelkj;lkj;lkjLevan received her PhD in clinical psychology from BYU in 2016. Her dissertation research studied children with epileptic and non-epileptic seizures and learned how their social and executive functioning skills were affected by those seizures. Levan also researched social and cognitive functioning following traumatic brain injury in children.

Levan has practiced and researched at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Children’s National is a leading clinical and research institution, ranked best in the nation for children, and has been around since 1870.  Dr. Levan was accepted into the Pediatric Neuropsychology concussion and mild traumatic brain injury track.

As a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s National Medical Center, Levan’s clinical work focused on completing neuropsychological evaluations with children and adolescents with concussion, autism spectrum disorders, and additional neurodevelopmental and acquired conditions, according to Leesa Scott of the psychology department.  Levan also examines academic outcomes in pediatric concussion populations.

Ann Clawson

annclawson

At BYU, Clawson graduated in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral program with an emphasis in neuropsychology. She continues her training as a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Kennedy Krieger Institute is an internationally recognized facility dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with pediatric developmental disabilities through patient care, special education, research and professional training.

In her post doc program, Clawson is developing skills and knowledge through working with a variety of children and youth in the oncology, genetic/congenital, and epilepsy clinics. Clawson is receiving specialized training in autism spectrum disorder. She continues her research in autism and am currently involved in a project examining neuropsychological outcomes in autism.

“I am incredibly grateful for my current opportunities, and for all those at BYU whose guidance and support have helped me succeed,” Clawson said.

 

We’re proud of the great work Doctors Levan and Clawson are doing to expand knowledge of pediatric psychology and development!

New Faculty Spotlight: Kat Green

Many people look at a crying child and see a nuisance. Kat Green sees a chance to make a difference.

A new professional track faculty member of the Psychology Department in BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Dr. Green is excited for the opportunities that her position will afford her to influence the lives of children. “While my focus is on teaching, mentoring, and training,” she said, “I am also committed to supporting ongoing research, particularly in my areas of specialization and more broadly in anything related to improving outcomes for children and families.”

child-538029_1280Dr. Green’s areas of specialization include childhood anxiety disorders, preschool disruptive behavior concerns, and clinical supervision–disciplines which can have a tremendous impact on the life of a child. “I am interested in collaborating with students and faculty across departments to find ways to improve assessment for young children,” she said, adding that the disseminating of research into community settings will be crucial for her work.

For Dr. Green, it’s all about the children. “I’ve always been interested in working with children and families and finding ways to disseminate information about evidence-based interventions to [them] . . . I find that working with kids allows me to be a part of a broader team, including parents, other caregivers, teachers, pediatricians, speech and language therapists, and many others to help promote children’s success,” she said. Dr. Green graduated from the Department of Psychology here at BYU, with a bachelor’s in 2009 and a PhD in 2014. From there, she spent time at the Texas Children’s hospital before making the transition to a faculty position at BYU over the summer.

“BYU has an excellent psychology department and graduate training program,” she said, citing the school’s excellence as a main factor in her decision to return to Provo. “I was excited to have an opportunity to teach and mentor alongside great faculty and help prepare students to pursue ongoing training in the field. Speaking of her students, she says: “I . . . work with a great group of students. [They’re] the best part about teaching at BYU. I am always open to visiting with any students about questions related to clinical child psychology,” she said, “whether it be questions about graduate school, training, research or career options.”

Dr. Green and her husband have one baby girl, eight months old, whom they describe as “fabulous.” The Green family enjoys doing anything together, especially if it’s outside–“until it gets too cold,” Dr. Green quipped. “[And] since we moved back from Houston, it feels too cold already.”

 

Check out more of our awesome new faculty here and here!

On Insomnia and Mood Disorders: Dr. Daniel Kay

Gayle Greene, author of Insomniac, describes her experience with insomnia: “I don’t manage this beast, I live with it. I live around it. I bed down with it every night, gingerly, cautiously, careful not to provoke it. I do my best to placate it, domesticate it, dull its claws, avoid its fangs, knowing that at any moment it can pounce on me and tear me to bits.”

kay-danielAccording to National Public Radio, sixty million Americans struggle with insomnia each year. Yet scientists know relatively little about its causes and cures; it is a relatively new field of study. Dr. Daniel Kay, the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences’ newest professor in the Psychology Department, has been researching sleep since 2003 with the aim of understanding the relationship between insomnia and mood disorders. He hopes it will lead to new preventative and therapeutic treatments for mood disorders and insomnia.

During his undergraduate at Washington State University, Dr. Kay studied the “local sleep hypothesis,” which is the idea that sleep is regulated in specific regions of the brain rather than across the entire brain. His senior project explored how regionalized sleep disturbance, or the inability of one part of the brain to sleep, related to mental illness.

Dr. Kay currently teaches Intro to Psychology, which he will also teach next semester.  He will teach Research Methods in Psychology next semester as well. He was raised in Independence, MO. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Janene, for 14 years and they have four children, ages 6-12.  If he has an hour of free time, he watches movies.

Welcome Dr. Daniel Kay!

Have you met another new faculty member, Dr. Jon Felt?

Do you have trouble sleeping?

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Faculty News: Dr. Melissa Goates Jones, on Balance

The biggest surprise of Melissa Goates Jones’ life happened when she became a mother. “I found myself absolutely blown away by how much I loved being a mother,” she says on Aspiring Mormon Women. “I expected that I would have children because that’s what I ‘should do.’ I had no idea that being a mother would be something for which I felt a deep…longing.” As a career woman and a PhD, she says that this realization was “disorienting.” “Suddenly I was faced with feeling like my interest and passion was split between two important and exciting opportunities,” she says. Her traversal of that division has become, over the years, something she’s embraced. She teaches about women’s issues in their careers. She is also a new professor in our psychology department and a psychologist in private practice, where she helps many others seeking to find balance in their lives.

Jones, Melissa 1607-88 061607-88 Melissa Jones portraitPsycologyPhotography by Todd Wakefield / BYU© BYU PHOTO 2016All Rights Reservedphoto@byu.edu  (801)422-7322
All Rights Reserved

To a certain extent, she says that finding balance may come for some by embracing the possibility that the perfect balance does not exist. “The stress I feel at arranging carpools, throwing together dinner for my family, and struggling to prepare for that early-morning lecture after the kids are in bed has become a testament to the privilege I enjoy of being able to arrange my life around the things I care for the most.”

In her role as a faculty member, she researches issues in women’s health, especially surrounding abuse and trauma. She looks at how the psychotherapy process and outcome affects women’s career development.  She leads a group for women survivors of sexual abuse.  Of that role, she says:

“Survivors will have a large variety of emotions, and those emotions will change and develop in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years following the assault. Recent research by Rebecca Campbell at Michigan State University suggests that survivors of sexual assault may respond in a variety of ways that do not always make sense to the observer because of how trauma affects memory, cognition, and emotion. These effects can last for 96 hours after the assault AND be evident whenever memory of the assault is triggered.”

She also teaches several psychology classes, and next semester she will teach an integrative psychology practicum as well as clinical research in psychology. She received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland after completing her undergraduate degree in from BYU. Professor Jones is from Canada, has been married to Marshall Jones for thirteen years, and has four children.