Former Psy.D. student, professor among those published

Professor Sarah Hastings works with students.

Radford University Professor of Psychology Sarah Hastings urges students to think about where they want to be - including desired career and locality - five years to a decade down the line.

Jackie Mullins, now a Psy.D. graduate, took that advice to heart as a student. She collaborated with Hastings on a book chapter regarding the role of physical location in relation to personal development, including other factors that may have influenced well-being.

“We used this approach as a springboard to consider the role of place for our patients, and the impact of community support, family ties, safety and alignment between one’s developmental stage of life and the contributions of the environment,” Hastings said.

“Our goal was to help clinicians-in-training consider how place not only impacts their own well-being, but how it impacts their patients, and to consider the ways the environment supports patients in meeting their basic human needs and enhancing their well-being,” Hastings continued.

The publication appears in “Keeping Reflection Fresh: A Practical Guide for Clinical Educators.”

The idea for the chapter sprung from the ranking of county health outcomes organized by state, which is published yearly by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“These maps have always fascinated me, and I use them in class to engage my students in thinking about what the distributions might mean,” Hastings said. “We explore factors such as population density, climate, geographical barriers, access to interstate highways, outdoor recreation and economic development and how these might contribute to health outcomes.”

The connections supplied by this data led to Hastings and Mullins examining local differences in county health rankings and helping students consider the role of place in the personal and professional development.

"Reflection is an important skill to learn,” Hastings said. “It helps us stay focused on what is most important to us in life and to determine whether we are maximizing our resources toward the greatest good. If things feel off-kilter, it’s important to act when and where we can. If we are living out our values, we are more likely to be satisfied and productive.”

Another Department of Psychology faculty member, Assistant Professor Nicholas Lee, had two articles recently accepted for publication.

One of the articles is a conceptual paper, sparked by the idea of being a faculty member who maintains an active clinical presence while also researching clinical practices. Lee worked with Professor Paul Spengler of Ball State University on the article.

“We proposed a model for doctoral students in counseling psychology as they develop into fully-formed ‘scientist-practitioners,’ where they integrate scholarship and clinical practice in a reciprocal fashion. We proposed six stages of development by sharing our own stories of how this developed – and is continuing to develop – in us. We do this by sharing our own stories as couple’s therapists.”

First-hand experience like this allows for students to get a glimpse of life as a practitioner and how research can be infused into clinical work.  

“At Radford, we strive to produce doctoral-level psychologists who can take what is known from the best available research and then translate and disseminate this to the community via their clinical work,” Lee said. “This is exactly what psychological science is supposed to do — benefit real-life people in real-life settings.”

Mar 22, 2017
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749