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Psychology Today

Christian End is, arguably, the most quoted professor on campus. The associate professor of psychology is an expert in understanding the behavior of sports fans, who sometimes seem to defy logic but leave him with an unending source of examples for his research. When the media look for an explanation, they call End. Beginning this summer, he’s also expanding his media coverage. The editors at Psychology Today, the leading journal devoted to understanding what people do and why they do it, asked him to write a monthly blog on sports psychology for its website. His first post is now at psychologytoday.com.

 

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Xavier Magazine

Presidential Task Force Taps Beacham

Love it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act is creating the most dramatic change in the health care industry since, well, the invention of the Band Aid.

All areas of health care are being impacted, including psychology. That’s why the American Psychological Association is tapping Abbie Beacham for help.

The associate professor of psychology and director of clinical training in Xavier’s PsyD program was asked to be one of eight members on a Presidential Task Force that examines how integrating psychologists into primary care clinics could enhance patient health outcomes and reduce overall costs.

The concept of bringing psychologists into primary care clinics—known officially as patient-centered medical homes—is a key component of the ACA. Rather than psychologists working separately from physicians, the plan is to bring the two together in a single clinical setting so patients receive care for both body and mind at the same time—and only get one bill.

“It’s a totally different way of thinking,” Beacham says. “It’s whole-person care, not fragmented care. We’re taking care of all of you.”

Part of Beacham’s task is to help determine how to train psychologists—both those currently in practice as well as those being educated in the field—on the new approach. It’s a paradigm shift, she says, and could be a challenge for some to accept.

“We’re becoming health services providers,” she says, “and not all psychologists see themselves that way.”

The yearlong task force is presenting its findings through a series of articles in both professional journals and mainstream media.

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Xavier Magazine

The Office: Karl Stukenberg

A psychoanalyst and his couch.

Perhaps, next to a barber and his chair, no other object is more connected to a profession.

In the case of Karl Stukenberg, chair and associate professor for the Department of Psychology—and practicing psychoanalyst—the couch in his Elet Hall office may also be the hardest working piece of furniture on campus.

“It’s the couch on which we also meet when I’m talking to faculty, or to students in my role as head of the department.” In other words, the chair sees a lot people on his couch.

“The pillow is pretty worn out. In fact, I probably should replace the entire couch, which is getting a little threadbare.” But, in truth, the professor confesses to being rather attached to his faithful leather companion.

For the size of the office, the couch is surprisingly large. The furniture arrangement also follows classic Freudian guidelines—the analyst (the person preforming analysis) should be able to sit at the head, and out of the vision range, of the analysand (the person undergoing analysis).

True aficionados will also recognize that the embroidered throw pillow and blanket are standard issues based on Sigmund Freud’s original couch, now on display in a London museum.

As far as how many hours the couch has clocked psychoanalytical sessions? “Probably a couple of thousand hours. One hour at a time, four days a week, for a few years.”

And still going strong, as is its pilot. “I’m the department chair and a faculty member—that’s my job. I also need to keep my chops up in order to teach what we do. This is an art as well as a science.”

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Xavier Magazine

Reducing the Stigma: Mental Illness

They say bad things happen in threes. For Debbie Dutton Lambert, it was all too true. She experienced a murder, an attempted suicide and a successful suicide—all in her first semester at Xavier. The experiences left her traumatized. But they also left her more confident in her own resiliency and pointed her to a course of study and a 35-year career as a behavioral health therapist.

Today, Lambert is launching Encompass, a business that jumps into the national debate about gun violence and mental illness by focusing on treating mental illness in the workplace.

“Our society doesn’t want to talk about mental illness,” says Lambert, Class of 1976. “But the shootings and violence are going to continue because the primary issue is the lack of understanding about mental illness. ”

Lambert’s trauma began on a Saturday night in November 1972 when three men entered the campus game room where she was hanging out. They took wallets and cash. When one student looked up, they shot him dead. Weeks later, her roommate attempted suicide over Thanksgiving, and her new roommate ended her life over Christmas. Lambert left Xavier for a semester but came back to study psychology and behavioral health. She also earned an MBA in 1983.

With Encompass, Lambert can help employers mitigate the cost of behavioral health care for their employees through early education and treatment. People get treatment and relief, and businesses reduce the cost of lost productivity. Lambert is excited to be on the cusp of a new approach to improving mental health for workers and feels she’s been preparing for it since her freshman year.

-France Griggs Sloat

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