B.Sc. Leicester, M.A., Ph.D. British Columbia
Associate Professor; R. Psych.
|Phone: (709) 864-7676|
|Affiliations: Clinical, Developmental
My current focus of interest is social isolation: what leads to people becoming socially isolated, the consequences of isolation, and how we can prevent and alleviate the negative consequences.
My interest in social isolation grew out of my clinical work with children. I was struck by the fact that their social difficulties often persisted after other issues were resolved. Together with colleagues from the Janeway Family Centre, I developed a group play therapy program, KidClub, specifically for children aged 9 to 13 years of age who have no friends. This open-ended program allows the children enrolled to develop a sense of belonging or community with each other, to acquire specific social and play skills through instruction, modeling and feedback, and to enhance their self-esteem. The program involves many volunteer undergraduate and graduate students.
My interest in social isolation is, however, not limited to children. Social isolation is both associated with and contributes to most mental and physical health disorders, as well as affecting caregivers. Understanding more about how social isolation develops, how it exacerbates other problems and what helps to alleviate the issues opens up many research and clinical possibilities.
I carry a small and varied caseload of children and their families, with the children mostly aged from 5 to 12 years of age at time of referral. My orientation is eclectic, with an emphasis on promoting positive development and coping. Families are self-referred or referred by other health professionals.
Undergraduate students are welcome to become involved with KidClub, which runs year-round. Volunteers are expected to commit 4 hours per week to the group, 50% of which is hands on with the children with the remainder devoted to planning and review of the group sessions and skill training. If you are interested in volunteering, you should contact me for more information and an application form. When space becomes available, you will be contacted for an interview. Once accepted as a volunteer, you will need to provide two character reference letters and a certificate of conduct. There is a usually a waitlist of students interested in volunteering for KidClub.
I usually take no more than one Honour’s student per semester. I encourage students to develop their own projects within the scope of my interests. If you have been accepted into the Honours program and are interested in having me supervise your thesis, please contact me to set up an appointment.
Students accepted into the PsyD program are my highest priority for graduate research supervision. I have also supervised students in the experimental psychology program with interests in developmental and social psychology. Students are expected to develop their own research projects within the scope of my interests.