We interviewed an expert guest, Dr. Sarah Victor, about the important topic of lived mental illness experience in the fields of clinical, counseling, and school psychology. Dr. Victor and her collaborators found that 82% of clinical, counseling, and school psychology faculty and trainees in their sample reported having lifetime mental health difficulties, while 48% reported that they had been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. The empirical study was accompanied by a commentary paper that points to the importance of improving inclusivity in these fields through specific recommendations for change. Our discussion focused on barriers and reasons that stigma and prejudice persist even in fields that are supposed to know and do better. We concluded with Dr. Victor’s hopes for future directions in the field with regard to recognition and acceptance of lived mental illness experiences in clinical, counseling, and school psychology.
About Our Expert Guest
Dr. Sarah Victor (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at Texas Tech University. Dr. Victor completed her undergraduate training in psychology at Stanford University (BA 2008) and her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (MA 2010, PhD 2017). Dr. Victor completed her doctoral internship and postdoctoral training in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Western Psychiatric Hospital) prior to her faculty position.
Dr. Victor is a clinical psychologist whose research and clinical work is focused on understanding and addressing non-suicidal self-injury and suicide. In her research, she uses ecological momentary assessment to examine real world predictors of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors as they occur in daily life. Her work is particularly focused on understanding these experiences in high-risk and marginalized groups, such as people leaving inpatient psychiatric treatment and transgender and gender diverse individuals. In addition, she conducts research and advocacy on psychologists and trainees with mental health difficulties, in the hopes of creating a more inclusive field with respect to these common and often stigmatized experiences.
Follow Dr. Victor on Twitter and check out her website!
The papers we discussed are:
1) Only Human: Mental Health Difficulties among Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology Faculty and Trainees
2) Leveraging the Strengths of Psychologists with Lived Experience of Mental Illness
Mental Health Resources
Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight