University psychologists share top award

University psychologists share top award

Two University faculty members who are clinical psychologists have received high praise from professional and academic colleagues.

The Nevada State Psychological Association (NSPA) presented The Mikawa Award for Outstanding Psychologist to Victoria Follette, professor and psychology department chair, and Jacqueline Pistorello, Counseling Services clinical psychologist and adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology. The award follows publication of their 2007 book, Finding Life Beyond Trauma: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Heal from Post-Traumatic Stress and Trauma-Related Problems.

The workbook encourages the reader to find ways back into living a fulfilling life after a traumatic event, using the techniques of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to take a different approach to painful feelings. ACT is one of a family of therapies that brings a behaviorally based treatment that incorporates mindfulness, values and committed action into the healing process. The approach helps individuals move past traumatic experiences, even though they can never get rid of their history.

“The Department of Psychology deservedly has earned a national reputation for faculty research and publications,” said Heather Hardy, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. ”Victoria and Jacqueline continually elevate the university’s reputation through their research.”

The NSPA board praised Follette for “her tireless commitment to forging a connection between students, the community and the NSPA organization.”

In addition to the book, Pistorello is concluding a three-year, $600,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, which she shares with Alan Fruzzetti, associate professor of psychology. The NSPA board honored her efforts to apply and research third-wave behavioral approaches, such as ACT and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), in the treatment of college students.

Follette has also been named a 2008 Foundation Professor for teaching and research excellence in trauma survivor therapy. She also specializes in psychotherapy outcomes, domestic violence and conflict in couples.

In 2007, her research was cited 80 times in the work of other scholars and she also received the University’s Silver Compass Award for undergraduate student mentoring.

“There is probably no greater honor than to be recognized by one’s peers, and Victoria is responsible for extraordinary contributions to the discipline of psychology,” Hardy said.

The Nevada State Psychological Association provides public education and services, workplace training, and legislative involvement to promote the mental and emotional well-being of individuals, families and society.

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