Robin Blair, a former graduate student at Pittsburg State University, has returned to campus, now teaching as a professor of psychology.
Blair holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is excited to return to Pitt State as a graduate professor in the psychology department. She previously attended Pittsburg State University where she earned a general master’s degree. Before becoming a professor at PSU, Blair taught as an associate professor in Azusa, Calif. She took a break from teaching to work in the non-profit sector. After her time in the nonprofit world, she accepted a position inside the psychology department at Pittsburg State University.
“I would say the biggest change I’ve seen when working with undergraduate students is that, depending on the course, you get a wide range of interests,” Blair said. “In general psychology, for example, there are many kids who don’t necessarily want to be there but since it’s a required course they have to. But as you go up in undergraduate classes and you look at seniors you get a more focused group. Often they are people who have already declared psychology as their major. So it’s a whole new ball game when it comes to people who are looking for this to be their career.”
This semester she will be teaching evidence-based interventions, personality assessments, and group therapy techniques. Dr. Blair has seen many changes moving from an associate professor teaching undergraduate students to become a professor teaching graduate-level classes.
While she talked about the many changes she has had to work through in her transition back to teaching, she emphasized her excitement to be teaching again.
“It feels good to be back,” Blair said. “I’m thrilled to be teaching alongside some of my old professors.”
Blair also talked about different topics in psychology she enjoys learning and teaching about, such as trauma and resilience.
“It sounds sad but I like talking, researching, and looking into trauma and resilience,” Blair said. “I am curious about kids and resilience when recovering from trauma in particular. I am interested in trauma in a cross-cultural context and multicultural approaches to therapy as well.”
Blair wants to understand how children and adults cope and work through traumatic experiences and how those events will continue to impact their lives.
“(A topic I like to teach on is) The importance of therapists in training doing their own work to know why they want to do it, what motivates them, and how to do self-care while in grad school and beyond.”
She stressed that it is important that students use the lessons they learn during class in their personal psychological journey. She wants students to be able to handle and work through their mental health so that they will be able to help clients work through their concerns and problems.
“Empathy, being able to put yourself in your client’s shoes is the most important skill in psychology,” Blair said.