The LMU psychology department will be hosting Wednesday Night with a Master Therapist from March 6 to May 1. This event is an excellent opportunity for psychology and non-psychology students alike to learn about new developments in various fields from a wide variety of specialists.

The Master Therapist event series was initially created for students enrolled in the Introduction to Clinical Psychology course here at LMU to gain more of an engaged experience with professional therapists in the community —- some from local universities, others from treatment centers and clinics in the area.

“The first [event] will have Dr. Andrew Christensen, who’s a world-renowned couples’ therapist at UCLA, and I thought, ‘What better way for the students to learn about couples’ therapy than from a really prominent, active couples’ therapist?’” said Dr. Richard Gilbert, professor of psychology at LMU and the organizer of the event.

Having quickly gained traction within the psychology department, the event was later opened to anyone who wanted to attend, regardless of major. Students will be able to ask professional therapists questions about their work. This year, speakers’ topics will include an analysis of obsessive complusive disorder (OCD) and the question of stigmatizing psychological issues as mental illness via a critique of the diagnostic system.

“The last [speaker in the series this year], who I think is really interesting, is Dr. Brenda Wiederhold,” said Gilbert. “She’s probably the most well-known therapist who uses virtual reality exposure therapy. So she’ll talk about the use of technology, virtual reality and augmented reality in clinical psychology.”

The event has also been a way for students outside of the psychology department to exercise what they’ve learned in their own majors to help make the event more accessible and open to the University. For instance, Megan Lau, a film and television production major (‘17), will be there to record the sessions and post them to a YouTube channel for public viewing.

It should be noted ahead of time for any students interested in upcoming talks about trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), OCD, etc. that these talks are not going to be direct forms of self-help or advice on how to cope with these issues. Rather, the speakers will present their research methods and findings and take any questions.

Wednesday Night with a Master Therapist is a opportunity open to any LMU student, whether as a study resource for a psychology class, a chance to learn scientific research outside one’s direct field, a way to practice techniques learned in film and television production or just to hear speakers dive into the work they love and share it with a community of engaged students. The first session will be held March 6 in the Psychology Village, U-Hall 4700, from 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., with Dr. Andrew Christensen, a research professor of psychology at UCLA, discussing couples’ therapy.

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