Interdisciplinary Education Transforms Approaches to Therapy
Majors: Anthropology of Religion and Psychology
Class of 2014
Krista Robbins, who is currently pursuing a PhD in counseling psychology at Purdue University, brings a unique perspective to therapy because of the interdisciplinary background she gained at Beloit College.
At Beloit, she designed her own major, Anthropology of Religion, which she says gave her autonomy over her education and challenged her to articulate why her passions mattered. As she explained in a recent interview, “Being an interdisciplinary scholar has given me the skills to both see and hold multiple perspectives at once, which is necessary as a therapist-in-training. Although ethnographic methods and participatory research are not common in psychology, they are growing in use within my field. Having an interdisciplinary lens has already positioned me in places the field of counseling psychology is going.”
Krista is used to being on the cutting edge. While at Beloit, she took advantage of grant opportunities and funded international travel that allowed her to travel to Japan and study a Japanese Buddhist ceremony. Recalling that experience, Krista explains, “The process of thoroughly researching this religious practice, designing a research project, and justifying the importance of my research through the funding application provided me foundational research skills which I still use today.” Because of this opportunity, she connected with her current doctoral mentor, one of the few mental health specialists who also uses an anthropological approach. Moreover, her international experiences positioned Krista to take on teaching jobs in Taiwan and South Korea after graduation.
At Purdue, Krista also works part-time as a mental health professional, teaches a service-learning course to undergraduate students, and engages in cultural psychology research. What all her work has in common is building a world that is focused on inclusion, equity, and mental health. “Over time I have come to realize what makes me an effective therapist and cross-cultural researcher is my interdisciplinary lens,” Krista says. “That lens was fostered in multiple ways at Beloit.”