Talking psychology: thoughts from faculty chair Bethany Lohr

July 23, 2018

Bethany Lohr, PhD, is the faculty chair of Capella University’s master’s and doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology, Addiction Psychology, and Sport Psychology.

Here she talks about her path to Capella, the differences between clinical and non-clinical psychology, and the traits that help people succeed across psychology.

Q. How did you arrive at Capella?

A. I got my PhD in Psychology and license to practice clinical psychology at a pretty young age, when I was in my 20s. Initially, I taught at a school in rural Tennessee. But we moved to the Gulf Coast when my husband took a job in the area. The closest brick and mortar school was 1.5 hours away from where we relocated, so I began looking for other teaching options. That’s when I found Capella. It was a perfect match.

Q. What did you like about it?

A. The flexibility was appealing to me as I was reinventing myself and my career. I joined Capella seven years ago and have been chair for four years.

Q. You teach, but you’ve also worked outside the classroom. Why?

A. I enjoy both. Teaching allows me to stay on top of the cutting-edge research, so I can serve patients better. And working with patients helps improve my teaching, because I can draw on real world experience. The two sides to my career play off each other in useful ways.

Q. What kind of work have you done outside the classroom?

A. I did my post-doctoral work in a physical rehabilitation department in a hospital. I’ve conducted competency and sanity evaluations for prisons and jails. I worked as a supervisor at a community health center where addiction was a big focus.

Q. What is the difference between clinical and non-clinical psychology?

A. It comes down to licensure. Clinical implies you’re license eligible, meaning you can hang out your own shingle or see patients in other settings. Non-clinical is about training others or doing research. Your training doesn’t include residencies or the site based learning necessary to get a state license.

Some psychologists want to help people by sitting across from them and listening to them—that’s clinical psychology. Others want to help by doing research or teaching, but not having direct interaction with mental health patients—that’s known as non-clinical psychology.

Take a deeper dive into Understanding the Differences Between Clinical and Non-Clinical Psychology.

Q. What makes Capella’s psychology programs different from most programs?

A. Our online format allows students—especially those from rural areas—to access quality degree programs. That’s important because there’s a great need in rural settings for trained psychologists and master’s level mental health practitioners.

Capella gives students the flexibility to earn a degree without having to uproot their entire life.

Q. What characteristics are key if students want to be successful in psychology?

A. The student body in Capella’s psychology programs is very diverse. But I think to succeed, you have to have good interpersonal skills. We can teach people clinical counseling skills, but if a person doesn’t have good basic interpersonal skills, it may be a challenge for those students to make a career in psychology.

Learn more about Capella’s online psychology programs.

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