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Dena M. Abbott Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychology

2017, Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Texas Woman's University
2012, M.A., Professional Counseling, Texas Wesleyan University
2006, B.A. Psychology, Austin College

As a counseling psychologist, I am deeply committed to using my skills and expertise to promote social change and equity. Feminist and relational-cultural theories inform my practice and mentorship such that I seek to honor the lived experiences, including strengths, identities, and oppression, of those with whom I work. As a person and an educator, I aspire to cultural humility and the lifelong learning process it requires.

With these values in mind, my primary research interests focus on the experiences of secular people in the United States, specifically atheists, and sex-positive studies of human sexuality. Using a concealable stigmatized identity framework, I am interested in the ways in which anti-atheist stigma and discrimination in the U.S. relates to diverse atheists’ psychological well-being. I favor qualitative methodology as I find it most congruent with my desire to contextualize and center the stories of the populations I study.

I am also interested in sex-positive research that emphasizes sexual pleasure, acknowledges diverse sexualities and sexual interests, and positions sex as healthy and normative. The promotion of sexuality training among counseling psychologists and the construct of sexual self-esteem are particular priorities. Additionally, I developed and teach a course in the Psychology of Human Sexuality.

Professional Highlights

Association for Women in PsychologyAtheist Research Collaborative American Psychological Association