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Ted R. Bitner

Hampton and Esther Boswell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology

Why Psychology?

Why do people make the choices they make? Does our environment make choices for us and we only react, or are we proactive and in control of our own decisions? These and other similar questions were the impetus for my choosing psychology as a career. After reading Ethics by Spinoza, I was convinced that a further study of psychology would enable me to better answer these questions that had piqued my curiosity.

My subsequent work in psychology has not only helped me answer these questions, but it also ushered me into careers that have been fulfilling and exciting. The study of psychology has helped me answer many of my own questions about life, but has enabled me to guide others in their quests to satisfy many of their curiosities about life as well.

I have been fortunate to not only have practiced clinically, but teach and research as well in the university setting. My experiences in the classroom and being in the university environment informed my clinical practice, and my clinical experience has also informed my teaching, earning the Excellence in Education Award at Ball State University in 2003-04.

I have also been involved in custody evaluation cases, and have been qualified as an expert witness for the Indiana State Public Defender’s Office.


My Research InterestS

Continuing in the pattern of asking why psychology, my dissertation focused on the educational choices secondary students make, and why they make them. I was also interested in the role their parents played in these important decisions that are made at such a young age.

Becoming interested in constructing psychometrically sound instruments used to evaluate learning, teaching, and clinical syndromes, I have published in this area as well. Currently, we are collecting data on a proposed instrument that will aid the clinician in diagnosing Dependent Personality Disorder and other dependency issues.

With the current focus on health issues in America (not only physical, but psychological as well), I have developed interests in the psychological aspects of end-of-life issues including the ethical treatment of patients and families by healthcare systems during this stress filled time of life. Also, I am interested in the ethical use of psychotropic medications and the medical treatment of children who suffer from psychological illnesses.

Currently, I am researching grief in its many forms: normal, anticipatory, and complicated. With some students here at DePauw, I am involved with a large health care system to produce a psychometrically sound and acceptable instrument that will distinguish between complicated grief and normal grief. I believe that feeling grief-stricken is not necessarily a psychological disorder, but a normal part of one’s life experience.


pUBLICATIONS & Presentations

Psychological and Ethical Implications of EOL Issues: Are they the same?
   Presentation to the NEHM National Health Conference, Spring, 2012. (Accepted)

 

Ethical Considerations for the Counseling of Patients and Families in Grief
   Presentation to St John’s Health System, Anderson, IN, Fall, 2010

 

Holiday Depression: What can be done?
   Presentation to NE Indiana Psychological Association, Fall, 2001

 

Validation and Reliability Study on Psychological Aspects of Teacher Behavior
   Presentation to the Mid-West Research Association, Chicago, Fall 1999

 

A Read Aloud Program for At-Risk Kindergarten Children and their Parents. (With Susan Foster)
   Indiana Reading Journal, 30,3,50-55. Summer, 1998

 

Psychological Considerations for Teachers of Incarcerated Students
   Presentation to Indiana Department of Corrections, Fall, 1995

 

Validity and Reliability Measures for a Student Teacher Evaluation Instrument.
   The Teacher Educator, 27,1,Summer, 1991

 

Incorporating Administrative Theory in the Supervision of Student Teachers
   ERIC Documents, 1983