Alexander Tatum

Dr. Alexander Tatum, assistant professor of psychology, counseling

Where is your hometown?

Sort of a mix of places. I was born in metro New York, grew up in metro Detroit, and completed high school in a remote area just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Where did you obtain your bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and what were your majors?

BA, computer science, University of Virginia

MS, mental health counseling, Georgia State University

PhD, counseling psychology, Loyola University Chicago

What first interested you in counseling psychology?

My own experiences living in socially conservative areas and subsequently coming out and getting involved with the LGBT community initially drew me to counseling psychology. I became curious about how and why some folks choose to have negative beliefs about LGBT people. I also wanted to better understand the psychology of LGBT health disparities, and how others’ lack of empathy or concern for LGBT issues contributes to these health disparities.

What brought you to Ball State?

Ball State’s counseling psychology program is truly one-of-a-kind. Its focus on health and situation within a College of Health aligns perfectly with where I envision taking my research program. I also have interests in social psychology—specifically, attitudes toward sexual and gender minorities (SGM). I love the unique composition of our department bringing together counseling and social psychologists!

Please describe your role within the department.

Currently, I am teaching the integrated scientist-professional practicum in counseling psychology, which is a first-year doctoral course focused on clinical practice within the field. I provide individual and group supervision to doctoral students working with clients in our department’s practicum clinic and conduct research related to my areas of expertise and interest.

What are your research and teaching interests?

My research interests focus on SGM mental health and workplace concerns and the intersection of sexual health and mental health in the general population. I am passionate about teaching sex therapy and human sexuality, career/vocational psychology, and practicum/internship training courses.

Outside of academia, what are your favorite hobbies?

I consider myself a gamer. I’m partial to Nintendo consoles and grew up playing the N64. The Pokemon series was a significant part of my childhood, and I still play Pokemon Go. I also enjoy running along scenic routes (weather-permitting), I’m fueled by coffee, and I love eating out at Italian restaurants.

What is your favorite fall scent?

Pumpkin spice. Especially in donut form.

What’s your No. 1 recommendation show, movie, podcast, or book?

It’s hard to pick just one! So, I’ll pick one of each. I am a HUGE fan of comedy, so in that vein my favorite TV show is Broad City and my favorite movie is Clue. My podcast and book choices tend to be more professionally-oriented, and I’m currently listening to “Where Should We Begin” by couples therapist Esther Perel. My No. 1 book recommendation is “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, which focuses on living a more authentic life through practicing vulnerability.

If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be and why?

Lettuce, only because it makes for good word play (“let us”), and I like bad dad jokes.

How do you practice self-care?

It’s important for me to stay connected with friends and chosen family that refill my tank so I can come back to work with a renewed passion for what I do.

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