Faculty Spotlight: Tricia Chandler, PhD

“I want to make the world and my community a better place to live.”

Professor Tricia Chandler, PhD is a woman on a mission.

Her story is similar to some of her Purdue Global students, where she teaches three classes in the Master of Science in Psychology program. Professor Chandler was a successful artist, and earned her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts, majoring in weaving and print-making. She loved her trade, but when she divorced and had two small children to support, she knew she needed to develop a career to better support her family. “I wasn’t out to make a million dollars,” she said. “I wanted a career that would be satisfying where I could continue to grow and help make the world a better place.”

Professor Chandler always seemed to have a knack for helping others, and was always someone people turned to for advice and to problem solve. She decided to take a leap of faith and move her family from Arizona to Colorado so she could study transpersonal counseling psychology and art therapy, which would combine her two skill sets.

She thrived in her challenging studies, raising her children and working at her school as well.

“I am a lifelong learner and I appreciate the difficulty of getting an advanced education, like many of my students,” she said. She later went back to school and earned her PhD in Psychology.

Throughout her diverse career, Professor Chandler has helped hundreds of people. She has developed programs and supervised graduate interns and counselors. In addition, she created art therapy programs for children, adolescents, and adults.

Professor Chandler also has served as a liaison between psychiatric and detoxification departments in hospital and residential settings and was the clinical supervisor in a treatment facility.

In addition to teaching three classes to Purdue Global graduate psychology students, she is a licensed professional counselor with her own private practice in Colorado. She advises others on holistic methods incorporating the body, mind and spirit, and specializes in co-occurring disorders that treat the whole person, versus mental health and addiction issues that were previously treated separately.

Along the way, Professor Chandler also began to specialize in women who experienced sexual abuse and had posttraumatic stress syndrome. “I have a passion for helping these women heal their lives, from a transpersonal perspective versus the traditional cognitive perspective.”

“I tell my Purdue Global students about these brave woman warriors,” she says. “I want my students to be empathetic and help women fight to get the care they deserve. I have taught at other colleges, and I find my Purdue Global students to be interested in learning from a real-world practitioner with experience and expertise. My students come prepared, engaged and interested in learning—just like me!”

Professor Chandler continued, “We have an energy to our Purdue Global community, not just with the students and professors, but among the faculty as well. We all continue to learn and engage together, and it certainly is reflected in our curriculum, our culture, and our successful graduates!”

Professor Chandler’s goal in her advanced research classes is to make the material understandable, and to bring a layman’s perspective to the sometimes complex terminology. “I hope to inspire my students to really want to do research. I want to take the fear factor out of it and show how it can be so inspiring and empowering!”

When asked what advice she gives to her students, Professor Chandler replied, “They should understand that you’re not going to get wealthy working in this field —that we are here to help and serve others—to make them get better. You will change people’s lives. and that is very powerful. You need to have the desire to continue to grow and learn, to be curious and never stagnant.”

Professor Chandler wrote a paper for Purdue Global about sexual abuse and outlined the long-term effects and hope for effective treatment for victims. When asked about the recent escape and rescue mission of the three girls in Ohio, Professor Chandler said that they will need extensive treatment to address the serious posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, rape, and abuse. “When we look at victims like these girls, we see a higher rate of improvement if they were abducted past their formative years, over 6 or 7 years old. Of course some function better than others. If they had good lives before their kidnapping, then they generally come out of their trauma in better shape. But they will need help for many years.”