Rebekah Smart, Ph.D.
I am so happy to have been a part of this faculty and department for over fifteen years now. Our commitment to our work, and to each other personally and professionally, continues to inspire me to grow as a person and as a professor.
Born a U.S. citizen but raised outside the United States, I grew up with a sense of being both an insider and an outsider. As a teenager, I had a strong interest in U.S. history, particularly the civil rights and women’s movements, as well as workers’ rights and union movements. I moved to the U.S. at 18 years old and later obtained a degree in psychology from Mount St. Mary’s, a women’s college in Los Angeles. My interests began to take more shape at that point, and I eventually found a home in counseling psychology. I received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology in 1999, supplemented by a certificate in gender studies, from the University of Southern California. Consistent with my identification with multicultural/intersectional feminism, my approach to teaching, research, and clinical work includes the examination of societal influences and oppressive experiences on mental health. My personal commitment to meditation and mindfulness practices has influenced my work as well.
I commute from Los Angeles and live with my husband, David, and our wonderful golden retriever, Luciano (better known as “Louie” or “Lulu”). Walking and hiking are favorite pastimes, as well as travel, food, cooking, and being with friends.
Teaching in the counseling field is incredibly stimulating and has always been a growth process for me. I have equal interests in clinical work and research and so have tended to teach both clinical classes (e.g., diagnosis and assessment; crisis and trauma) and both of our research classes. My approach to teaching continues to evolve and has been rooted in humanism, social constructionism, and multicultural/intersectional feminism. I work to model humility, strength, humor, and good boundaries, and to provide an environment that is both challenging and supportive, one that encourages both compassion and critical thinking.
Due to my clinical experience and interests in the intersection of gender and culture, much of my research has been qualitative and focused on eating disorders and body image disturbance (across genders and cultures). I have frequently worked with a professor in our college’s Human Services department, Dr. Yuying Tsong, regarding eating and body dissatisfaction among Asian American women. I have also applied my interests in mindfulness to the study of mindful eating. Most recently, I have worked on issues of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement. I have almost always involved graduate students in my research, usually to work on team analysis of narrative data, and sometimes to publish together.
I am a licensed psychologist and have worked in a variety of settings, predominantly with adults. Prior to joining the faculty at CSUF in 2005, I worked as a staff psychologist in the counseling center of a large university for a number of years. I specialized in therapy with people experiencing disordered eating and body dissatisfaction, and I conducted individual and group therapy, community outreach and consultation, and supervision of practicum and intern trainees.