“Studying here is more than taking courses. It’s being part of a community and taking part in our on -going clinical and research discussion groups, the internships and volunteer placements, the psychology conferences and events. Honestly, it’s amazing what we have here.“
“We’re going global!” Dr. Eva Fragkiadaki says when telling us the news, with a smile that can’t conceal the pride she feels in the College’s Psychology Division, of which she has served as Director and faculty member since Fall 2016. As Eva explains, Hellenic American College will be hosting the annual European conference of the American Counseling Associates this October, the first time the conference will be held in Greece. She will also be presenting as a keynote speaker at the Conference.
Eva also sees it is as another opportunity to help students gain a clear view of what it means to be “a psychologist out there in the community”. Students will have the chance to work as volunteers at the conference; along with other members of the Psychology faculty she’s working with students to build research projects so that they will be able to present. “When students start the program they become part of a community,” she notes. “They have the chance to be involved in conferences and the events we organize, research discussion groups, internships, volunteer placements—to be honest, it’s amazing what they can do here.“
Eva represents the research-practitioner model of psychology that she is working to strengthen at Hellenic American University. After earning her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from City University in London, where she also did her clinical training, Dr. Fragkiadaki returned to Greece and founded “Psychonoisi”, a psychotherapy and counseling center in Iraklio, Crete. It was also on Crete where she began her academic career, serving as Adjunct Professor at the University of Crete, TEI of Crete and other tertiary and clinical education contexts and organizations
A clinical trainer and supervisor who works within the tradition of cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy, Eva is also highly engaged in research. One of her fields of interest is qualitative research on the professional development of psychologists and therapists, an area she draws upon in her role as Director. It’s also led her to organize the first professional network in Greece for qualitative research.
Not surprisingly, one of her priorities as Director is to further integrate research in the undergraduate and particularly the graduate Psychology programs. “I want our graduate students to see their dissertation as a chance to do original, publishable work. It can be a single case study or a huge randomized control study with 200 participants, as long as it’s robust and rigorous research,” she says. Many do. Some of the Department’s students have presented their work at conferences, such as the Pan-Hellenic Conference of Psychological Research that was held in Thessaloniki in May 2016.
Complementing the research component is an emphasis of clinical practice. “Part of what’s so stimulating about the program,” Eva notes, “is the chance to see theory in practice, which is where the practicum and volunteer placements come in. Our students gain a clear view of what it means to be a psychologist out there in the community.”
Dr. Fragkiadaki notes that the work of psychologists covers a broad spectrum of activities, from therapy to research, and includes areas such as health psychology, physiological psychology and forensic psychology . “One of the things I would like our students to do during their studies,” she says, “is precisely to find out what they’re really interested in. Our program should help them see the range of professional choices they have.”