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Top psychologist to speak at UTRGV

James Prochaska
James Prochaska

Bryan Ramos

“ What’s holding you back? What would your life be like if you were doing the things you wish you could do?”

These are the types of questions the School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling is helping to answer by focusing on behavioral changes.

On Thursday,the Distinguished Speaker Series hosted by the School of Rehabilitation and Counseling welcomes James Prochaska, one of the three most pre-eminent clinical psychologists in the world, to the UTRGV Edinburg campus to speak about behavioral change and his work as one of the most influential authors in Psychology.

The Distinguished Speaker Series will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the International Room of the International Trade and Technology Building on the Edinburg campus. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., Prochaska is scheduled to start his presentation at 7 p.m., and refreshments will be provided at 8 p.m. The event is by invitation only.

Prochaska’s area of work in behavioral change and the Transtheoretical Model focuses on confronting addiction and substance abuse issues by changing behavior to resolve the problem. He is a professor of clinical health psychology at the University of Rhode Island, in addition to his role as the director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center. He is also the first psychologist to win a Medal of Honor for clinical research from the American Cancer Society.

Lynn Fischer, a lecturer in the UTRGV School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling, spoke about the importance of Prochaska’s work and how the school implements it.

“People know what they want to do, but it’s the change part of it that’s hard. His work helps people build a positive vision of what would be by focusing behavioral change on the positive instead of the negative,” Fischer said. “Dr. Prochaska is one of the most frequently cited authors in the area of change and a lot of the faculty here at UTRGV make reference to his material.”

On Friday, the community will have an opportunity to hear Prochaska at the School of Rehabilitation annual conference, scheduled from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. at the Community Engagement & Student Success Building, located at 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Dr. in Edinburg. Conference registration is $100.

When UT Pan American and UT Brownsville merged to form UTRGV, the department of Rehabilitation Services became a school in the College of Health Affairs. In its first year, the school offers doctoral, master’s and undergraduate programs with concentrations in general rehabilitation, addiction rehabilitation and deaf rehabilitation and hopes to continue to build in the future.

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