Debra Pender | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Debra Pender

Associate Professor

Debra Pender

Office: Wham 223
Phone: 618-453-2311

Ph.D. Southern Illinois University, 2006

Dr. Pender is a native of southern Illinois and thrilled to be back to a region that she values greatly. She has a 30+ year history of working in the clinical mental health field, working with all ages, and levels of care, with a clinical focus on trauma informed care. Prior to returning to SIU, she was a tenured, Associate Professor in the Counseling, Adult and Higher Education Department at Northern Illinois University. WHile there she served as a faculty liaison during the aftermath of the 2/14 tragedy and received a special service award from the School of Education in recognition of her service to the university community. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Illinois. She holds memberships in ACA, ACAC, ASGW, ACES, NCACES, AMHCA, IMHCA, and ICA. In 2008, she received the ASGW’s Group Practice Award for her work with critical incident debriefing and first responders.

Thoughts about Professional Counseling: I have been honored to serve many people of all ages, genders, and racial backgrounds. I listen to their stories, often themed by trauma, loss, and personal suffering. I have learned to honor that part of them that survived. To me, professional counseling is helping people recognize the life is not always based on fairness principles, but it is worth living, and then to develop the skills they need to master life's challenges. I have also learned to honor that it is a great responsibility to "meddle" in the hearts and minds of others. We must do so with respect for their uniqueness, their diversity, and their personal values. 

Research interests and activities: Impact of group processes on the quality of care in critical incident stress debriefing, trauma-informed care, impact of computer simulations on counseling student learning outcomes. understanding the process of change for people who seek bariatric weight loss methods. 

Curriculum Vitae

Research Gate: Access select publications by Dr. Debra A. Pender