The fondness Dr. Elaine Greidanus has for kayaking and camping stems from her love of the outdoors. The Faculty of Education counsellor and psychologist spent several years in northern Alberta, often utilizing animal-assisted therapies in her work with children and adolescents.

The collaboration so key to Greidanus’s working philosophy is not limited to four-legged associates. An advocate of interprofessional education and community-based approaches to health care, she researches how physicians, nurses, mental health specialists, and allied health professionals can work ethically together with families for the benefit of everyone.

It overlaps with my interest in rural work,” she says. “When you’re in the middle of nowhere you have to rely on your team.”

Greidanus is passionate about respecting how Indigenous and rural communities would like their mental health challenges addressed. “The stories of the issues they face and their strength and resilience in working together to overcome them inspire me,” she says.

Dr. Elaine Greidanus, Faculty of Education. Photo taken by Rob Olson, 2016.

Complementing Greidanus’s rural focus is an interest in online counselling. Before social networking became ubiquitous, she investigated how young people in distress use the Internet to search for help. She noted that connections people made online often resulted in networks of mutual support. Her study promoted awareness among professionals of a growing trend to seek web-based assistance. As she continues to research the Internet’s role in therapeutic processes Greidanus realizes the benefits technology offers education and health care – particularly in rural areas where resources are slim.

Today, as an instructor in the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education Master of Counselling and Master of Education Counselling Psychology programs, Dr. Greidanus combines face-to-face and online teaching.

I care very much about the quality of counsellors graduating from this program,” she states. “I’m interested in maintaining that standard by teaching counselling effectively online.”

She points to a need for more counsellors in rural areas and the difficulty of getting people to relocate. “Through quality distance education those already living there could complete the program and stay to serve their communities.”

Writer: Elizabeth McLachlan | Photographer: Rob Olson


Related story links to Faculty of Education Graduate Studies and Research:
Mental Health Care: Pivoting for the Pandemic
A Generative Approach to Leadership for All Educators
Bridging Neuroscience and Education: Riley Kostek (BSc’09/BEd’11)
Teaching and Assessing for Life Beyond the Classroom: Dr. David Slomp
Five questions with Shining Graduate Rita Lal (BSc/BEd '01, MEd '20)
Teaching Multiple Literacies in Canadian Classrooms: Sarah Gagnon (BSc/BEd’11, MEd candidate)
Wellness is About Writing: Teri Hartman (BA/BEd '02, current MEd student)

Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
Wellness is Feeling Productive: Sally Leung (BA/BEd '17)
Wellness is About Writing: Teri Hartman (BA/BEd '02, current MEd student)
Wellness is Spending Time Outdoors: Dana Visser
Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
Wellness is Coping with Stress Through Art and Music: Jenn Pellerin
Wellness During the COVID-19 Experience, PSII, and Staying Connected: Kelsey Shoults
Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
Wellness is About Having a Consistent Routine: Alex Funk (BEd '17)
Wellness is the Great Outdoors with Family: Beth Cormier (BA/BEd ’94)
Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
• Wellness is Ranching: Danny Balderson
Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness

For more information please contact:

Darcy Tamayose
Communications Officer
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
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