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Character

Cougar Query: “Reframe failure as the path to success”

Name: Gary Burlingame

BYU employee since: I have been a full-time professor since July 1983

My job at BYU is… I’m a professor and chair in the psychology department, which has the third-largest number of majors at BYU. We have a doctorate program in clinical psychology, which is where I first taught when I came to BYU. We also have a doctorate program where students specialize in one of the following areas: applied social psychology; cognitive and behavioral neuroscience; developmental psychology; and a cross-area emphasis in health psychology. The undergraduate courses I’ve taught research both design and measurement at the undergraduate and graduate level. I’ve also taught group psychotherapy and clinical practicum at the graduate level and an undergraduate statistics course.

Currently I’m working on… a comprehensive update that identifies group treatments that have strong evidence for treating 14 common psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders, trauma and schizophrenia. Our team has also devoted the last few years to helping write a group treatment manual for compassion-focused therapy (CFT). The goal of CFT is to help lower shame, blame, inner self-critical talk and perfectionism – these are challenges that occur across a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. We just finished a feasibility trial using eight groups at BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) center with very promising results and are gearing up for a randomized clinical trial at CAPS and the Utah State Hospital in Provo.

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I get most excited about my work when… I see undergraduate or graduate students eyes light up as they understand their potential or as they “get” an idea presented in class. I’m very interested in students understanding how their work supports the lab and taps their own potential.

An undergraduate professor …sparked my interest in my field.

What makes teaching the greatest job in the world is… interacting with bright, creative and thoughtful students who continually challenge me with new questions and ideas.

The best advice I’ve ever got about teaching is… humility: the more we learn, the more expansive the learning landscape.

My advice to incoming freshman is… reframe failure as the path to success.

I became a BYU fan when… the football team won the national championship the first year I taught at BYU.

My go-to BYU Creamery ice cream flavor is… Graham Canyon

I chose to come to BYU because... of the faculty and students I’d be working with.

Three things that are always found in my refrigerator are… salsa, hummus and yogurt.

I’m most looking forward to… hanging out on FaceTime or in-person with my six grandchildren.

My favorite TV show growing up was… It’s hard to pick between Lassie and Gilligan’s Island.

One item on my bucket list is… to fish along the Alaskan highway.

My fondest memory from my childhood was when… we went camping as a family.

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