Mary Ballou, PhD

by Katherine Cascio, doctoral student at the University of Kentucky

Mary Ballou, PhDDr. Mary Ballou has made numerous contributions to feminist psychology, practice, and teaching. She began her career by earning her bachelor's degree in Psychology in 1971 and her masters in Counseling in 1973, both from the University of New Hampshire (Northeastern University, 2013). She received her doctorate from Kent State University in Ohio in Counseling Psychology in 1976 (Northeastern University, 2013).

Central to her professional identity, Dr. Ballou is an active feminist therapist (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). She has maintained a private practice in Boston for over 30 years and has worked in a primary care clinic in New Hampshire for more than three decades as a counseling and health psychologist and consultant (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). In all of her clinical work, she is dedicated to serving a diverse clientele (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). Some of Dr. Ballou's clinical interests include anxiety, depression, chronic health conditions, aging, caretaking, and other conditions that frequently have external causes (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). She has a feminist, pan-theoretical, developmental, and phenomenological-existential base as a therapist and utilizes trance, exercise, and meaning-making as her primary clinical interventions (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013; Northeastern University, 2013).

While simultaneously maintaining her therapeutic practices, Dr. Ballou has taught at numerous universities during her career. She began as a Teaching Fellow, and later became a Visiting Assistant Professor, at Kent State University from 1975 to 1977 (Northeastern University, 2013). From 1978 to 1982, Dr. Ballou was an Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator at the State University of New York at Buffalo (Northeastern University, 2013). She transitioned to the Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology at Northeastern University in Boston in 1982 (Northeastern University, 2013). Since 1982, Dr. Ballou has taught at both the doctoral and masters levels in the department and has served at different times as Director of both programs; she is currently the Co-director of the masters program (Northeastern University, 2013). In her commitment to interdisciplinary study, she has also taught in the Law, Policy, and Society doctoral program, the Women's Studies program, and the Public Health masters program at Northeastern (Northeastern University, 2013).

As an educator, she most enjoys the excitement of engaging with students and future professionals who are eager to learn and help others (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). Additionally, Dr. Ballou encourages all of her students to develop their critical thinking skills and employs an egalitarian approach to her teaching and clinical training (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). Among other courses, she currently teaches a seminar in feminist psychology for masters students.

In addition to her teaching pursuits, Mary Ballou, PhD, is a prolific writer who has authored or co-authored nine books, 19 book chapters, over 30 peer-reviewed articles, and three manuals (Northeastern University, 2013). Some of her self-identified most significant publications include co-editing the book "Rethinking Mental Health and Disorder: Feminist Perspectives" (2002), writing the chapter "Naming the Issue" in the "Feminist Ethics Handbook" (1995), and writing the chapter "Approaching a Feminist-Principled Paradigm in the Construction of Personality Theory in Diversities and Complexities in Feminist Therapy" (1990; M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). Other noteworthy titles include "Feminist Therapy Theory and Practice: Current perspectives" (2008), "Feminist therapy: Foundations and Futures" (2005), and the chapter "Feminist Perspectives on Psychological Assessment in Shaping the Future of Feminist Psychology" (1997; Northeastern University, 2013).  Ballou's areas of scholarship focus on feminist practice, health psychology, crisis intervention, intersections of gender and other oppressed identities, and advancing the feminist-ecological model (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013; Northeastern University, 2013). She has contributed to discussions on the mental health system in the United States, personality theory and psychopathology, and the impact of macro- and exo-level influences on mental health (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013; Northeastern University, 2013).

During her career, Ballou has received numerous honors. Some highlights include diplomate of counseling psychology, fellow of the Massachusetts Psychological Association and APA Div. 35, selection to the Board of Specialty in Counseling Psychology, faculty of the Academy of Feminist Practice of APA Div. 35, and board member of the American Board of Professional Psychology (Northeastern University, 2013). She has also served as chair of the Graduate Consortium of Women's Studies in Boston and Cambridge, president of the Massachusetts-Rhode Island Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and chair of the Feminist Therapy Institute (Northeastern University, 2013).

In all of her research, clinical, and teaching endeavors, Ballou applies a feminist-ecological orientation to understand, and work to mitigate, how global issues, oppression, and environmental factors impact mental and physical health (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). Through all of her professional activities, she is committed to bringing feminism to mainstream psychology and academia (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 13, 2013). The overall message of Ballou's work as a feminist psychologist is that she endeavors to interact with, educate, and facilitate the development of people, to overcome oppression, and to help others find hope and fulfillment (M. Ballou, personal communication, June 17, 2013).