Newly Hired Psychologist Dedicated to Helping Veterinary Students

The veterinary medical profession can be stressful for students as they experience the academic rigors of the program and transition into roles as young veterinarians.

To ensure that Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine students have all the tools they need to be successful students and professionals, the college recently appointed Dr. Kathryn Bieri as psychological counselor.

Dr. Bieri focuses on providing counseling and educational services for students, faculty and staff, as well as serving as an advocate for clients whose pets are enduring particularly difficult medical situations at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Bieri focuses on identifying and understanding the unconscious processes that manifest in a person’s behavior, called psychodynamic therapy. In other words, she helps people understand how past experiences affect present behavior.

“I prefer psychodynamic therapy because I feel like it helps identify the real causes of psychological stress on a person, and you can develop different defensive techniques,” Dr. Bieri said. “One example, which is common here, is test fatigue. Students come in scared to death of a test they have coming up, but the reality is, it’s not the test itself most often that worries students, it’s the fear of failure.”

Dr. Dan Givens, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, stated, “I am very pleased to have Dr. Bieri working on our team to care for individuals within the college as she seeks to assist others in developing, maintaining, and restoring the skills necessary to endure challenges without becoming distressed.  When we allow challenges to lead to distress, we are unable to see and appreciate the great opportunities that surround us in our profession.”

Trained in a wide range of psychology techniques, Dr. Bieri doesn’t rely on a single way of doing things, instead focusing on the individual patient and their needs.

Dr. Bieri became interested in psychology while pursuing her bachelor’s in literature at the University of Massachusetts. A shift in her objectives led her to switch her major to psychology, studying psychology related topics on Israel, Palestine and Rwanda.

Dr. Bieri has an extensive background in many diverse fields of psychology and medicine. She has worked in drug testing for personality disorders at Harvard Medical School, and did graduate work George Washington University. She also completed an internship at White River Junction and Dartmouth before completing her post-doctoral work in Hampton, Va.

Most recently, Dr. Bieri worked with service members and their families in the U.S. Air Force.

Shifting to a focus on student health in a university setting, Dr. Bieri said that she, “loves college counseling. Students are easy to work with, and it’s a great environment.”

Dr. Bieri is available for appointments on the college campus Mondays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m., and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m.