Christine “Tina” Chasek, Ph.D., LIMHP, LADC is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Associate Director of Rural Development at UNMC’s Nebraska Behavioral Health Education Center (BHECN). She was named the Julie Hefflinger Chair in Counseling in 2021.
Dr. Chasek has strong roots in mental health and addictions counseling with experience in behavioral health care administration; she is currently focused on developing the behavioral health care workforce in rural Nebraska. His teaching interests include addiction counselling, research, diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, and clinical counseling. Dr. Chasek’s research has focused on substance abuse counselling, provider attitudes toward substance abuse counseling, counselor preparation, clinical outcomes, and behavioral health personnel.
Q: How did you become interested in consulting?
“I always tell people, this profession chose me. Growing up in a small community, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of things. In high school, I wanted to be a hairdresser, but a teacher encouraged me to learn psychology, in which I excelled, so that’s what I studied at UNK.
“In college, my part-time job was cleaning the offices of the community counseling center. During the cleaning, I was fascinated by what was going on there. very cool work here. Fast forward to graduation, I applied for jobs in social services and got a job at this case management counseling center for children in the foster care system. It was a full circle moment.
“As part of my masters internship, I moved into the addiction services portion of the center’s programming. I led groups and worked with clients individually at a men’s halfway house in Kearney. J ‘ve also worked with women in a treatment center. That’s when I found my specialty of addiction counselling. I have seen families impacted by substances —the whole family system is disrupted, especially the children.
“During my PhD program, I studied the neurobiology of the brain and the impact of substance use on the brain. Basically, the brain is hijacked by substances. While substance use begins with a choice , for many people, that choice is quickly removed as brain chemistry changes. In my work, I learn about the people underlying the disease and how difficult it is to live that life, even if it looks different from the outside.
I am so honored to be here at the UN and to continue the great work that is being done in the department and the college.
– Tina Chasek, Ph.D., LIMHP, LADC
Q: What is your vision of the department?
“I will continue the department’s mission to train quality mental health clinicians and providers to serve the community. As a leader, I focus on two things: students and faculty. Students become practitioners like us , and I want to make great colleagues. Also, our programs are so successful because of the great faculty. I want our professors to feel supported, to feel like they’re doing their best. whatever their research interests, whatever their goals, I want to be able to grow and develop. For me, it’s always, how can I help you be your best self? That, in turn , helps me to be my best self.I am so honored to be here at the UN and to continue the great work that is being done in the department and the college.
“As Julie Hefflinger Professor of Counseling, I want to honor Julie’s work as a teacher and guidance counselor by moving the Community Counseling Clinic into a space where children and families can be served. We are also working to get our school counseling alumni to return to the UN and take courses to become certified clinicians, so they can use those skills right in schools, to tackle these difficult mental health issues in their school environment.
This story appeared in the latest issue of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Annual Report.