Kara E. Wolff
Associate Professor of Psychology
on faculty since 2012
Human beings are rich, complex creatures who are created in God’s image. Seeking to understand humanity is a way of seeking out God’s design and work in the world.
Dr. Kara Wolff believes good psychologists are genuinely curious about the world. “I hope that my students develop a life-long pursuit of satisfying that curious spirit. People are incredibly interesting, and there is so much more to know about why we do the things that we do.” Our world can be highly divisive, and understanding the experiences of those who are different is critical to developing empathy. “We all live in the world together and learning how to put aside your own self-interest is essential to developing true compassion for others.”
Growing up in the Chicago community of North Lawndale profoundly impacted Wolff’s vocational interests. “As a white child in a predominately African American community, I learned early that race and racism are significant forces in the United States. This inspired me to think more deeply about identity and how it shapes us throughout our development. It also awoke in me a long-standing curiosity about how people experience the world and a desire to better understand that.”
What drew her to Trinity:
Relationships drew her to Trinity. “The time that I spend with my students has allowed me to develop longstanding relationships with them. Our conversations may begin around class requirements, but they develop into discussions about life.”
Wolff’s research interests include race and racism, issues of gender and sexuality, clinical supervision, colorblind ideology, and identity. “The work that I do is in exploring how particular aspects of our identities (things like race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.) affect our development and sense of self. Understanding these phenomena from a psychological perspective can help us to acknowledge and honor differences while also pursuing the radical inclusivity of God’s kingdom.”
When she’s not teaching:
Wolff tries to travel the world with her family. “I have three daughters, Rowan, Everly, and Juniper, and a wonderful spouse. We love to spend time exploring the city of Chicago and beyond.”
Ph.D., Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2009
M.A., Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2006
B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 2003
Courses and Publications/Research
- Multicultural Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Maladaptive Behavior and Psychopathology
- Psychology of Gender
- Psychological Tests and Measurements
- Human Sexuality
- Social and Cultural Diversity
- Theories of Psychotherapy
Papers Published and/or Presented
Clevering, J., Wolff, K.E., Coffey, C. & Roberts, A. (2015). “Where do I fit? The relationship between achievement goals and student identity.” Paper presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois
Wolff, K.E.(2014). “Understanding Race: Focusing on Culturally Competent Practice in Mental Health.” Continuing education workshop for social workers and counselors at the Evangelical Child and Family Agency, Wheaton, Illinois
Wolff, K.E.(2013). “Considering mindfulness in trauma recovery.” Paper presented at the Psychology Renewed Conference, of Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois
Wolff, K.E. & Munley, P.H. (2012). “Exploring the relationships between White racial consciousness, feminist identity development and family environment for White undergraduate women.” College Student Journal.
Wolff, K.E. & Munley, P.H. (2009). “White undergraduate Women: White racial consciousness, feminist identity development and family environment.” Paper presented at the Division 35 poster session of the 117th Annual Convention of the APA in Toronto, Canada.
Huber, D., Sauer, E., VanderWal, B. & Wolff, K. (2008). “Training clinics: A model setting for assessment batteries.” Poster presented at the Great Lakes Regional Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Bradshaw, E.S., McGrady, M.L. & Wolff, K.E. (2006). “What future college counseling center practitioners need to become more racially aware: Implications for self and clients.” Experiential Workshop at The Dennis H. May Conference on Diversity Issues & The Role of Counseling Centers, Champaign, Illinois.
Awards and Memberships
Professional Society Membership
- Illinois Counseling Association
- Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association
- Illinois Psychological Association
- Midwestern Psychological Association