NWU Psychology Professor Studies Trauma in Israel
Psychology students enrolled in Dr. Bill McNeil’s courses are benefitting from their professor’s recent research in Israel.
McNeil, an associate professor of psychology, has returned from a year-long sabbatical in Jerusalem where he studied trauma and resilience.
“I have always wanted to go to Jerusalem, and I have been particularly interested in introducing my students to the Middle East” said McNeil.
While in Jerusalem, he also studied the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and worked with children and families who experienced trauma. He studied at Hebrew University and Yad Vashem, the International Center for Holocaust Studies.
Prior to teaching at Nebraska Wesleyan, McNeil worked 20 years in clinical psychology as an adolescent psychologist, focusing on trauma and children. He was able to apply his experience and knowledge while in Jerusalem.
“In Jerusalem, the culture has really learned to deal with trauma and recovery,” he said. “By working at the International Center for Holocaust Studies, I was able to work with people who experienced trauma.”
McNeil described Jerusalem as being divided into quarters, generally by religion and ethnicity. While there he moved four times.
“I wanted to live in as many areas as possible,” said McNeil, “I lived in the Arab quarter, the Armenian quarter, and the Jewish quarter. Each area had a different subculture with its own cultural boundaries. It was a learning experience.”
McNeil’s research in Jerusalem closely relates to the courses he teaches at Nebraska Wesleyan. He has been able to incorporate his experience into the classroom, particularly in his “Introduction to Clinical Psychology” and “Abnormal Psychology” courses. He plans to develop a Liberal Arts Seminar about the Holocaust.
“Overall, I would consider my sabbatical in Jerusalem as a very rewarding experience,” he said.