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Kristen Zaleski

Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work Dept. of Adult Mental Health and Wellness

Clinical Associate Professor focused on sexual assault victims and psychotherapy.

Media Contact
Kristen Zaleski
Phone:  +1 949.437.0007
Rank:  Clinical Teaching
Department:  Adult Mental Health and Wellness
Assignment:  Ground

Kristen Zaleski

Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work Dept. of Adult Mental Health and Wellness

Clinical Associate Professor focused on sexual assault victims and psychotherapy.

Media Contact

Biography

KRISTEN ZALESKI is a sexual assault victim advocate, researcher, professor and psychotherapist in Southern California. Her decade-long work with sexual assault survivors spans inpatient and outpatient settings, and she has a dual specialty in civilian and military sexual trauma. Zaleski has published research on treatment for sexual assault-related post-traumatic stress disorder and focused her dissertation research on the trauma of becoming pregnant from a rape during military service. Her book, Understanding and Treating Military Sexual Trauma, was released in April 2015, and it was showcased at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books that same year. Her current research has centered on the incidence of rape culture in social media as well as the issue of empathy in social work education. Zaleski continues to explore clinical phenomena in the areas of health social work, LGBTQI experiences, empathy, mothering, vicarious trauma and attachment-related trauma through a neurobiological lens. She also maintains a private practice in Los Angeles.

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Education

The Sanville Institute for Clinical Social Work

Ph.D. 2013

University of Southern California

M.S.W. 2004

University of California, Los Angeles

B.A. 2001

Santa Barbara City College

A.A. 1999

Area of Expertise

  • Neurobiology
  • Empathy
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sexual Assault
  • Psychotherapy
  • LGBTQI
  • Mothering

Industry Experience

  • Mental Health Care
  • Training and Development
  • Health Care - Providers
  • Health and Wellness
  • Health Care - Services
  • Education/Learning

Research Interest

  • Health
  • Mental Health
  • Military Social Work

Accomplishments

Hutto Patterson Foundation Award for Distinguished Faculty
USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Featured Author
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Bonnie Bearson Scholarship Fund
Sanville Institute
Graduation Speaker
University of Southern California

Articles & Publications

Women’s Journey to Empowerment in the 21st Century: A Transnational Approach. | Oxford University Press
Zaleski, K., Enrile, A., Weiss, E., & Wang, X.
In Press

2nd Edition Understanding and Treating Military Sexual Trauma. | Springer
Zaleski, K.
2nd Edition Understanding and Treating Military Sexual Trauma.

The Lived Experience of Child Marriage in the United States. | In Review
Wahi, A., Zaleski, K.L, Lampe, J., Bevan, P., & Koski, A.
The Lived Experience of Child Marriage in the United States.

Empathy, Racist Attitudes, and Sexual Experiences: Exploration of factors associated with college sexual assault. | In Review
Klemmer, C., Brammer, A., & Zaleski, K.
Empathy, Racist Attitudes, and Sexual Experiences: Exploration of factors associated with college sexual assault.

Posting the Story of your Sexual Assault Online: A phenomenological study of the aftermath. | In Review
Gundersen, K.K. & Zaleski, K.L.
Posting the Story of your Sexual Assault Online: A phenomenological study of the aftermath.

Empathy in Social Work Education | Contemporary Behavioral Health Care
Kristen L. Zaleski, Juan Carlos Araque, Kimberly Finney, Bianca Harper, Jennifer Lewis, Michal Sela Amit, Caroline Tamas, Jennifer McCrea Steele, and Jessica Castronuo
2016 Empathy is at the core of the provider-consumer relationship in social work; without it, successful outcomes for psychological treatment are unlikely (APA Presidential Task Force, 2005). The use of empathy is considered an essential part of the professional encounter and a standard in providing ethical care. Therefore it is expected and assumed that the mental health practitioner possesses the ability to be empathetic and that s/he is capable of providing empathetic social work services to clients who are experiencing physical, psychological, and/or emotional pain.

Grounding Judith Herman’s Trauma Theory within Interpersonal Neuroscience and Evidence-Based Practice Modalities for Trauma Treatment | Smith College Studies in Social Work
Kristen L. Zaleski, Daniel K. Johnson, Jessica T. Klein
2016 In 1992, Judith Herman published her seminal work, Trauma and Recovery, which outlined new concepts for understanding, defining, and treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although written over two decades ago, Herman’s work is still considered an essential work in the field of traumatology. This article links Herman’s central concepts of terror, hyperarousal, constriction, and intrusion with neurobiology of trauma.

Exploring rape culture in social media forums | Computers in Human Behavior
Kristen L.Zaleski, Kristin K. Gundersen, Jessica Baes, Ely Estupinian, Alyssa Vergara
2016 Current research has yet to examine the phenomenon of rape culture, particularly within social media forums. The present study investigated the attitudes about rape, rapists, and gender-based violence within the comments section of newspaper articles reporting about rape and sexual assault.

Alice in Wonderland: Exploring the Experiences of Female Service Members With a Pregnancy Resulting From Rape | Social Work in Mental Health
Kristen L. Zaleski, Lori S. Katz
2013 Currently, no clinical research has ever been conducted to examine what, if any, traumatic effects take place when pregnancy results from a sexual assault during military service. The present study investigated the emotional experience and impact of rape and pregnancy on women serving in the military.

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