Dr. Pia Tohme, Visiting Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology

Weathering continuously challenging times.


The psychology courses I teach are very interactive, and it has been a challenge for both educators and students to make the switch to online learning, especially due to the uncertainties, repeated lockdown periods and of course, technical difficulties.

One way I have found useful in keeping students, and myself, motivated has been to provide them with a space to share some of their difficulties and frustrations regarding the situation, reminding them that, as faculty members, we probably share similar concerns. Using current circumstances – including COVID-19 fears, losing loved ones or the economic hardships as examples to explain psychological concepts – has facilitated student learning and kept them involved, also giving them practical strategies to face difficult times.

In terms of research, studies conducted in nursery and school settings had to be put on hold due to lockdown restrictions and closures. New projects and workshops focusing on how Lebanese families are weathering these challenging times have been set up, in the hopes of providing more targeted support and relevant strategies to help parents and their children manage lockdown periods.

I have found that the current situation has pushed me to create a more structured routine, while keeping the flexibility (and a lot of patience) to deal with the uncertainties. It has allowed for more creativity in terms of teaching, as well as research and clinical work, to move forward.