|Joanna Bettmann Schaefer is a Professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work. She received her B.A. with honors from Dartmouth College in 1993, her MSW from the University of Utah in 1999, and her Ph.D from Smith College School for Social Work in 2005. Dr. Schaefer has received numerous honors, including the 2013 Dean’s Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2011 Psychoanalytic Psychodynamic Research Society Award, a 2006-2007 fellowship with the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the 1993 Lawrence Marx Jr. Award of Dartmouth College.
She worked as a field staff, field therapist, director, and researcher at wilderness therapy and residential treatment settings for troubled youth from 1994 to 2016. She has also worked as a clinical social worker in several community mental health agencies, the University of Utah Counseling Center, and in private practice. She is trained in disaster response and served as a social worker for the American Red Cross response to Hurricane Katrina in Utah and Mississippi.
Dr. Schaefer writes and researches on a range of topics, including nature’s impact on mental health, wilderness therapy, residential treatment, and attachment. She has published articles in Psychological Services, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Research on Social Work Practice, Journal of Counseling Psychology, International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Journal of Experiential Education, Child and Youth Care Forum, Clinical Social Work Journal, Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, the Journal of Teaching in Social Work, Smith College Studies in Social Work, and the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs. She has presented her research nationally and internationally at professional conferences over the last 20 years. Dr. Schaefer has received grant funding to support her research agenda, including grants recently from the Sierra Club to investigate the mental health and psychosocial outcomes of peer-led immersive wilderness trips for military veterans.