Curtis Peterson, Ph.D.

Hi and welcome to my site, I hope you find the information I have posted on this site useful in your pursuit of knowledge and understanding. My name is Curtis Peterson, and I am a Social Psychologist who studies social connection, loneliness, and identity with the goal to understand humans as a social being. My other goal is to understand how social connection or the lack of, influences our well-being and health, in order to live better. One of the projects I recently worked on is I provided training for providers who work with children who crossed the U.S. borders unaccompanied by adults. Many of these children suffer from suicidal ideation, depression, sadness, acting out behaviors. Many of which would under a normal lens would be behaviors that would be punished, but under another lens, a lens of loss of identity and social connection, a different approach is needed. So I spent the day providing information on loneliness and identity to over 500 providers and educators on how to respond hoping to change the outcomes for these children.

I am currently the Dean of Academics for Tohono O’odham Community College for the Tohono O’odham Nation. Working for a tribal college and Nation in the United States has broaden my understanding not only of identity and culture as it relates to psychology but to the entire human experience. I am honored to have the title I have and have the opportunity to work for the community and people I work for.

I am married to my beautiful wife Elsa, who works in field of Early Childhood Education, for the Tohono O’odham Nation. We have five children, three from her previous marriage and two from my previous marriage. From our amazing adult children we have three beautiful grandchildren, and while writing this in the Fall of 2020 another grandchild on the way.

My education consists of a Bachelor’s of Science in Experimental Psychology, a Master’s of Science in Psychology, and Ph.D. in Psychology with a focus in Social Psychology. I became obsessed with the study of psychology during my undergraduate years when I took Introduction to Psychology. After that course, I started an industrial arts program, but by the end of the first semester of that art program I did not read a single book in industrial arts, but I had read every classic in psychology book I could get my hands on. After that experience I decided psychology must be the educational path for me and I have never regretted that decision. I do feel that my field I have come to love has lost it direction from trying to answer the questions we originally started out to answer and stopped scientifically theorizing and instead have fragmented into these little pieces, with no common goal. Despite this my greatest love in Psychology is to teach, and even as a Dean, I take the chance to teach a course here and there and I never turn down the opportunity to guest lecture.

Course Teaching History

Introductory Courses

  • Introduction to Psychology (Arizona Western College, Helena College University of Montana, Tohono O’odham Community College)
  • Essentials in Psychology (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Fundamentals of Learning (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Introduction to Criminology (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Introduction to Sociology (Arizona Western College, Helena College University of Montana, Tohono O’odham Community College, University of Phoenix – on-campus)

Social Psychology Courses

  • Social Psychology (Arizona Western College, & Helena College University of Montana)
  • Cultural Diversity (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Human Personality (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Cultural Diversity and Special Populations (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Fundamentals of Social Psychology (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Gender, Race, and Class (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Fundamentals of Cognition and Learning (Helena College University of Montana)

Research Methods Courses

  • Research Methods for Social Sciences (Arizona Western College)
  • Research Methods in Criminology (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Graduate Statistics in Psychology (Grand Canyon University)

Human Development Courses

  • Adult and Family Development (University of Phoenix)
  • Human Sexuality (Arizona Western College)
  • Human Systems and Development (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Aging and Society (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Developmental Psychology (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Psychology of Aging (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Psychology of Aging (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Marriage and Family (Tohono O’odham Community College)
  • Teaching Techniques and Behavior Management (Tohono O’odham Community College)

Professional Services Courses

  • Introduction to Human Services (University of Phoenix)
  • Models for Effective Helping (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Introduction to Para-professional Practice (Helena College University of Montana)
  • Introduction to Social Work (Helena College University of Montana, Tohono O’odham Community College)
  • Group Work (Tohono O’odham Community College)
  • Social Service Delivery Systems (Tohono O’odham Community College)
  • Foundations of Social Work Practice (Tohono O’odham Community College)

Other Courses Taught

  • Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Human Services (University of Phoenix)
  • Dependency and Addiction (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Advocacy and Mediation (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • History of the Development of Social Services (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Mental Health Crisis Intervention (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Working in Groups (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Case Management (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Building Community Organizations (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Ethics and Values for Human Services Professionals (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Program Design and Proposal Writing (University of Phoenix – on-campus)
  • Client Assessment and Planning (University of Phoenix – on-campus)


Podcasts at: https://selfandidentity.podbean.com

Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCocSIGZQuVGJyShYG_Vl7dw

Peterson, C.N. (2018). How social identity influences social and emotional loneliness. Walden Universityhttps://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/5772/

Peterson, C.N., & Zazueta, G. (2017). Appellate services administration public assistance team: Validation and support staff processes, Version 1.0. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Office of Inspector General, Research Analysis and Planning.

Munn, N., & Peterson, C. (2015). Evaluation of the peer recovery support coach pilot project. Helena, MT: Department of Human Services. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2264.7763

Peterson, C.N. & Amparo, J. (2013) Free parenting program improves children’s well-being after divorce. YumaSun, 2013-16-07

Peterson, C.N. & Amparo, J. (2013) Benefits of physical activity on your mental well-being. Yuma, AZ: YumaSun 2013-11-06

Peterson, C.N. & Amparo, J. (2013) Parents can reduce the chances of child sexual abuse. Yuma, AZ: YumaSun 2013-30-04

Peterson, C.N. & Amparo, J. (2012) Communication, listening important. Yuma, AZ: YumaSun 2012-08-28

Peterson, C.N. & Amparo, J. (2012) Healthy relationship and effects on children. Yuma, AZ: YumaSun 2012-07-02

Peterson, C.N. (2005) Increasing job satisfaction through increasing organizational commitment: a training model. Walden University: Minneapolis, MN

Peterson, C.N. (2002) Domestic Violence: It is hard to know what to do? Portnuef Valley Parents Magazine, Oct 2002

Peterson, C.N., Croner, J., Enloe, L.J. (2002) Response to hijacking scenario before and after 9/11. Hawaii: Hawaii International Conference on the Social Science Review

Peterson, C.N. (2001) Pregnancy and Domestic Violence. Boise, ID: Idaho State Health Department

Presentations and Workshops (provided past 10 years)

  • 2017 – Socio-emotional development for children ages 0 through 8. Tohono O’odham Community of Practice Early Childhood Education. Sells, AZ
  • 2016 – Non-cognitive factors and how they influence classroom performance. Helena College Fall 2016 Convocation. Helena, MT
  • 2014 Co-present on handling student conduct issues at Arizona Western College Professional Development Day. Yuma, AZ
  • 2013 Good V Evil (All day workshop), Yuma AZ
    • Presented on the developmental factors that influence violence rates in a community and protective factors that can be implemented to reduce violence rates.
  • 2012 Crisis Intervention Training: Intermediate. (workshop) Yuma, AZ
    • Provide skill development on working with a person in crisis with special attention to victims of violence
  • 2011, 2012, 2013 AWC Mentor in Violence Prevention Development Day, Leadership and Advocacy, (workshop) Yuma, AZ
    • The day focuses on leadership and bystander intervention for the prevention and response to violence in college communities from a student perspective
  • 2011 Responding to Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Training. Master of Ceremony (Conference), Yuma, AZ
    • Masters of Ceremony for over 120 Police Office Conference
  • 2011 Women’s Health Specialist, Employee group development and conflict resolution (workshop) Yuma, AZ
    • Provide a three-session workshop on identifying roles and commitment to an organization and resolving role conflicts.
  • 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 Commitment to the organization in the field of Medical Assistance: Idaho State University (workshop) Pocatello, ID
    • Presented research completed as part of Master’s thesis on the importance of commitment in the medical field and role commitment plays in overall work and life satisfaction
  • 2009 Implementing Father Parenting Program in your organization: Strengthening Families Training Idaho Children’s Trust Fund (workshop), Boise, ID
    • Implemented an eight-session father parenting program with an emphasis on skill development and role fathers have in their children’s lives
  • 2007 Organizational Commitment and Job Satisfaction: National Conference (Workshop), Portland, OR
    • Presentation and skill development of organizational commitment, personal commitment, and job satisfaction
  • 2007 Organizational Commitment and Job Satisfaction: National Conference National Children’s Alliance (workshop), Washington DC
    • Presentation and skill development of organizational commitment, personal commitment, and job satisfaction
  • 2005 Leadership and Commitment: Pocatello Chamber of Commerce (presentation) Pocatello, ID
    • The presentation was given to community leaders on how to improve leadership role and communication
  • 2005 Workplace Communication: American Association of Medical Assistants (Presentation), Twin Falls, ID
    • Presentation on improving workplace communication and boundaries
  • 2004 Motivating Employees: American Association of Medical Assistants (Presentation), Ogden, UT


  • 2015 TRIO Grant, Helena College, Provided consultation on cohort first-generation student program design. (grant funded)
  • 2014 Department of Justice Violence Against Women’s Special Population Services Grant – written pro-bono for local domestic violence agency ($300,000, funded)
  • 2014 Department of Justice Violence Against Women’s Rural Service Grant – written pro-bono for local domestic violence agency ($300,000, not funded)
  • 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program Grant (60,000-100,000, funded)
  • 2011, 2012, 2013 Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office Campus Violence Prevention Grant (988,000 – funded)
  • 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2003 United Way Agency Grant (40,000-65,000 – funded)
  • 2010 National Children’s Alliance State Chapter Grant (100,000)
  • 2010 National Children’s Alliance Program Expansion Grant (30,000 – funded)
  • 2010, 2009 Western Regional Children’s Advocacy Center training and Support Grant (7,500 – funded)
  • 2010 Idaho Children’s Trust Fund Regional Child Abuse Prevention Grant (40,000 – funded)
  • 2009, 2008, 2007 National Children’s Alliance State Program Support Grant (10,000 – funded)
  • 2009, 2008 National Children’s Alliance State Chapter Support grant (15,000 – funded)
  • 2004, 2003, 2002 STOP Violence grant Idaho State Police (30,000 – funded
  • 2003 Department of Justice, Violence against women and children rural grant (420,000)
  • 2003 Target Stores Community Giving Program. (1,200)

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DISCLAIMER: The thoughts, opinions, and ideas expressed on the website, do not reflect the official or implied opinions, stand, or positions of any of the affiliated organizations listed on this site. 


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