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Bengu Erguner-Tekinalp, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education

“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning - and some of them many times over - what do you find? That you can swim? Well - life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!” Alfred Adler

Contact Information

Phone: 515-271-2170
Mailing Address:
    2507 University Ave
    Des Moines, IA 50311


BS: Middle East Technical University
MS: Middle East Technical University
PhD: Auburn University

Honors & Professional Memberships

I am active in the School of Education, at Drake University and in my professional organizations in general. Currently I am the State President for the North Atlantic Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NAACES), a division of national Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES). I also serve on the Board of Iowa Safe Schools. In the past, I served in the American Counseling Association, International Committee; Counselors for Social Justice Ethics and Human Rights committee, I also served as a board member of Iowa (formerly Iraqi) Refugee Support Project. I am on the editorial board of Journal of School Counseling, Journal of Happiness Studies, Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Journal and Educational Sciences Theory and Practice. I have counseling experiences at various settings including university counseling center, a center for traumatized children and adjudicated adolescents as well as elementary and middle school settings. I am a member of American Counseling Association, North American Society of Adlerian Psychology, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Association. I am a Parent Teacher Organization President of Sayre Montessori School.

Areas of Expertise

My research agenda evolves in three interconnecting areas of research: cross-cultural research, positive psychology and school counseling. The overarching theme that integrates these areas is multicultural counseling. I have conducted research and published works in school counseling, multicultural counseling and diversity, as well as, cross-cultural psychology. In the last couple of years, I have rediscovered myself as an Adlerian. Consequently, lately my research has focused on Adlerian Theory. Currently I am investigating resilience and utilizing Adlerian framework, exploring birth order and personality differences on early recollections (are we really what we remember?) and social interest as a positive determinant of psychological well-being.

Courses Taught

The courses I typically teach are: Counseling Diverse Populations, Methods of Counseling, Theories of Counseling, Assessment in Counseling, Introduction to Counseling, Human Development and Life Span Issues.  My main philosophy of teaching is setting a safe environment of exploring and letting ourselves strive for learning, not perfection. Teaching is my element! I enjoy being in the classroom, exploring, discovering, and learning with my students.  I enjoy learning and trying new strategies as I strive to be more present for my students, to be more understanding, to be more caring, to share my knowledge and insight; and to create a better learning experience for my students. I approach teaching holistically. Learning is not only a cognitive process but it is also physical, emotional and spiritual. For this reason, I took many approaches to learning in the courses that I teach. We write poems about our lives.  We interview and try to connect with people whom we deem impossible to connect. We force ourselves to try something different, try to do things out of our comfort zones. We administer and take different psychological tests, including an IQ test, to develop empathy for how it feels to take a psychological test. We role-play counseling sessions. We experiment with different techniques from different theories. We have a simulation where students make and sell paper bags to understand survival in poverty conditions. In my courses we analyze cognitively and connect emotionally. We enjoy learning.

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