Prior to coming to TCSPP, Dr. Blank worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections for 16 years. She served as the Chief of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services for the Illinois Department of Corrections for seven years and for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice for three years. She was also a prison psychologist, prison treatment unit administrator, and assistant warden of operations. She served as a member of the Governor’s Transition Team (Illinois Dept. of Juvenile Justice) as the IDJJ Services Committee co-chair and the IDJJ Behavioral Health chair. She was an executive board member of the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, and a member of the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, the Illinois Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning Committee, the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance (and briefly co-chair), the Illinois Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council, and the Prison-based Re-entry Systems Preparation Committee.
Dr. Blank was IDOC’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Intervention Coordinator, the head of Substance Abuse services and, as an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, served on the statewide hostage team for 12 years. On this team she served in the capacity of psychologist, secondary negotiator, primary negotiator, regional team leader, statewide team leader, and administrative liaison. Dr. Blank also served as a member of the Midwest Association of Correctional Directors and as a founding member and national administrative committee member of the Association of Correctional Mental Health Administrators. She also served as a member of the Chicago Police Department’s Law Enforcement/Mental Health Task Force committee.
Dr. Blank also operates a private practice in the western suburbs.
Instructor: Autism & Developmental Disabilities, Suburban Law Enforcement Academy
Instructor: Dealing With Variant Behavior, Suburban Law Enforcement Academy
Instructor: Suicide Prevention & Intervention in Law Enforcement, various police departments
Instructor: Enhanced Listening Skills, various police departments
Certified First Responder: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Q: Please describe your teaching philosophy.
A. I believe that learning is an exciting and active process that requires a commitment to excellence by, and high expectations of, students and instructors. Learning can be fun and it is the job of every instructor to engage his or her students in ways that facilitate each student’s maximum potential being reached.
Q: Please describe your philosophy regarding the practice of psychology.
A. The practice of psychology offers insight into the rich and complex workings of the human mind and associated human behavior. It should be practiced with integrity, professionalism, and respect for the dignity and individuality of human beings and with the goal of enriching society through understanding.
Q: Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
A. I chose to enter the field of psychology because of my interest in human behavior and my desire to be able to help those who struggle in different areas of living.
Q: What advice would you give a student entering The Chicago School?
A: Enjoy the opportunity you have to become a difference-maker in the lives of your fellow human beings by working to your full potential throughout your time at TCSPP; remember to maintain balance in your life and to ask for help when you need it; and always participate in every aspect of your program with integrity, respect, and professionalism.