Dr. Altar has been a resident of Terrace since 1994. He first taught for UNBC full time for two years and then part-time till 2003. Her has served UNBC intermittently as an Adjunct Professor. He worked full time as a Registered Psychologist for the Nisga'a Nation as their Community Psychologist for six years and he continues to provide part-time Psychological services for the Nisga'a people in Terrace and in their own communities. From 1998 to 2005 Dr. Altar was the visiting treatment Psychologist for the Haisla drug & alcohol treatment centre in Kitimaat Village. Dr. Altar first taught for NWCC in 1995 and then became regular faculty and Head of the Psychology Department in 2003.
Dr. Altar continues to serve the community of Terrace as a Registered Psychologist. He is also served as a Board Member and past President of the Kermode Friendship Centre and currently serves as a director and past President of the British Columbia Psychological Association (BCPA).
As a College-Professor for NWCC, Dr. Altar aims to represent the science and profession of Psychology and its important contributions to humanity. He wants his students to be challenged and informed by the important findings of Psychology. Key pedagogical aims for Dr. Altar are to provoke critical thinking and to get students to question their taken-for-granted assumptions and misconceptions about how humans actually think, feel and act. As a Registered Psychologist and past member of the Native Psychologists Association of Canada, he is uniquely qualified to provide a true integration of both Psychological Theory and Mental Health Practice. In addition, Dr. Altar holds that Psychology is profoundly useful for everyone and, in his classes, he stresses the practical importance of Psychology in the personal and working lives of his students.
As a practicing Psychologist, Dr. Altar does both individual and couples therapy, family interventions, assessments and consultations. As a rural Psychologist, Dr. Altar had to become a generalist and provide treatment for a great variety of problems. The orientation that he takes in his work is predominantly cognitive-behavioural, psychoeducational and evidence-based. Since every person is unique in his or her life problems and strengths, Dr. Altar sees his role to be that of helping people to increase self-understanding and improve their coping. His ultimate goal is to help people help themselves by overcoming distorted ways of thinking and undoing ineffective ways of acting. The philosophical orientation that guides his practice is Existential, which affirms our freedom to make choices and define our lives.
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