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Woman, nonbinary psychologists break barriers in research

Collegian | Trin Bonner

Many nonbinary and woman psychologists have been breaking the glass ceiling in mental health research for the past couple of years. Covering topics from women’s and LGBTQIA+ issues to highly sensitive people and the practice of radical self-compassion, their research has been quite impactful for groups who, historically, haven’t had the same level of education on mental health topics.

Below are five psychologists breaking new ground in their research fields to watch out for as Women’s History Month begins to honor their contributions.


Hillary L. McBride

Hillary L. McBride is a licensed psychologist and researcher based in Vancouver, Canada. She is best known in the mental health community for her 2021 book “The Wisdom of Your Body.” She has also conducted groundbreaking research on the therapeutic model of embodiment.

McBride has written several other books, such as “Embodiment and Eating Disorders: Theory, Research, Prevention and Treatment.” She released “Practices for Embodied Living: Experiencing the Wisdom of Your Body” in January.

McBride also has a podcast discussing religious trauma called “Holy Hurt” with Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries. She can be found on Instagram @hillaryliannamcbride.

Casey Tanner

Casey Tanner is a sex therapist practicing in Chicago, and they are also known for their mental health Instagram @queersextherapy.

Tanner belongs to The Expansive Group, which is a group of therapists focusing on sexuality, gender and relationship counseling. Tanner rose to fame with their Instagram account, where they post mental health infographics related to the queer experience and other therapy tips.

Tanner co-founded a podcast with fellow therapist and Expansive Group member Kamil Lewis called “Safeword” on Instagram. The “Safeword” podcast is named for the safe words people have with their partners during sex, which signal that the individual saying the agreed-upon safe word needs to pause. The podcast covers various topics dealing with sex, relationships, gender and more, and they describe the podcast as “sex therapy unhinged.”

Tanner has a book titled “Feel It All: A Therapist’s Guide to Reimagining Your Relationship With Sex” coming out May 2024.

Emily Nagoski

Emily Nagoski is a sex educator and psychologist with a Ph.D. in health behavior. She describes her mission in life on her website as to “teach women to live with confidence and joy inside their bodies.”

Nagoski became popular after publishing several books on sex and appearing in the Netflix documentary “The Principles of Pleasure.” She discusses the “orgasm gap” in this documentary and in her book “Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life.” The orgasm gap refers to the difference in the frequencies of orgasms between heterosexual men and women during sexual activity, which for women is much lower.


In their book “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle,” Emily Nagoski and her twin sister Amelia Nagoski tackle together why women experience burnout differently than men do. Emily Nagoski just released a book in late January titled “Come Together: The Science (and Art!) of Creating Lasting Sexual Connections,” which tackles sex in long-term relationships as it relates to women. She also has workbooks published for “Come as You Are” and “Burnout.”

Emily Nagoski has a podcast with her sister called “Feminist Survival Project 2020” in which they discuss the burnout experienced by feminists in 2020 and everything that needs to be accomplished as a result. Emily Nagoski can also be found on Instagram @enagoski.

Elaine Aron

Elaine Aron is a clinical psychologist leading research on a new personality trait characterized by being highly sensitive. She describes this new research on personality traits of highly sensitive people in her books “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You,” “The Highly Sensitive Person in Love: Understanding and Managing Relationships When the World Overwhelms You,” “The Highly Sensitive Parent: Be Brilliant in Your Role, Even When the World Overwhelms You” and “The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them.”

Aron identifies as a highly sensitive person who gives real insight into the lives of HSPs and a better understanding of how people with this trait experience the world. Her research has helped validate many people’s emotions, and it has helped clinicians put a name to experiences they’ve felt alone in. She describes HSPs as feeling ashamed for being so sensitive, but in reality, it is a part of who they are, and around 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive people.

Aron has resources on her website to help users figure out whether they are an HSP, what this means for them and how they can better navigate the world as an HSP.

Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff said her research in self-compassion stemmed from her interest in Buddhism. She has been at the forefront of this research ever since, studying compassion empirically.

Neff authored “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself” and most recently “Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power and Thrive” on her research topics.

Neff is also the co-founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. This organization provides free mindfulness and compassion resources such as meditations, practices, workshops and teacher training. Neff can be found on Instagram @neffselfcompassion.

Reach Caden Proulx at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributors
Caden Proulx
Caden Proulx, Print Director
Caden Proulx is a human development and family studies student at Colorado State University pursuing his passion for graphic design at The Collegian. Originally from Austin, Texas, Caden's journalistic journey began in the high school yearbook department, where his passion for design grew. This led to him to seek out student media when he got to Colorado State University. Starting as a page designer in his first year, Caden found a home at The Collegian. This led him to the position of print director his sophomore year. Despite majoring in HDFS, Caden seamlessly integrates his hobby of graphic design with his academic pursuits. The Collegian has become an integral part of his success at CSU. Now firmly rooted in Colorado, Caden is eager to contribute to the student media landscape, The Collegian and its success. He loves working alongside other excited students who are talented and have a lot to teach and push him to continue to grow as a visual journalist.
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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