College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Leihua Edstrom

Director of the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology

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  • Diplomate in School Neuropsychology, American Board of School Neuropsychology, 2012
  • Postdoctoral Training at Seattle Mental Health and in K-12 School Consultation, 2000-2002
  • Ph.D. in School Psychology, University of Washington, 2000
  • M.Ed. in Education (specialization in School Psychology), University of Washington, 1994
  • B.S. in Psychology, University of Washington, 1988


I am thrilled to be a part of the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology where I can join my faith with my love of psychology! At age twelve, I knew I was destined to be a counselor, dedicating my professional life to helping and encouraging others. Now many years later, I continue to be energized by the potential the field of psychology has to offer a global community with profound needs. 

Before coming to Northwest University, I practiced school psychology in the public school system in western Washington for ten years. Prior to that, I spent ten years researching aggression and bullying and school-based prevention of these behaviors. My involvement in both research and direct psychological services has given me a profound appreciation for the integration of science with practice. 

In my role at NU, I am privileged to mentor emerging psychologists in areas of special interest to me—namely, psychological assessment and research. Assessment is a long-time tradition in our field that allows us to generate the information needed to help our clients better understand who they are and how to achieve their goals. I view research as a cornerstone on which to base our work and as an essential strategy for furthering our field and finding answers that can refine our understanding of human behavior and need.

I am passionate about mentoring the next generation of psychologists—grounded in a hopeful perspective of human growth and change; an emphasis on the deep appreciation of the whole individual (cultural, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual); and, a strengths-based approach to mentoring.

Special Interests

Family well-being and relationships; gender identity development; contextual effects of culture and community on children’s and adolescent’s learning and well-being; and, effective school support and prevention programming for the promotion of children’s social and emotional learning.


  • Research Methods
  • Psychological Assessment

Professional Interests

Current Research: Qualitative study of adolescents’ gender identity development and the potential contribution of faith; evaluation research of marriage enrichment programming with military families.

Current Clinical Practice: Private practice in school neuropsychological evaluation for children and adolescents with complex learning, emotional, and behavioral concerns; consultation with K-12 schools and districts related to programming for students with special or unique needs.


Clinton, A. B., Edstrom, L., Mildon, H. A., & Davila, L. (2015). Social emotional learning in a Guatemalan preschool sample: Does socioeconomic status moderate the effects of a school-based prevention program? School Psychology International, 36, 18-35.

Fitzgerald, P.D., & Edstrom, L.V. (2012). Social and emotional skills training with Second Step: A violence prevention curriculum. In S.R. Jimerson, A. B. Nickerson, M.J. Mayer, & M. J. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of school violence and school safety: International research and practice, second edition (pp. 423-433). New York: Routledge.

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V., & Snell, J. L. (2009). Observed reductions in school bullying, nonbullying aggression, and destructive bystander behavior: A longitudinal evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 466-481. doi: 10.1037/a001339

Frey, K. S., Hirschstein, M. K., Snell, J. L., Edstrom, L. V., MacKenzie, E. P., & Bruschi, C. J. (2005). Reducing playground bullying and supporting beliefs: An experimental trial of the Steps to Respect program. Developmental Psychology, 41, 479-491.

Hirschstein, M. K., Edstrom, L. V., Frey, K. S., Snell, J. L., & MacKenzie, E. P. (2007). Walking the talk in bullying prevention: Teacher implementation variables related to initial impact of the Steps to Respect program. School Psychology Review, 36, 3-21.


Edstrom, L. (2015, October). Executive functioning and its contribution to learning: Implications for teaching, assessment, and intervention. Training conducted for Special Education staff of Mukilteo School District, Mukilteo, WA.

Edstrom, L. (2014, June). Childhood sexual abuse: The trauma and hope for healing. Presentation to Celebrate Recovery Leadership Team of Maltby Christian Assembly, Snohomish, WA.

Edstrom, L. (2012, 2013, August). Social emotional learning: Fostering a safe, positive learning environment. Presentation at the Bellevue School District Summer Institute, Bellevue, Washington.

Recommended Reading

  • The Developing Mind (2nd ed.): How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are by Daniel J. Siegel, MD
  • Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being by Martin E. P. Seligman
  • Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith by David G. Myers & Malcolm A. Jeeves
  • Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew