Robert L. Benefield, Ph.D.

 Professor of Psychology and Criminal Justice


I am completing my 41st year of college teaching and my 11th year as Professor of Psychology and Criminal Justice at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. I also hold Professor Emeritus status at LSU-Shreveport. I have been involved as a researcher and consultant-facilitator in conflict resolution, anger management, and creative problem-solving for schools, law enforcement, and community agencies. I currently am a researcher in spiritual discernment as well as consultant and workshop facilitator promoting changes in self-awareness in consciousness to facilitate positive behavior change. Here are some of the things I have been involved in over the years:



  • Created Crack in the Matrix Solutions (since 2009) for Consultation and Creative Problem-Solving Strategies. Including:

Choice 2 FLOW Violence Reduction and Peacemaking Programs
Restorative Justice Conference at ETBU
2013 Peace Making Program PDF: Peace is possible...
Psychology of Consciousness Course
Psychology of Peace Course

See for details. 

  • Curriculum Development and Lead Facilitator for an anger management intervention program for adjudicated youth and adults.
  • Curriculum Development and Lead Facilitator for an “understanding adolescent development” intervention programs for probation and parole officers.
  • Facilitator for the creative problem-solving component of a parenting training intervention program developed by Community Support Programs of Louisiana serving parents who had abused their children.
  • Lead Facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project at David Wade Correctional Institute and Caddo Correctional Center of Louisiana.
  • Executive Director of the Caddo-Bossier Children’s Advocacy Center supervising forensic interventions, counseling, parent training activities, and community outreach activities.
  • Director and Lead Facilitator of the Northwest Louisiana Community Mediation Center--training community leaders and law enforcement officers in dispute resolution tactics and conducting mediation sessions.
  • Project Director, Peer Mediation in the Schools Program established conflict resolution programs in public schools.
  • Co-founder of the Caddo-Bossier Drop Your Guns Program delivering anti-violence and weapon reduction programs  

"Romans 8: 35 Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ….”
"Philippians 4: 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”

 Education/Degrees/Years of attainment:

  •  PhD in Psychology Southern Illinois University at Carbondale 1973
  • MA in Psychology New Mexico State University at Las Cruces 1968
  • BA in Psychology Louisiana Tech University 1966

Counseling/Research/Teaching Interests:

I am interested in the application of scientific methodologies to community issues and reporting the findings associated with these applications have been the backbone of my teaching. In addition to being a behavioral scientist, I also believe I have learned to open to the creative flow operating in my teaching. Notable in this area has been the application of cognitive behavior analysis and creative problem-solving to the university learning situation.

Some examples include:

  • Application of concepts in cognitive behaviorism, human consciousness, and awareness training to improved concentration and improved academic performance in students with poor academic performance and test anxiety.
  • Creative applications of peace seeking strategies, including art and music, applied to reducing conflict and increasing racial and ethnic harmony in college freshman.
  • Application of applied behavior analysis methodology to the self-management of behaviors such as destructive anger episodes, unhealthy stress, and to increasing happiness and joy.
  • Integration of faith and learning with specific applications of concepts such as consciousness to my courses in violence and victimization, behavior modification strategies, psychology of consciousness and sport psychology.

Recent Scholarly activity (presentations, publications, etc.):

  • Benefield, R. "Kenosis as Entanglement: Balancing Self-Empty-Ness and Self-Full-Ness in a Model of Transformational Consciousness for Facilitating Peace-Making in Human Interactions" presented to the Science and Nonduality Conference; San Jose, California; October, 2014.
  • Benefield, R. L. and Rosado, B. Self-Management Applications for Facilitating Developmental Relationships. In Dominguez, N. & Gandert, Y. (Eds.). 5th Annual Mentoring Conference Proceedings: Facilitating Developmental Relationships for Success. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico (2013)
  • Benefield, R.L. Self-Management Applications for Facilitating Developmental Relationships: Balancing Control and Surrender in Transformational Consciousness. Paper presented to University of New Mexico Mentoring Conference. (2013)
  • Benefield, R.L. Stand Back Awareness as a Tool for Balancing Analysis and Neutrality in the Exploration of Personal Consciousness: Mystical States of Consciousness Applied. Paper presented to the Science and Nonduality International Conference, San Rafael, California. October, 2012
  • Benefield, R. Creative Anger Awareness Training for Parents - Becoming a Role Model and Facilitator for Anger Management in Children. Paper presented to the 2011 International Conference on Parent Education and Parenting. Denton, Texas (2011)
  • Cognitive Behavior Analysis Self-Management Strategies: Destructive Anger, Poor Memory, and Nonproductive Arousal. Paper presented to the Southwestern Psychological Association Meeting, San Antonio, Texas. (2009)
  • “Further Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Ascribed Characteristics of Spiritual Discernment: Religious and Political Affiliation Profiles.” Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference. Tucson, AZ, April, 2010
  • Creative Anger Awareness Training: Becoming a facilitator for anger management strategies.” The International Conference on Parent Education and Parenting. Denton, TX, March, 2010
  • Quantitative Assessment of Religious Affiliation, Political Orientation, and Strength of Belief in God on the Spiritual Discernment Scale: Spiritual Discernment Profiles. Paper presented to the Toward the Science of Consciousness Conference. Tucson, AZ. April 2012
  • Benefield, R.L. Mystical Consciousness: Crack in the Matrix. Llumina Press. ISBN: 978-1-60594-190-5 (2008)
  • Benefield, R.L. Planning with Purpose: Anger and Happiness as Keys to Awareness. Llumina Press. (2005)

Professional Memberships:

  • Member, American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Member, Association for Psychological Science (APS)
  • Member, Southwestern Psychological Association (SWPA)
  • Member, Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology
  • Member, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society

Community/Public Service:

  • Community Support Programs of Louisiana (Consultant in Creative Problem-Solving and Anger Management (worked with adjudicated teens and adults). 2000-2005)
  • St. Catherine Community Center Facilitator in Creative Anger Management to teens and adults. (2001-2002)
  • Louisiana Department of Corrections (curriculum development and training for probation and parole officers), 1999-2000.
  • Director, ArkLaTex Dispute Resolution Center, 1995-1999.
  • Ark-La-Tex Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) Lead facilitator for community school, and prison workshops.(1993-present)
  • Louisiana State University Medical Center Consultant for Project Care (Literacy Program). (1991)
  • Schumpert Hospital, Rehabilitation Unit Served as behavior management specialist for nurses, physical therapists, and other practitioners working with clients who
  • were non-compliant and non-cooperative. (1990-1991)
  • Family Crisis Center Developed a behavior analysis program for use in a residential treatment center with emotionally disturbed adolescents. (1987-1989)

Contact Me or
Office: 903-923-2089
Mobile: 318-470-6868


Spiritual Discernment

What is spiritual discernment?

Would you like your opinions and ideas about the concept of spiritual discernment to be included in a study of the ascribed characteristics of spiritual discernment?

You are invited to complete the Spiritual Discernment Survey online at

As of December 15, 2006, 158 participants from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia have completed the Spiritual Discernment Survey online.

Robert Benefield, Professor of Psychology at East Texas Baptist University has begun a research program to investigate the ascribed characteristics of spiritual discernment. Pilot data collected in 2005 and exploratory factor analyses conducted by Frederick Newman at Florida International University have resulted in the revised Spiritual Discernment Survey (SDS). These researchers are soliciting participants of diverse faiths to complete the survey.

Mission of the Spiritual Discernment Project: promote data-collection and exploration of the concept of "spiritual discernment" beginning with an analysis of the ascribed characteristics of spiritual discernment.

Copies of pilot studies, questions, concerns, and other information are available from Dr. Benefield at