Featured Trainee - Christopher Drapeau  MS

I am postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Mississippi State University (MSU) and will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Valparaiso University beginning in August 2017.  As a postdoctoral fellow, I have been active in Dr. Michael Nadorff’s Sleep, Suicide, and Aging Lab, and have been teaching courses in biological psychology and suicidology at MSU and seeing sleep clients in the MSU Sleep Specialty Clinic (which is directed by Dr. Nadorff).   

How did you get interested in BSM?

I became interested in behavioral sleep medicine as an undergraduate student at Indiana University South Bend.  As I was working on my honors thesis, focused on the commonalities of creativity and suicide in college students, I came across research suggesting a strong association between certain sleep disorders and suicide risk.  Reading this research piqued my interest and I began looking into graduate programs that emphasized sleep research.  I reached out to, and met with, Dr. Jessica Payne at the University of Notre Dame and she discussed her research and teaching interests in sleep medicine with me and from her I learned about the book, The Promise of Sleep by Dr. William Dement.  After reading this book, I was hooked and added becoming certified in behavioral sleep medicine as one of my career goals. 

Who are your BSM mentors?

My main mentor in behavioral sleep medicine is Dr. Michael Nadorff.  

What are your career goals?

I have a number of goals that I would like to achieve by the end of my life.  One of which, as I noted earlier, is to become certified in behavioral sleep medicine and open a sleep practice either locally or on the campus of Valparaiso University   

What is your dream job?

I’m actually not sure at the moment if one job would constitute my dream job given that this “dream” changes as I learn more about the opportunities available to early career psychologists.  However, I typically enjoy jobs/tasks that entail lofty goals and potential returns on improving outcomes for others, most notably reducing feelings of distress and isolation.  I see behavioral sleep medicine as one of several dream jobs that I would like to pursue that will allow me to give back to the community.  

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

In 10 years, I would like to see a larger community of practitioners certified in behavioral sleep medicine and a greater public awareness about behavioral sleep interventions. 

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

Reading nonfiction books, short-distance running, and spending time with my family.

What experiences have helped shape your training in BSM?

Being able to see sleep clients at the MSU Student Counseling Services and at the MSU Sleep Specialty Clinic have been invaluable.  This was the first time that I have been able to focus entirely on sleep cases and it has reinforced my interest in practicing in behavioral sleep medicine once I am licensed.

What resources have helped to advance your training?

Besides reading research articles and textbooks related to behavioral sleep medicine, I’d have to say that having a mentor and supervisor who is competent in providing evidence-based sleep interventions has been the best resource to advance my training.  In addition, the relationships formed with the campus and local communities have also been a valuable resource, as this has helped us develop referral sources and consistent opportunities to see sleep clients.