Professor of Clinical Psychology


Photo John Thoburn

Let me begin by sharing a little information about myself and our Interpersonal Research Vertical Team (RVT).

I have been a faculty member in the department of clinical psychology at SPU since 1996, a year after the program started.

My mentor while in graduate school was Dr.Dennis Guernsey, who moved from California and founded the doctoral program at SPU. When because of illness Dr. Guernsey was no longer able to teach, I took over his classes and have been with the program since.

My training is in the area of family psychology with expertise in interpersonal relationships and a systems approach to international psychology. I earned a M.Div. with an emphasis in marriage, family and child counseling from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1984 and Ph.D. from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in 1991. My psychology internship was with the Minirth-Meier Inpatient clinic at Stevens Hospital in Seattle, WA. I was director of SPU’s University Counseling Center for several years and still maintain a small private practice. I am a licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist in the State of Washington. I am board certified in couple and family psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and I am a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

My work in international psychology has taken me to Uganda, Bosnia, India, Sri Lanka, Wales, China and Haiti where I have taught, presented and participated in disaster relief efforts. My associates and I have developed the Health Support Team program, training indigenous volunteers to support friends and family following disasters.

In our APA-accredited clinical Ph.D. program, I teach courses in clinical foundations, couple and family psychology, group psychotherapy and human sexuality. I mentor a team of doctoral students on my interpersonal research vertical team (RVT). The Interpersonal RVT has been primarily focused on the dynamics of three relationship sets: 1) Relationships in ministry, in particular clergy family life 2) Family psychology and disaster/international psychology .i.e. the impact of personal, family and community resources on recovery from natural and manmade disasters, and 3) Relationship between couples, in particular research around mate selection and post-trauma relationships. The Interpersonal RVT is very studentcentric – that is we seek to engage in interpersonal research that is of interest to students. Our RVT offers flexibility for the pursuit of student interests within the domain of family psychology and it also requires self-motivation to initiate and pursue research interests.

M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1984

Ph.D., Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, 1991

Past President, American Academy of Couple and Family Psychology (a specialty of the American Board of Professional Psychology)

Past President, Society for Family Psychology, Division 43 of the American Psychological Association

Past Member, Board of Trustees of the American Board of Professional Psychology

Past Board Member, Couple and Family Psychology specialty of the American Board of Professional Psychology

To learn more about my current and previous research and for a more extensive biography, please click the appropriate link to the left.