Saturday, January 5, 2013

Faculty Profile: Prof. Jonathan Smith

First, let me share with you that I’m a Full Professor of Clinical Psychology and have enjoyed teaching at Roosevelt since 1975.  I’ve taught, done research, counseled, and served as Department Chair.  My biggest achievement was to shepherd the creation of a University-approved PsyD program in Clinical Psychology in our Department.   Indeed, I helped persuade the University that doctoral programs must be an important and defining part of Roosevelt’s future.   I am proud that twenty years later this has come to pass.  Under the passionate and talented guidance of four subsequent Directors, our PsyD can rightly brag to be one of the best in the country.

More recently I stepped aside to create the Stress Institute.  Our vision was to stimulate research and fight pseudoscience and fad-ridden reductionism rampant in the field of stress. The Institute’s largely online program works in cooperation with our sister “Stress Institute” at Spain’s University of the Basque Country, run by Roosevelt graduate Professor Alberto Amutio.

So far I’ve published 20 books and am working on two more (“All Paths Lead to Mindfulness”).   Some are used as textbooks at dozens of universities around the world.  Under my guidance, three dozen students have authored articles in top refereed journals.  I enjoy working with serious, career-oriented undergraduates and graduates.

My work has focused on relaxation and mindfulness (theory, practice, assessment), the factor structure of irrational beliefs, integrative CBT, and most recently critical thinking and pseudoscience in clinical psychology.  I’m also interested in the structure and consequences of paranormal belief systems, anti-gay attitudes, and destructive religiosity.  Out and open.

Currently, I am less a practicing clinician, and more a writer, teacher, researcher, editor, consultant, and shameless satirical provocateur.   I will confront a bigot on a dime.  I cringe at the drugstore perfume of True Believers.  I am a firm believer in instructive humor.

However, my first and final love is writing.  My philosophy: To write is to teach.  To write is to learn.  To write is to live and grow and love as a human being.  The back-and-forth play of ideas in a noisy classroom creates so much more music than the dusty keyboard chatter in a sterile windowless lab.    To put it more directly:  If some day you and I have the good fortune to meet --  in class or over coffee --  may we later find ourselves in a lively discussion on the pages of some future article, e-book, or blog.  

Drop me a line.

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