Meet Our Faculty
David St. John, PhD
Office phone: 248.476.1122, ext. 111
Dr. St. John’s primary teaching and research interests focus on social, psychological and ecological justice. This includes an emphasis on multiculturalism, ecopsychology, and dynamic, phenomenological-based psychology. An overarching theme in his work is an avocation of diversity—be it in culture, theory or research method—and inclusion of these diverse perspectives in academia, professional psychology and society-at-large.
Both clinically and academically, he is interested in alternative definitions of psychological work that serve the truly creative and person-centered aspects of the endeavor. In his private practice, he works respectfully with individuals and families, presenting with a wide range of concerns. In that way, the focus is on the person, not on the ‘pathology.’
- PhD in Clinical Psychology, University of Detroit-Mercy
- MA in Clinical Psychology, University of Detroit-Mercy
- BS, Wayne State University
Areas of Expertise/Interests
- Social, psychological and ecological justice
St. John, D. (2012, August). Evidence in support of existential-humanistic psychology: Revitalizing the third force. APA Annual Convention.
St. John, D. (2012, May). Navigating resistance: Ethnicity and intersectionality in the class room. NCORE annual conference.
Blau, D., & St. John, D. (2012, March). Sharing worlds: Towards a multicultural humanistic psychology. Div 32 Annual Conference.
St. John, D., & MacDonald, D. (2007). Development and initial validation of a measure of ecopsychological self. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 39(1), 48-67.
- American Psychological Association
- Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Div 45)
- Society for Humanistic Psychology (Div 32)
- Addictions (Div 50)
- Population and Environmental Psychology (Div 34)
- Michigan Society of Integrative Psychoanalytic Studies
- Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts (Board Member)
Q: Why do you think multiculturalism and social justice is important for psychology?
A: It’s important for two main reasons. First, many of the folks that we work with—clinically or academically—are disenfranchised on a social level, due to racism, poverty, disability or heterosexism, to name just a few areas. If we are, either actively or passively, taking a ‘blind’ approach to these very real institutional barriers, we in turn are marginalizing the very real experiences of these folks, and perpetuating the injustices they experience. This, of course, is counter to a truly empathetic, socially just and person-centered perspective. Second, being fair is an ethical responsibility of psychologists, in all areas of our work. Be it as academics, researchers, supervisors or clinicians, we need to continually evaluate ourselves to make sure we are being fair in our relationships. This is especially important when we are in positions of power over others.
Q: What do you think is an over looked—but still important—ingredient to quality psychological work?
A: Creativity. While much recent attention has been paid to evidence-based treatment protocols and pre-described outcome measures—for better or worse—psychology seems to have forgotten that our work is a mutually-creative endeavor. This is true whether we’re working with individuals and families in a clinic, with students in the classroom, or with our colleagues in our workplaces. When we are able to foster a sense of safety and freedom, then participants can be truly creative, and new and improved ways of thinking, behaving and being can result. But the process of creativity is usually messy and full of uncertainty; therefore, it takes tolerance for ambiguity and a lot of effort. That may be why it is often undervalued. Still, it’s a much needed component to our work.