The Psychology Major at Ave Maria University is off to an auspicious start. While offering a standard psychology curriculum, the study of psychology at Ave Maria is based upon a foundation that integrates the wisdom of philosophy and the treasury of Catholic theological anthropology with the theory, research, and practice of the discipline of psychology. This is presented most explicitly in the department’s signature course, entitled Foundations of Psychology as a Human Science, which considers original works of Freud, Skinner, Rogers, May, Frankl and others, along with writings by Augustine, Aquinas, Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II, Benedict Groeschel, Paul Vitz and others. Based upon this integrated view of the human person, students are prepared for life and work in the mental health fields of psychology, counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, and pastoral counseling, as well as related fields including education, business, law, health care, and human services.
Dr. Keith Houde is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Ave Maria University. He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Fuller Theological Seminary Graduate School of Psychology. He also holds an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, an M.A. in Psychology from Duquesne University, and a B.A. in Psychology and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Before coming to Ave Maria, he served as Clinical Psychologist and Psychology Training Director for the predoctoral internship and postdoctoral residency programs at the Togus VA Medical Center in Maine. His clinical work was primarily in the areas of PTSD and health psychology. Since he has facilitated the training of new psychologists at the end of their doctoral education, he offers a great vantage point from which to guide undergraduates at the beginning of their formal education in psychology. It is worth noting that Dr. Houde was recently honored with the Distinguished Member Award of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies for his years of leadership and service to that organization. Dr. Houde brings to Ave Maria his passion for the development of a Catholic psychology of the person, rooted in the theological anthropology and philosophical psychology of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
The developing and expanding psychology program at Ave Maria currently includes approximately 50 declared majors, with an initial graduating class of nine Psychology Majors at this year’s Commencement. In February, the department hosted a guest lecture by Dr. Paul Vitz, Professor and Senior Scholar at the Institute for Psychological Sciences, on the topic of “Why Now is a Good Time for a Christian and Catholic Approach to Psychology.” There is an effort to individualize the education to the interests of the students. For example, during baseball spring training in March, the department facilitated field trips for interested students to meet with sports psychology staff of both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Students have also initiated the formation of a new Psychology Club on campus. This is an exciting time to participate in the Psychology program at Ave Maria University!