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Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. | Professor, SCU Psychology Department

Thomas G. Plante

Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP is the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., University Professor and professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.

He has served as psychology department chair, acting dean of the school of education, and director of the spirituality and health institute at Santa Clara University.  He recently served as vice-chair of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and is past-president of the Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (Division 36) of the American Psychological Association.

He has authored and edited 21 books including Graduating with Honor: Best Practices to Promote Ethics Development in College Students (2017, Praeger), Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis, 2002-2012 (2011, Praeger), Spiritual Practices in Psychotherapy: Thirteen Tools for Enhancing Psychological Health (2009, American Psychological Association), Do the Right Thing: Living Ethically in an Unethical World (2004, New Harbinger), Contemporary Clinical Psychology (1999, 2005, 2010, Wiley), as well as published over 200 scholarly professional journal articles and book chapters.

He has been featured in numerous media outlets including Time Magazine, CNN, NBC Nightly News, the PBS News Hour, New York Times, USA Today, BBC, NPR, among many others. He has evaluated or treated more than 850 priests and applicants to the priesthood and diaconate and has served as a consultant for a number of Church dioceses and religious orders.  He maintains a private practice in Menlo Park, CA where he lives with his wife, Lori (also a psychologist). Their son, Zach, is a student at Dartmouth College.

Woman in black dress holding a graduation cap in front of her

10 Ways to Maximize the College Experience

By Thomas Plante
As I enter my 30th year of college teaching (mostly at Santa Clara University) I hope that college students are mindful of a few critical rules that...
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Is Facebook the New Rorschach?

By Thomas Plante
You all have likely heard about the Rorschach, the famous inkblot test used by psychologists for nearly a century to access personality and...
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Man lifting weights at an outdoor beach-side gym at sunset

How Can You Enjoy Exercise More?

By Thomas Plante
We all know that exercise is good for our physical and mental health and well-being, but it is so difficult for most well- intended people to sustain a healthy...
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Filtering Political Discussions through Civility, Compassion, and Common Good

By Thomas Plante
It doesn’t take a psychologist (or a political scientist for that matter) to know that political discourse and behavior has become very ugly in recent months...
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The (Hard and Soft) Science of a Great Night’s Sleep (Part 2)

By Thomas Plante
At Santa Clara University, students can take a course called Health Psychology that, in part, reviews the research and clinical best practices for maximizing...
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Make America Kind Again

By Thomas Plante
You likely have heard about this popular new slogan, “Make America Kind Again,” which has been a variation on President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America...
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How Sacred Values Influence Our Behavior

By Thomas Plante
Watching the horrific behavior of ISIS-inspired violence is perplexing and unfathomable—as is the remarkable aggression perpetrated by many who...
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The Holidays Can Be an Opportunity for Great Hope

By Thomas Plante
Regardless of your religious tradition (or lack of one) one common denominator as we enter into the heart of the holiday season is the desire for hope. Think about...
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Are Love and Romance Possible in a Narcissistic Culture?

By Thomas Plante
We seem to be living in a more and more narcissistic culture. Evidence from numerous sources suggests that self-centeredness and narcissism are...
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What Santa Clara Does Better than the Ivy League

By Thomas Plante
You’ve likely had the experience of going on vacation only to return home having new insights into the pros and cons of your regular daily...
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Has Civility Become a Quaint Relic of the Past?

By Thomas Plante
I was recently asked to chair a working group on civility for the American Psychological Association. The purpose of the working group is to develop policies...
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5 Ways to Create a Culture of Ethics

By Thomas Plante
Good ethics is good business: Why have so few seen the memo? So often we hear about unethical and egregious behavior of organizations and their...
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Life on Other Planets Would Rock Our World

By Thomas Plante
My friend and colleague, Professor Phil Kesten, offers some remarkable and thought-provoking comments in his current Illuminate article...
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How to have a Job that Isn’t Work

By Thomas Plante
Wouldn’t it be great if you were happy to say: "thank God it’s Monday," rather than "thank God it’s Friday"? I often tell my college and...
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How College Protests Can Embrace Ethics

By Thomas Plante
Can campus protests appropriately embrace important ethical principles? In recent months, colleges across the country have erupted...
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Do you Pass the Las Vegas Relationship Test?

By Thomas Plante
Here's why you should go to Las Vegas before saying "I do." While Hollywood highlights the magic of intimate relationships - think movies such as...
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Why A CEO Hires SCU Grads Over Stanford Grads

By Thomas Plante
I recently attended a neighborhood event hosted by a Silicon Valley CEO and his family. When he learned that I teach at Santa Clara...
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6 Rules To Stay Healthy In 2016

By Thomas Plante
Portion control is out of control in America. With a third of the American population considered obese (with body mass index scores at 30 or...
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Surprising Ways Your Mind & Body Interact

By Thomas Plante
When it comes to health and wellness, belief matters and matters big time! Biopsychosocial factors all integrate to determine health...
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Helping Others Is Good For Your Health

By Thomas Plante
I have an elderly patient in my small psychotherapy practice who is a wealthy Silicon Valley retired professional with no relatives. He participates...
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4 Things You Need to Know About Happiness

By Thomas Plante
We all want to be happy. Who doesn't? But most people fail to realize why their attempts to secure happiness are typically fraught with...
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The College Professor Becomes the College Parent

By Thomas Plante
I have newfound respect, sympathy, and solidarity for the parents of my college students during recent months, especially parents who live...
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7 Rules of Forgiveness

By Thomas Plante
I gave a lecture on forgiveness at Stanford University and noticed that almost everyone in the audience admitted they've struggled with trying to...
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6 Rules to Avoid Being a Smartphone Jerk

By Thomas Plante
Smartphones have taken the world by storm. One of my students tells me she knows second-graders who have them. If those children are like most...
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Is a Liberal Arts Education Dying?

By Thomas Plante
In an article entitled "Get Rich U" published in the New Yorker, author Ken Auletta discussed the cozy relationship between Stanford University...
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Why Your Exercise Environment Matters

By Thomas Plante
I was born and raised in Rhode Island, so I certainly don't take our terrific weather for granted. Year-round beautiful weather along with our...
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"It's fun to be Catholic Again!"

By Thomas Plante
Our dear friend Thomas Reese, S.J., said of Pope Francis "I haven't been this hopeful about the Church in decades ... it's fun to be Catholic again!"...
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Randy Wouldn't Do That, He's a Santa Clara Guy

By Thomas Plante
At Santa Clara University undergraduates must take at least one course in ethics before they graduate. While most of these courses are taught...
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Santa Clara's 3 C's Matter...A Lot!

By Thomas Plante
At Santa Clara University we often refer to the 3 C's: competence, conscience, and compassion. Although living and working in Northern...
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