Donna Rockwell

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Remembering Dr. Donna Rockwell: A Legacy of Dedication to Humanistic Psychology

I’ve been reflecting for the last few weeks on the unexpected loss of Dr. Donna Rockwell, a significant figure in the world of psychology and an alumna of the Michigan School of Psychology where I also received my doctorate degree. Dr. Rockwell passed away on October 7th at the age of 66.

Inspirational Encounters with Dr. Rockwell

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Rockwell several times during my doctoral program, with the first encounter dating back to 2013 at the Division 32 conference in Santa Barbara. Prior to our meeting, I had seen her in numerous media appearances. One of our Bright Pine clinicians, Dr. Stacy Nuar, also had the opportunity to collaborate closely with Dr. Rockwell on her dissertation.

A Remarkable Journey of Dedication

Dr. Rockwell’s remarkable work ethic and unwavering commitment to mental health advocacy have always been a great source of inspiration. She graduated from the Center for Humanistic Studies (CHS) in 2000 and 2004, where she went on to become an adjunct faculty member, Community Outreach/Public Relations Coordinator, and a dedicated instructor of various psychology courses. She secured a grant to create the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy course, which became an integral part of the MSP’s PsyD program.

A Leader in the Field 

Furthermore, Dr. Rockwell’s advocacy extended beyond her work at MSP. She served as the President of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32 of the APA, and made significant contributions to psychology journals. In addition to her academic achievements, she built a successful career as a licensed psychologist in both Michigan and New York, where she seamlessly integrated her research on celebrity, fame, and mindfulness meditation into clinical practice.

A Journey from Journalism to Psychology

Before venturing into psychology, Dr. Rockwell was a trailblazing TV journalist and one of the founding members of CNN in Washington, DC. Her extensive media experience proved invaluable in her role as the Community Outreach/Public Relations Coordinator at CHS, where she attended community meetings, initiated special outreach projects, issued press releases, and handled media inquiries on behalf of MSP.

A Lasting Legacy

Dr. Rockwell’s legacy will be deeply missed among the mental health community and the broader field of humanistic psychology. Her dedication and contributions have left an indelible mark on all who have had the privilege of knowing her.

Reflecting on Dr. Rockwell’s Legacy

As we remember Dr. Donna Rockwell, her story reminds us of the impact one person can have on an entire field. Her journey from journalism to psychology, her dedication to mental health advocacy, and her contributions to academia and clinical practice are nothing short of inspiring.

Reflection Question: How Can You Strive to Be More Like Dr. Rockwell?

Dr. Donna Rockwell was a prominent figure in psychology, known for her exceptional work ethic, dedication to mental health advocacy, and influential roles in academia and clinical practice, leaving a lasting legacy in the field of humanistic psychology. Reflecting on her life and achievements, we can all learn valuable lessons from her journey. Here are some ways in which we can strive to be more like Dr. Rockwell:

  1. Passion and Dedication:

    Dr. Rockwell’s unwavering dedication to mental health advocacy is a reminder of the importance of passion in our work. Strive to find and pursue what truly drives you in your field.

  2. Academic Excellence:

    Her contributions to academia, including the creation of the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy course, highlight the significance of pushing the boundaries of knowledge and learning.

  3. Balancing Roles:

    Dr. Rockwell seamlessly integrated her research and clinical practice. Seek ways to bridge theory and practice in your own career.

  4. Adaptability:

    Her transition from journalism to psychology showcases the power of adaptability. Be open to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to explore different paths.

  5. Community Engagement:

    Dr. Rockwell’s involvement in community outreach and media relations emphasizes the importance of connecting with the broader community and disseminating knowledge.

  6. Leadership:

    Serving as the President of the Society for Humanistic Psychology shows the impact one can have as a leader in their field. Consider taking on leadership roles that align with your expertise and values.

In honoring Dr. Rockwell’s memory, let’s strive to incorporate these qualities into our own lives and work, making a positive impact in the field of psychology and beyond. Dr. Donna Rockwell’s legacy reminds us that, with dedication and passion, we can leave a lasting mark in our chosen fields.

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