Their Own Words | Roberta Wilburn

Roberta Wilburn is the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in Education at Whitworth University. She holds doctorates in education and theology. Now she's guiding the creation of the University's Marriage and Family Therapy Wellness Center, where clinicians-in-training will provide services for $25 per hour.

I was researching family and marriage counseling...


What's the difference?

Therapy deals with the systemic approach. Counseling is on an individual basis. We're talking about looking at families and even individuals from a systemic point of view.

Sort of a holistic model?

Exactly. Even if you're dealing with an individual, that individual is impacted by their family, by their environment, by a lot of things. We used to have a clinical mental health counseling program. We've switched to the marriage and family therapy, because it is aligned with Whitworth's mission and vision... At Whitworth we believe in a mind-and-heart education. Aristotle said educating the mind without educating the heart is not education at all. So the heart is just really critical.

Do you mean compassion or your actual heart?

Your actual heart, absolutely. Even as we do research and we look at the relationship between the heart and the mind, the heart really is regulatory. It impacts a lot of things. Recent studies have shown that the heart communicates with the brain, therefore influencing information processing, perceptions, emotions, and health... All the research is showing that the heart communicates with the brain in ways that significantly affect how we perceive and react to the world.

How would that be manifested?

Well, just think. If you're having problems with your heart, it affects how you feel, how you feel determines how you respond, and if you're interacting with someone, then it impacts how you may react positively or negatively. So we have to take care of the mind and the heart. Our new Marriage and Family Therapy and Wellness Center — it's about healing broken hearts and minds. Helping individuals and families find positive pathways. Because we want them to have a healthy life.