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Distinguished Alumnus

Art Jongsma

Arthur Jongsma

M.A. and Ph.D., Psychology, 1969 and 1972

When Dr. Arthur Jongsma enrolled in the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, it had yet to be accredited. Nevertheless, he began his studies in anticipation of the program’s approval, which occurred in 1972, while under the departmental leadership of fellow 2013 award honoree, Dr. Sanford J. Dean. Mentored by Dr. Sol Feldman, Dr. Jongsma was a proud member of NIU’s inaugural class of doctoral graduates in clinical psychology. Throughout his career, Dr. Jongsma has exemplified the NIU ideals of public and professional achievement and service, and he continues to impact the practice of clinical psychology as an accomplished psychologist, author, and consultant.

As a student, Dr. Jongsma had a keen interest in the practical issues confronting clinical psychologists and their clients. His dissertation focused on the impact of self-disclosure on the relationship between therapists and their clients, which carried over into a rigorous, scientifically-based approach to his own career.

That career has had many facets. Dr. Jongsma has been a staff psychologist in a psychiatric hospital, an outpatient psychotherapist in private practice, a consultant to mental health and addiction treatment programs, an author and series editor, a software designer, and an international lecturer on treatment planning. He practiced in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a variety of clinical settings for 25 years.

While serving as a consultant to an addiction treatment agency, he was asked to train counselors on developing more focused treatment plans, an experience that alerted him to the need for tools that would help therapists articulate and effectively document treatment procedures. Dr. Jongsma found that clinical treatment plans were often imprecise and not always based on best practice or research-supported interventions. To address this, he developed a series of clinical practice “planners” to help practitioners develop empirically-based treatment plans integrated with client homework and session progress notes across a wide variety of disorders. To date, he has authored, coauthored, or edited over 50 books in his PracticePlanner series published by John Wiley, including 33 Treatment Planners, 15 Homework Planners, and 7 Progress Note Planners. Dr. Jongsma’s first book, The Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment Planner, published in 1995, is now in its 5th edition.

He also created TheraScribe®, a software tool which integrates the PracticePlanner content allowing clinicians to point and click to develop and print custom treatment plans, client homework, and session progress notes. Most recently, he coauthored a series of DVDs that help practitioners integrate the most effective, empirically based treatment interventions into their counseling practice. These materials are used worldwide to help ensure consistent, best practices in treatment planning and implementation.

Dr. Jongsma and his wife, Judy Landis, have two daughters and four grandchildren. He has maintained a lifelong interest in competitive table tennis, playing in high-level competitions for five decades. He is also actively involved with his church and has served on the boards of several educational, religious, and community agencies in Michigan and Illinois.

Dr. Jongsma has successfully balanced research and clinical experience in a way that has positively impacted thousands of psychologists and their clients. His contributions to the mental health profession represent exceptionally high standards of achievement and have clearly distinguished Dr. Jongsma among his peers and in his field.