Thomas G. Plante (born in Rhode Island, USA) is professor of psychology on the faculty of Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. His ideas have been covered in Time Magazine other news media with regard to sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, a focus of some of his research and clincal practice. He has also conducted research on exercise psychology, and on the health effects of spiritual and religious practice.
Education and academic career
Plante graduated with a Sc.B. in psychology from Brown University (1982), later receiving his MA (1983) and PhD (1987) in Clinical Psychology from University of Kansas. He did a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical and health psychology at Yale University (1987–1988). He has been Associate Professor (1994–2002) and Professor (2002-) at Santa Clara University in the Department of Psychology (serving as chair in 1999-2002 and 2005–07).
Plante's ideas have been covered in a variety of news media. According to his profile at Psychology Today's website, where Plante operates a blog (see external links), he has been featured in media outlets that include Time Magazine, CNN, NBC Nightly News, the PBS News Hour, New York Times, USA Today, BBC, and National Public Radio. For example,
- In 2002, Time featured comments from Plante, as one of five "leading Catholics," on how the Catholic Church could overcome the sexual abuse crisis. He noted that only about 5% of priests had been involved in sexual abuse of minors, a percentage "not inconsistent with other male clergy or with the general population." He also suggested that a "militaristic hierarchy" in the church might have contributed to a comparatively large number of victims per abuser. Later the same month, Time published a letter that referred to Plante's remarks, and asked why Time didn't say more about the 95% of priests who were not abusers.
- In 2005, Time discussed Plante's role in screening applicants for seminary training to become priests.
He has been covered in magazines for professionals. For example:
- In 2002, the Monitor on Psychology, sent to all members of the American Psychological Association, covered Plante's ideas about how psychologists might help resolve the crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. He argued that psychologists "can offer the best in science and the best in practice and let data cut through the hysteria."
Plante's writings have also been published in mass media outlets. For example:
- In 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story by Plante commenting on the sexual abuse crisis.
Plante's clinical and research interests include
- psychological issues among Catholic clergy and laypersons
- ethical decision making
- health effects related to spiritual and religious involvement
- stress and coping
- the influence of aerobic exercise and perceived fitness on psychological functioning
Plante has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited fourteen books including
- Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health (2010, Greenwood)
- Spiritual Practices in Psychotherapy: Thirteen Tools for Enhancing Psychological Health (2009, American Psychological Association)
- Spirit, Science and Health: How the Spiritual Mind Fuels Physical Wellness (2007, Greenwood)
- Mental Disorders of the New Millennium (Vols. I, II, and III, 2006, Greenwood)
- Sin against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church (2004, Greenwood)
- Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives (2001, Guilford)
- Do the Right Thing: Living Ethically in an Unethical World (2004, New Harbinger)
- Contemporary Clinical Psychology (1999, 2005, 2010, Wiley)
- Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned: Perspectives on Sexual Abuse Committed by Roman Catholic Priests (1999, Greenwood)
Plante has also published over 150 scholarly professional journal articles and book chapters.
- Curriculum Vitae: Thomas G. Plante, accessed 7 Nov. 2009.
- Johanna McGeary, Rebecca Winter/Bridgeport, et al. (2002, Apr. 1). Plante's remarks appeared in a sidebar entitled How to Fix It that accompanied a main article entitled Can the Church be Saved?. Time Magazine, accessed 7 Nov 2009.
- John Ciesla (2002, April 22). In Letters (April 22, 2002): Can the Catholic Church Save Itself?. Time Magazine, accessed 7 Nov. 2009.
- David Van Biema (2005, Oct. 9). Screening The Priests. Time Magazine, accessed 7 Nov. 2009.
- Jennifer Daw (2002, June). Can psychology help a church in crisis?. Monitor on Psychology, v33 n2, accessed 7 Nov. 2009.
- Thomas Plante (2004, Mar. 5). Sexual abuse by Catholic priests -- Next steps. San Francisco Chronicle, p. A29, accessed 7 Nov. 2009.