G. Michael Leffel, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Dr. G. Michael Leffel has been teaching at PLNU since 1992. Prior to joining the Department of Psychology, he was a psychotherapist in private practice in Denver, Colo. His specializations include personality psychopathology, psychoanalytic psychology and psychotherapy, and the integration of psychoanalytic developmental theory and spiritual formation. As a PLNU Wesleyan Center Scholar and Fellow, Leffel is currently working on several books in the area of moral development and Christian spirituality.

Education

  • Ph.D., Personality and Social Ecology, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
  • M.A., Personality/Clinical Psychology, California State University, Long Beach
  • B.A., Psychology, Point Loma Nazarene University

Courses Taught

  • Personality and Adult Development – PSY 300
  • History and Contemporary Issues in Psychology – PSY 400
  • Pursuing Goodness: The Science of Moral Change (Senior Capstone) – PSY 420

Experience in Field

  • Designed therapeutic and community psychology (TCP) and character, morality, and culture (CMC) concentrations for psychology majors
  • Chair, Department of Psychology, 2005 – 2007
  • Elected by faculty to serve as representative to the Board of Trustees, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2005
  • Developed Psychology of Personal Development curriculum for first-year experience course required of all first-year students at PLNU

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Organizing member of Society for the Study of Psychology and Wesleyan Theology (SSPWT)
  • Organizing member of Wesleyan Center for 21st Century Studies, Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Yearly service on various faculty governance committees, most recently Faculty Resources Committee
  • Institute for Research in Psychology and Spirituality (IRPS) Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University; invited participant at yearly research symposium for research on integration of psychology and Christian spirituality, 2006 – present
  • Society for Study of Psychology and Wesleyan Theology (SSPWT), charter and organizing member for organization that sponsors annual conferences and promotes presentations and writing devoted to the integration of Wesleyan spirituality and psychology, 1997 – present
  • Wesleyan Center for 21st Century Studies, Point Loma Nazarene University, charter and organizing member, awarded multiple grants as Center Scholar and Fellow, 1995 – 2010
  • Peer reviews for articles submitted to Journal of Positive Psychology, Journal of Psychology and Theology, and Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 2005 – present

Awards and Honors

  • Research design and assessment consultant to The Project on the Good Physician, one of 20 projects selected for The New Science of Virtues (March 2010 – 2012), administered by the Arete
  • Initiative at the University of Chicago and funded by the John Templeton Foundation

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • (2016). Flint, D.D., Ahmand, M., Leffel, G.M., & Oakes Mueller, R.A. Good Physician (1 of 3): Redemptive Life Narratives Predict Growth in Generosity. Poster session presented at the 96th Annual Convention of the Western Psychological Association, Long Beach, Calif.
  • (2016). Russell, K.N., Carlson, K.J., Leffel, G.M., & Oakes Mueller, R.A. Good Physician (2 of 3): Contamination Narratives Predict Medical Student Neuroticism and Change in Burnout. Poster session presented at the 96th Annual Convention of the Western Psychological Association, Long Beach, Calif.
  • (2016). Carlson, K.J., Russell, K.N., Leffel, G.M., & Oakes Mueller, R.A. Good Physician (3 of 3): Contamination Narratives Predict Physician Generosity, Mindfulness, and Life Meaning. Poster session presented at the 96th Annual Convention of the Western Psychological Association, Long Beach, Calif.
  • (2013). Leffel, G. M., & Oakes-Mueller, R. A. Project on the good physician: Evidence for the construct validity of a moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring. To be submitted to the Journal of Moral Education.
  • (2013). Leffel, G. M. Beyond meaning: Three levels and cognitive systems of spiritual transformation, Catalyzing a new science of spiritual practices. Submitted to Journal of Psychology and Theology.
  • (2010). Leffel, G. M. “Putting on Virtue”: A motivation-based virtue ethics of caring for practical theology. In M. K. Armistead, B. D. Strawn, & R. W. Wright (eds.), Wesleyan theology and social science: The dance of practical divinity and discovery (pp. 143-158). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • (2008). Leffel, G. M., Fritz, M. E., & Stephens, M. R. Who cares? Generativity and the moral emotions, Part 3: A social intuitionist “ecology of virtue.” Journal of Psychology and Theology, 36, 202-221.
  • (2009) Mid-Year Loyola Conference Leffel, G. M. Generativity and virtues of the quiet ego: A new direction for the psychology of spiritual transformation. Symposium presentation at the Loyola Mid-Year Conference of Division 36 Psychology of Religion, Loyola College, MA.