Jongsma, Jr. '63
Career Leads to Roads
Psychology has opened doors
to Dr. Arthur Jongsma, Jr. '63 that few people enter. He often accompanies
people on journeys to help them resolve pain, turmoil, and despair in their
"It is my privilege to meet
people at crisis points and walk with them down paths that they don't normally
share with others," he said. "People are willing to trust me with their
private struggles, so it is most important to respect and listen to them.
Then I can offer compassion and techniques to resolve some of their issues.
"My Christian faith is reflected
in my work, but I'm careful not to proselytize my patients. I'm always
open to praying with them or discussing issues of faith if they choose,
but I want to be sensitive to their psychological needs first and foremost."
Since beginning his career
in psychology in 1970 at Pine Rest Christian Hospital in Grand Rapids,
Michigan, Jongsma has offered compassionate insight and counsel to hundreds
of patients. For that and other contributions he has made to his field,
the College's alumni board named him the Alumnus of the Year for 2005.
"I decided to pursue a career
in psychology after taking an Introduction to Psychology class," he recalled.
"I wanted to learn what made man do what he does, and after 30 years as
a psychologist, I am still trying to help people understand why they do
what they do."
In 1979, Jongsma started
Psychological Consultants, a private practice that provides counseling
to children, adolescents, and adults struggling with emotional, behavioral,
relational, or addiction problems. In 1995, he began writing treatment-planning
books for mental health and chemical dependence counselors. He also developed
TheraScribe, a computerized database that helps clinicians customize treatment
plans for their patients. It has become the most widely used clinical tool
in the field. Jongsma closed Psychological Consultants in 2004 and continues
writing more content for TheraScribe. Its fifth edition will launch in
"Writing planning books and
developing TheraScribe have given me opportunities to widen my career and
contribute to psychotherapy," he said. "They allow me to come alongside
many people at once and be a 'helper to the helpers.' I can tap into the
wealth of expertise of my colleagues who write with me and share methods
of improving people's lives. I've found this venture to be very rewarding."
Trinity was a two-year institution
when he attended the College, but Jongsma said his time back then set the
stage for him to be the Christian servant he is today. Some of the lessons
he learned four decades ago remain fresh in his mind.
"Those years were extremely
valuable in the impressionable stages of my growth," he said. "From being
spiritually challenged in the intimate and intellectually stimulating chapel
services to just being in a place where everybody knows your name and cares
about you - Trinity made its indelible mark of Christ on my heart, mind,
"I learned the necessity
of continuously evaluating how my faith integrates with my work. I'm a
Christian and a psychologist, and my faith keeps me grounded and brings
balance to my work. Whether I am in my role as a psychotherapist with a
patient or an author writing a treatment-planning book, I pray that the
Holy Spirit will help me help other children of the King. I recognize that
I am saved to serve joyfully."
Jongsma works half-time at
Life Guidance Services in Grand Rapids, where he lives with his wife, Judy.
They have been married for more than 40 years and have two daughters, Kendra
'93 and Michelle, and four grandchildren.
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