Our Alumni

Michael Horne, Psy.D., Class of 2009

“I think that being able to understand psychology from a Catholic perspective has allowed me to see the personhood and inherent dignity of my clients more fully.”

What have you been doing professionally since graduating from IPS?

After graduating from IPS, I accepted a position with a Christian counseling clinic and later worked as a psychologist at the Alpha Omega Clinic in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2012, I accepted a position as a full-time psychologist with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) in Arlington, Virginia. I’m now the program director for CCDA – Family Services Fredericksburg where I continue to see clients.

Read more about Dr. Horne’s work here.

How has attending IPS influenced your practice in the field of psychology?

I think that being able to understand psychology from a Catholic perspective has allowed me to see the personhood and inherent dignity of my clients more fully. Additionally, it has enabled me to have a fuller sense of what I’m trying to guide my clients toward — a flourishing life rather than simply a reduction of symptoms.

What was your dissertation topic and some of your main conclusions?

My dissertation focused on how the thematic content of video games influenced state compassion (versus trait compassion) within the player. I found that people who played a violent video game for 20 minutes reported lower levels of compassion than people who played a neutral game, a pro-social game, or engaged in a control activity.

While I initially hypothesized that people playing pro-social games would display an increase in reported levels of compassion after game play, the study showed that there was no statistical difference in reported levels of compassion between the pro-social game group and a control group.

From this I concluded that while violent game play appears to correlate with decreased feelings of compassion, there is no clear evidence that pro-social game play correlates with increased feelings of compassion which raises questions about the use of video games as methods of teaching positive virtues to those who play them.

Why did you choose IPS?

I felt that IPS was a place where I could be well trained in clinical psychology while focusing on increasing my understanding of the human person from a Catholic perspective.

What advice would you offer people considering applying to IPS?

Get a chance to meet the students. During my time at IPS I was impressed with and inspired by the people I was able to spend time with both in and out of class.

For more alumni testimonials, click here.