John Shustitzky

John Shustitzky

Director of Applied Professional Practice
  • Professor
    Clinical Psy.D. Department
  • The Chicago School Chicago
Clinical Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Office Location
Office Phone
On-campus Ext.
Dr. Shustitzky is a licensed psychologist with over thirty years experience providing psychological services, executive leadership and graduate student training and supervision in a variety of behavioral health and social service organizations and institutions of higher education. He has been affiliated with the Chicago School in a variety of roles since 1989. In addition to his commitment to graduate teaching, he has substantial experience in administration, program development, budgeting, fiscal management, grant writing, fundraising, government relations and advocacy at the local, state and federal level, program evaluation, public relations, personnel management and clinical treatment. He is committed to developing and supporting collaborative efforts to improve communities and the organizations that serve them and to advancing social justice.
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.S. Counseling Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Illinois
Areas Of Expertise
  • Illinois Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council
    • Co-Chair, 2009 - present 
    • Secretary, 2006 – 2009 
    • Chair, Development Committee, 2006 – 2009 
    • This statewide Council of sixty-five (65) mental health consumers, family members, providers, state and local officials, advocates and others provides direct input to the Director of the Illinois Department of Mental Health and SAMSHA regarding the mental health needs of the people of the State, as well as the State’s use of federal Block Grant funds. 
  • Governor’s Rebalancing Advisory Workgroup, Division of Mental Health, Department of Social Services 
    • Community Education and Support Committee – Co-Chair 2012 – present 
    • This workgroup advises and oversees the community education and training activities that inform the public and providers regarding the changes in treatment systems that will result from the closing of Tinley Park and Singer Mental Health Centers. 
  • Illinois Department of Human Services Social Services Advisory Council 
    • Member, 2011 – present
    • The thirty (30) members of this Council have been appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Human Services to advise her and assist in the development of policy regarding the DHS programs. 
  • ACT Against Violence Program 
    • American Psychological Association 2002 – present 
    • This is a national prevention effort for the parents of young children that promotes effective parenting and non-violent discipline skills.

Professional Memberships

  • American Psychological Association, Member 
  • Society for Community Research and Action, APA Division 27, Member 
  • Society of Psychologists in Management (SPIM), Member 
  • Illinois Psychological Association, Member


Q:Please describe your philosophy of teaching.

A: From my earliest days in public school, I had the privilege of learning from some remarkable teachers. My early role models were women and men (mostly women) who took their profession seriously, who had high expectations for themselves and for their students, who knew that they were called to be teachers. During elementary and high school, these teachers knew that they were responsible for conveying content, but more importantly, they were responsible for teaching us to be learners, to love learning and to commit to being lifelong learners. In many ways, I have incorporated their examples into my approaches to teaching doctoral students in psychology. I believe that we have a special responsibility when we agree to teach graduate students who are on the path to becoming licensed clinical psychologists. While it is important that our students learn the content that is part of each course, it is crucially important that our students develop the skills, judgment and personal qualities that will allow them to succeed and enable them to be of help to their clients. As faculty, we have the responsibility to be effective teachers, but also mentors, coaches, role models as effective, ethical practitioners and, frankly, gate keepers. In addition to mastering the content of each course in our curriculum, we must create an environment in which each student can: 

  • Think critically
  • Demonstrate good judgment 
  • Show that they can apply their learning in new situations – The ability to generalize
  • Communicate effectively 
  • Listen attentively and understand what they have heard 
  • Discern paths of ethical behavior 
  • Understand themselves in context 
  • Recognize and appreciate individual differences 
  • Practice in a culturally competent fashion

Q: Please describe your approaches in the classroom.

A: Early in each new class, I try to communicate that the students and I have some mutual responsibilities. I expect them to be there, both physically and mentally, to come prepared, to complete assignments on time and to be willing to share their own ideas and viewpoints, holding them out for the review and dialog with me and the others in the class. Likewise, they should expect me to be there, come well prepared, provide them with opportunities to learn and to stretch themselves, and to provide them with timely feedback about their performance. I generally keep my classes rather informal, providing for an interactive lecture-discussion that involves everyone each session. Because I believe that psychologists must be prepared to assimilate a lot of information, draw conclusions about the data and communicate their ideas and opinions effectively, I almost always assign a brief class presentation as part of the expectations for each course. I believe that students genuinely benefit from presenting to their peers, defending their ideas and holding them out for others to review and critique. It is my responsibility to make sure that this happens in a safe and respectful environment. Written assignments are designed to press each student to integrate material from multiple sources, including readings, classroom activities and discussions and their own perspectives. It is important for each student to be able to demonstrate master of the content, but even more important for him or her to be able to apply and integrate the course material. When I express my own opinions, I note them as such and invite differences of opinion from my own. Some students seem a little uncomfortable with this, but are willing to engage in dialog if a safe and respectful climate has been established in the classroom. I try to put each course and each activity into the context of the overall Clinical Psy.D. program curriculum, demonstrating the interconnections between and among the expectations we have for them as they prepare for internship.

Q: Please describe how you approach dissertations.

A: I particularly enjoy working with students as they accomplish their dissertations. In the opening meeting of each cohort, I invite each of them to picture walking across the stage at commencement, dissertation finished, internship over…that successful completion of the dissertation is not only expected, but possible and within their ability. In that first session, I also tell them that I hope that they will each present their dissertation results at a national or regional conference. Several of my students have done so in the past few years. Regarding dissertation topic, I rigidly expect that the research question each student pursues is grounded in and flows naturally from their literature review. I also sincerely believe that each dissertation will contribute, in at least a small way, to the body of literature that informs excellent clinical practice.

Q: Any concluding comments?

A. My approach to teaching was shaped by my early teachers, my mentors in graduate school and my colleagues in the profession. I believe that we have some special responsibilities when we agree to teach future psychologists that mandate us to attend not only to content, but ability and style and character. I also find that my approach to my teaching continues to evolve and grow. And like my earliest role models, I believe that it is important for me to do my best to teach my students to love learning and to commit to being lifelong learners. I am certain that we cannot fully predict today the challenges our graduates will face before they retire. If they are lifelong learners and can generalize from their earlier experiences, I am confident they will be successful.