Dr. Brian Burke

Dr. Brian Burke
Professor of Psychology


  • Scholarship of teaching
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Terror management theory


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Arizona, 2003
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Arizona, 1999
  • B.S., Psychology, McGill University, 1997


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About Dr. Brian Burke

Brian Burke is a professor of psychology at Fort Lewis College. He joined the college in 2003. Dr. Burke is a clinical psychologist whose research interests include motivational interviewing and terror management theory. He has published several meta-analyses of studies evaluating the efficacy of motivational interviewing, an emerging treatment for substance use and other problem behaviors that combines the humanistic elements of client-centered therapy with more active strategies designed to facilitate human change. He has also published several meta-analyses of terror management theory, which state that much of what humans do may be a defense against their inevitable mortality. Dr. Burke has served as assistant training director and psychologist for the Student Counseling Center at Fort Lewis. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, and is the coauthor of Abnormal Psychology, an undergraduate textbook now in its second edition. Dr. Burke also presents at professional research conferences and symposiums around the country and has served as conference chair for annual meetings of the Mountain States Conference on the Teaching of Psychology. He teaches a program on the psychology of happiness in countries such as Costa Rica, Chile and India, and teaches a five-week Field Course in Clinical Psychology, in which students work at the Colorado Mental Health Institute or other direct patient-care facilities.

Dr. Burke is the recipient of the Achievement Award (2013) and the New Faculty Teaching Award (2005) at Fort Lewis, and he was the college’s 2010-2011 Featured Scholar. He is the chair of the FLC selection committee for Metamorphosis, the undergraduate research journal of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Dr. Burke is active in the community and served on the board of the Powerhouse Science Center. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, and is licensed as a psychologist in the state of Colorado.

In the News

"At Fort Lewis College, mock trials and studies of sedimentary rock seem to translate online," The Durango Herald, April 20, 2020

"With toilet paper in short supply, people are flushing other products, clogging sewer lines," The Durango Herald, April 17, 2020

"Fort Lewis College students explore gun laws; Psychology students talked with expert about the issue’s complexity," Durango Herald, February 5, 2016.

Brian Burke and colleagues from Cardinal Stritch University, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the University of South Florida recently published the second edition of their book "Abnormal Psychology," 2015

Dr. Brian Burke Named Winner of 2013 Fort Lewis College Achievement Award,” Fort Lewis College, 2013

When the dopamine kicks in, can you handle it?The Durango Herald, 2013

Young, educated, and unemployed,” The Durango Herald, 2012

“Terror Management Theory,” The Academic Minute NPR radio show, 2011

Selected Publications and Presentations

“Motivated by Numbers: A Review of Motivational Interviewing in Groups,” PsycCRITIQUES, 2013

“Death Goes to the Polls: A Meta-Analysis of Mortality Salience Effects on Political Attitudes,” Political Psychology, 2013

“Critical Analysis: A Comparison of Critical Thinking Changes in Psychology and Philosophy Classes,” Teaching of Psychology, 2014

Abnormal Psychology, 2nd edition. Solon, OH: Academic Media Solutions, 2016

“Ideas in Practice: Collaborative Problem-based Learning in Intermediate Algebra,” Journal of Developmental Education, 2011

“Training to Use Motivational Interviewing Techniques for Depression: A Cluster Randomized Trial,” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2014

“Death and Soccer: How terror management affects player perceptions of aggression,” oral presentation given at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah *

“Memetics, Terror Management Theory, &Female Mate Selection,” poster presentation given at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Convention. Denver, Colorado, 2010

“Motivational Interviewing for Tobacco Prevention Specialists,” professional training given to staff at the San Juan Basin Health Department’s Lasso Tobacco Coalition. Durango, Colorado, 2014

Why CBT is the Heart of Effective Counseling,” professional training given to staff at the Fort Lewis College Counseling Center & Psychology Department. Durango, Colorado, 2013

“Landing Your First Job: Finding Your Ideal Fit,” in Preparing the new psychology professoriate: Helping graduate students become competent teachers, 2nd edition, Society for the Teaching of Psychology, 2014