Department of Psychology

Brian Burke - Detailed Bio

Brian Burke is a clinical psychologist whose principal academic interests include motivational interviewing, college teaching, and terror management theory. Dr. Burke has published several meta-analyses of studies evaluating the efficacy of motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is an emerging treatment for substance abuse and other problem behaviors that combines the humanistic elements of client-centered therapy (Carl Rogers) with more active strategies (e.g., cognitive-behavior therapy) designed to facilitate human change. Dr. Burke has brought this exciting new treatment to FLC in his Counseling Skills class as well as in a Motivational Interviewing Practicum (Service Learning in Psychology) class and his work with the Wellness Peer Consultants (WellPAC). Further, Dr. Burke has a degree in college teaching and regularly attends teaching conferences, twice winning the Doug Bernstein Poster Award for innovative teaching ideas, and winning 3 FLC awards: the New Faculty Teaching Award in 2005, Featured Scholar in 2011, and the Achievement Award in 2013. Dr. Burke has published 3 meta-analyses of terror management theory (TMT), which hypothesizes that humans deal with death anxiety by defending or investing in our cultural worldviews. An example of TMT in action is the American reaction post 9/11 (a death prime), which included both worldview investment (e.g., an increase in charitable donations and peace corps applications) as well as worldview defense (e.g., attacking Afghanistan and later Iraq, more hate crimes toward Muslim-Americans). Dr. Burke most recently published an Abnormal Psychology textbook with Academic Media Solutions in Fall 2015. Dr. Burke originally hails from Montreal, Canada, and received his PhD from the University of Arizona in 2003. Dr. Burke originally hails from Montreal, Canada, and received his PhD from the University of Arizona in 2003. He has been a licensed psychologist in the State of Colorado since November 2004 and runs the clinical psychology summer field school program at FLC; he also loves travelling with students to more exotic places like Costa Rica, Chile, and India (with USAC).