Faculty Spotlight: Johanna Buzolits, PhD

The Michigan School of Psychology is pleased to welcome Dr. Johanna Buzolits as a Core Faculty member this fall.  Dr. Buzolits is the co-owner and operator of Arbor Wellness Center in Ann Arbor where she works with adolescents and adults on a broad range of mental health concerns.  She is also a registered yoga teacher and combines body-based work with traditional psychotherapy.  Dr. Buzolits was kind enough to answer a few questions below.

Johanna Buzolits, PhD
Dr. Johanna Buzolits

Where did you grow up?

Grand Rapids, Michigan

What or who influenced you to study psychology?

I remember when I was 11 years old telling my best friend that I wanted to be a psychologist. At that time we were very interested in dream interpretation and I was always interested in people’s emotional experience. 

When I got to my undergraduate school I was afraid of taking a statistic course, having been convinced by my high school teachers I was no good in math, and so I eschewed the psychology degree for political science.  Later in my health education master’s program I faced my fear and discovered I loved statistics!  And so my barrier was removed and I began to turn towards the study of human behavior.  I continue to love learning about the human psyche.

What appealed to you most about teaching at The Michigan School?

I have taught in many different academic environments and have always enjoyed it.  Last year when I was asked to provide supervision for masters students at (then) MSP, I jumped at the chance to get involved in training again.  I love facilitating growth in new professionals and seeing them become confident in their abilities and skills.  I enjoy sharing my passion for the field and for helping people heal and grow.

Please share a moment when you felt proud to be a teacher.

It is always gratifying when someone shares how something you have taught them has some how impacted their life in a positive way.  Whether it changed their perspective, opened them to new possibilities, or helped them heal their own wounds, it is the best part of teaching.

What are you most passionate about in your professional life?

I have worked with trauma for most of my professional life.  I am passionate about helping people understand the impact of trauma (with a capital T and small t) and how best to help people heal.  A few years ago I completed my yoga teacher training in an effort to become more skilled at combining traditional psychotherapy with body based healing practices.

What is your favorite non-academic book and why?

Growing up my favorite books were the ones in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series. It sparked my imagination, supported my growing feminism, and instilled a life-long interest in that time period and experiences of both European and Native Peoples in North America.   In adulthood I have read biographies about the author and critical analyses of the series.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I have 5 children ranging in age from 23 years old to 14 years old, as well as 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 5 fish.  I’d really like to have a pig for a pet.

What advice would you like to share with incoming or current students?

Enjoy the process! Don’t get so focused on grades or outcomes that you lose sight of the wonderful process of discovery and learning.  Use this time to get to know yourself and become the person you want to be.