School of Education News

Estate gift to Dept. of Counseling Psychology promotes legacy of John R. Martins

April 09, 2015

From a fairly young age, John R. Martins started taking a holistic view of the world he lived in.

His sister, Janet Martins, remembers this being evident when the two were growing up on a family farm in southern Illinois in the early 1950s.

“John was always around the animals and plants on the farm, and then he went on to eventually study botany and zoology in college,” says Janet. “He was really interested in finding out how different realms came together, how different energies worked together, and that influenced his work as a psychologist.”

John R. Martins
John R. Martins earned his Ph.D. in guidance and counseling from
UW-Madison in 1974 and would go on to make a significant
difference in the lives of numerous students and patients.
John Martins, who earned his Ph.D. in guidance and counseling from UW-Madison in 1974, would go on to make a significant difference in the lives of numerous students and patients. He was both a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Chicago, and served as a faculty member at Roosevelt University for nearly three decades, earning Professor Emeritus status in 2006 with the Departments of Counseling and Human Services in the university’s College of Education.

Although Martins passed away in December 2013, he’s continuing to impact the lives of others through the many students he helped train over the years that are carrying on his legacy through their work. In addition, he made a generous and impactful estate gift to UW-Madison’s Department of Counseling Psychology.

“It is with great honor and pride that we publicly acknowledge the commitment and generosity of Dr. John R. Martins to the profession of counseling psychology as well as to the ongoing activities of social justice through the John R. Martins Counseling Psychology Fund,” says Alberta Gloria, a professor with UW-Madison’s Department of Counseling Psychology who was department chair at the time of Martins’ passing. “We have greatly appreciated his support of the department over the years. Likewise, our department is greatly honored by his generous estate gift. As a department that emphasizes social justice and cultural competence, the John R. Martins gift will be used with preference to support those activities that address holistic activities that emphasize cultural values and approaches, and promote social justice. We are proud to have shared these values with Dr. Martins.”

Martins was born in March 1940, with the family moving off the farm and to the small, southern Illinois town of Effingham in the mid-1950s.  He would serve in the Army Reserves from 1958 to 1966, and during this period also earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Southern Illinois-Carbondale in 1962 and a master’s in counseling from Illinois State University in 1968.

John R. Martins
John R. Martins, shown here
delivering a presentation at
UW-Madison in 2011, made a
generous estate gift to the
Department of Counseling
Psychology.
After earning his Ph.D. from UW-Madison in 1974, he taught at Indiana University Southeast for four years before moving to Chicago, where he established his private practice and began his career at Roosevelt University. Among his many commitments over the years, Martins was appointed to the Illinois Board of the Department of Education and Registration, where he served both as a member and as the President.

Janet Martins explains how her brother wasn’t afraid to step outside the more traditional boundaries of psychology, noting how he was certified in Luminous Healing and Energy Medicine from the Four Winds Society. John Martins, who was a member of the Equilibrium Energy and Education Center, and the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology, integrated his energy and luminous healing practice with his clinical practice.

“John took a very holistic view of treating people -- so he’d utilize some traditional, as well as different energy modalities to treat the entire person,” Janet says of her brother, who studied in Peru and trained as a shaman. “He was very knowledgeable and grounded in the traditional field of psychology, but he was also very interested in exploring new techniques.”

One of the many highlights of Martins’ career, says Janet, came in April 2011 when John was invited to UW-Madison to deliver a keynote talk during the Department of Counseling Psychology’s annual awards and recognition ceremony.  His presentation was titled, “Levels of Mental Health Treatment: An Integrated Model.”

“Faculty and students were appreciative of Dr. Martins' encouragement to take a holistic approach to understanding psychological problems and fostering well-being," says William Hoyt, current chair of the department.  “We are committed to using the proceeds from this generous bequest to create training opportunities for students that honor Dr. Martins' expansive view of human nature, including his respect for individual uniqueness as well as shared cultural dimensions of the human experience.”

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