Peter Barnes, Ph.D., HSPP

Staff Psychologist

Staff Psychologist

Indiana License #: 20042203A

I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, a city that will forever be in my soul. My journey to becoming a psychologist and coming to Notre Dame in 2007 includes working at six different university counseling centers. I earned a B.A. in Psychology at LSU (Geaux Tigers!) in 1994, an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Memphis in 2003. I completed my doctoral internship at Texas A&M University and a postdoctoral residency at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This varied journey has brought numerous valuable connections along the way, including a wife, two kids, and a fluffy dog named Mando. One of the most enriching things about working at Notre Dame is the privilege of working with students from so many different backgrounds and being invited into their worlds. Each of us has an important story and we are better when we take time to compassionately listen, find our common humanity, invest in each other, and help each other through adversity.

I strive to be genuine and transparent, and to create an affirming, non-judgmental, collaborative space where students can feel safe and cared-about for all of their differences, complexities, and challenges. My therapeutic approach is primarily based in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), but also informed by a variety of other approaches including multicultural, humanistic, systemic, feminist, existential, and cognitive-behavioral. In general, my approach involves helping students gain a more workable and compassionate perspective on their experiences that honors their unique contextual histories and circumstances. This often includes learning mindfulness and acceptance-based skills, which involves accepting and relating more flexibly to what is not within your control, focusing more on the present moment and what is within your control, and helping to move your life in a direction based on what really matters to you.

I am primarily a generalist practitioner but also have special interest in social anxiety. I am especially interested in partnering with students, staff, and faculty in developing creative strategies toward building a campus culture that is more caring, compassionate, equitable, inclusive, and resilient, thereby reducing the ever-increasing need for mental health treatment. There are many toxic norms, harmful myths, and structural inequities in modern American culture that perpetuate growing mental health problems. I am involved in varous initiatives including suicide prevention, resiliency training, and using various forms of media to teach useful skills, and to influence healthier attitudes, beliefs, and habits. Other roles at the UCC include clinical supervision of doctoral interns and facilitating the social anxiety group.

Saints and LSU football, genealogical rabbit holes, good movies, and traveling. I also play bass guitar in a local rock band, Phineas Gage.

Supervision Style 

My approach to supervision is tailored to the needs of the supervisee and emphasizes creating an environment of safety, support, and trust. I strive to be transparent, authentic, multiculturally-sensitive, and humble about my differences and imperfections. I seek to create an environment of safety, support, and trust that encourages supervisees’ openness about their challenges, growth edges, diverse identities, and the intersection of their personal and professional lives. I tend to work best with supervisees who are at least somewhat theoretically aligned with me or wish to learn from me. I tend to utilize more coaching, modeling, and suggestions as they are developing skills, then gradually transition to a more Socratic or collegial approach as supervisees grow in self-efficacy and competence.