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John L. Barton, PhD


Office: Phoenix Childrens Medical Group - Psychology
Address: 1919 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016-7710
Phone: (602) 933-0414
Fax: (602) 933-4252
Professional Affiliations: American Psychological Association; Health Service Providers in Psychology; Society for Pediatric Psychology; Society for Clinical Child and Adolecent Psychology; Arizona Psychological Association
Academic Affiliations: Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ; Director of Clinical Psychology Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Degree/Certifications: PhD
Board Certifications: Psychology
Medical School/Education: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Internship: Rush-Presbyterian, St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL
What led you to your career as a psychologist?
In 6th grade, I ordered a book from the Weekly Reader entitled Brains, Beasts, and Behavior. That interest led to volunteering in high school to help a class of developmentally delayed children, staffing the Help Line at the University of Nebraska, and working as a Psych Tech on the children’s unit at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute. My path was set during graduate training at the fledgling Phoenix Children's Hospital when I was able to evaluate children with cognitive problems and conduct therapy with children with chronic illnesses.

What is the best thing about your job?
The moments of connection with patients, when they are taking a risk in self-disclosure, and together we find a way to meet the challenge they are facing. Seeing the smile from a child who confidently says, “I can do that!” Bringing understanding to parents confused about their child’s cognitive, behavioral, and/or emotional issues. Having the American Psychological Association re-accredit our doctoral internship for seven years (the maximum) and watching our interns go on to exciting careers.

Have you received a special gift of thanks or piece of artwork from a child?
From the soup can wrapped in yarn I received from the kids on my first clinical placement to the anime card from a recent patient, children and teens have been thoughtful enough to express their thanks in art.

What is your favorite children’s book?
The Wind in the Willows (and for my own children, the Harry Potter series)

How do you go about calming a child’s fears? Aside from the wonderful work of the Child Life team?
The first thing is to acknowledge the fear and its power. After getting a better understanding of those factors that trigger and maintain the situation, we formulate a plan using the child’s strengths and newly learned skills to confront the fear in small, “comfortably uncomfortable” steps by which the child gains new confidence. We find ways to “talk back” to scary thoughts and soothe anxious physical reactions.

How do you build trust with a parent?

I think trust is formed when it is clear that we both have the same goal: their child’s best interests. With that trust, we collaborate in forming a feasible and effective plan to answer the question that brought them for evaluation or to intervene in the problems that are troubling the family.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Being with my family, running, following the Huskers, Sun Devils, and Red Sox, listening to “dinosaur rock”, and reading classic British detective stories.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
House of Tricks

Can you tell us about your family?
My wonderful family includes my beautiful wife Vickie, an Occupational Therapist at the AZ State Hospital and volunteer extraordinaire, my son John Robert, our Renaissance man and senior religious studies major at Arizona State University, and daughter Jordan, a performance powerhouse and freshman dance major at ASU.

Where are you originally from, and how did you get here?

I am from Omaha, Nebraska and came to Arizona in a ’59 Buick to graduate school in clinical psychology at ASU. I wanted to be a pediatric psychologist “when I grew up” and was thrilled years later when my mentors from my training days at Phoenix Children's Hospital asked me to join the psychology department.