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David C. Wang

Cliff and Joyce Penner Chair for the Formation of Emotionally Healthy Leaders, Associate Professor of Psychology

BA, University of California, Berkeley
ThM, Regent College
PhD, University of Houston

Courses Taught

PC819: Clinical Interventions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Areas of Expertise

Trauma, trauma-informed care, assessment of spiritual formation and human formation, trauma and spiritual formation, global theological education, mental health of global Christian leaders

“Bonhoeffer asserted that the church is only the church when it exists for others; similarly, Christian mental health is only Christian mental health when it exists for others, sharing in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but listening, helping, and serving.”


Dr. Wang, in his Journal of Psychology and Christianity article and plenary address at the Christian Association of Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual conference, titled, “A Call to the Christian Mental Health Community to Leverage the Resources of Science and Faith for Social Action and Community Renewal.”


As Cliff and Joyce Penner Chair for the Formation of Emotionally Healthy Leaders, David Wang’s academic and applied work focuses on the holistic formation of Christian leaders, inclusive of the formation of emotional health and resilience alongside the leader’s intellectual and spiritual formation. With this expertise, Dr. Wang helped draft the accreditation standards of the Association of Theological Schools pertaining to the spiritual formation of seminary students. He also serves on the advisory boards of the ATS Trauma and Spirituality Initiative and the Global Awareness and Engagement Initiative, where he is supporting efforts to bring together global theological educators to better understand and support the unique spiritual and mental health needs of diverse Christian leaders around the world.

Wang is a licensed psychologist, pastor, and editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, and serves on the editorial board for the APA journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice. He has procured over $5.7 million in funding as principal investigator of multiple research grants and $12 million in funding as co-investigator or advisor. He oversees the Seminary Formation Assessment Project, a program of research funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Religion Trust, conducting longitudinal empirical research on the human and spiritual formation of Christian leaders from the Orthodox, Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic traditions. He is also co-principal investigator for the Trauma-Resilient Church Collective Program, a 5-year project funded by the Lilly Endowment mobilizing diverse local congregations to address both individual and systemic factors as they meet the spiritual and mental health needs of trauma survivors. Wang’s research interests include trauma and traumatic stress, spiritual formation and spiritual theology (with special interest in the experience of the spiritual desert), and various topics related to multicultural psychology, peace, and justice. His research has been published in academic journals such as the Journal of Positive Psychology, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Mindfulness, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Disasters, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Traumatology, and the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.

Wang teaches and speaks internationally, maintains a small clinical practice in Fullerton, California, is pastor of spiritual formation at One Life City Church, and serves on the advisory board of the Caring for Clergy Field Guide, Joya Scholars, Speak Your Truth Today, and the Mosaic Center for Spiritual Formation. He has also consulted with the Global Aftercare Program of the International Justice Mission, an international nonprofit organization devoted to ending the global slave trade, and has co-authored their manual on Trauma Informed Care. He has also contributed to and/or appeared on several media platforms and podcasts, including Christianity Today, Psychology Today, Dawn and Steve in the Morning (Moody Radio), the Backstage Podcast of the Billy Graham Center (Wheaton College), and Faith & Leadership (Duke Divinity). Dave and his wife, Vivian, live with their two daughters in Fullerton.

View David Wang’s CV.