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Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profile Variant

Vitaliy Voytenko, Psy.D.

Director of Clinical Training, Assistant Professor of Psychology

On Faculty since 2016
630.752.5921
BGC M246


Dr. Voytenko’s areas of research interest and clinical expertise are treatment-resistant depression and religion/spirituality in mental health. Prior to joining the Psy.D. Program as Director of Clinical Training and core faculty, he led the Depression Center Project and Treatment-Resistant Depression Consultation Program at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids, MI. While at Pine Rest, he also worked with adult patients in relational psychoanalytic psychotherapy and served as a teaching and supervising faculty in the ACGME- and AOA-accredited Psychiatry Residency Program and APA-accredited Pre-doctoral Psychology Internship.

After returning “home” to Wheaton, he has maintained his ties to Pine Rest and his adjunct academic appointment in the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. In his current part-time clinical practice at Alliance Clinical Associates in Wheaton, he provides depth-oriented psychotherapy to patients with difficult-to-treat depression. A native of Ukraine, Dr. Voytenko has a passion for psychology serving the Church in Eastern Europe and around the word. He and his wife Marissa served as missionaries to Ukraine with Mission to the World (Presbyterian Church in America) in 2009-2012. He is excited about helping to nurture Wheaton’s international church-psychology connections.

Wheaton College
M.A., General Theology, 2009

Boston College
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Psychology, 2006

Wheaton College
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, 2005

Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Mental Health Center
Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology, 2005

Wheaton College
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 2002

East Ukrainian State University, Luhansk, Ukraine
B.S., Computer Information Systems, 1999

  • Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry
  • Depression
  • Treatment-Resistant Depression

* = student co-author

Barnhart, D.*, Voytenko, V. L., Tobey, D.*, Biondodillo, K.*, Risetter, A.*; Psychosocial Factors in Treatment-Resistant Depression: An Umbrella Review.
Poster accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2018

Chung, D., Barnhart, D.*, Risetter, A.*, Biondolillo, K.*, Tobey, D.*, Vander Wal, L.*, Onyambu, F.*, Jin, A.*, Voytenko, V. L.; Negative Religious Coping & Depression: Comprehensive Literature Review
Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Christian Associations for Psychological Studies, Norfolk, VA, April 2018

Favaro, B.*, Lee, T.*, Biondolillo, K.*, Voytenko, V. L.; Religion and Spirituality in Children: God Concepts and Coping with Adversity.
Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Christian Associations for Psychological Studies, Norfolk, VA, April 2018

Chung, D., Barnhart, D.*, Risetter, A.*, Biondolillo, K.*, Tobey, D.*, Vander Wal, L.*, Voytenko, V. L.; Religious and Spiritual Struggles and Depression: a 10-Year Scoping Review.
Poster presented at the annual Wheaton College Graduate School Interdisciplinary Poster Session, Wheaton, IL, April 2018

VanOrman, B., Voytenko, V. L., Edwards, E., Morgan, J.*, Yskes, R.*, Sanders, W.; Religion/Spirituality and the Psychiatry Milestone Project: A Competency-Based Curriculum for Residency Training.
Paper presented at the 7th Annual Conference on Medicine & Religion, St. Louis, MO, April 2018

Voytenko, V. L., Religion and Spirituality in Clinical Practice and Supervision.
Presentation at the Psychology Grand Rounds at Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital, Chicago, IL, February 2018

Voytenko, V. L., Sanders, W. Spirituality in Psychiatry Residency Training at a Religiously-Affiliated Hospital: Unique Opportunities and Challenges
Paper presented at the annual Conference on Medicine & Religion, Houston, TX, March, 2017

Psychotherapy Training and Licensing in the USA. Presentation (via Skype)
International Conference “Personality, Relationships and Human Development: An Interdisciplinary Approach”, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine, June, 2016

Karpenko V., Voytenko, V. L., Mykolaychuk, M., Ukrainian Students: Psychological Distress, Intentions to Seek Psychological Help and Barriers
Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., August, 2014

Voytenko, V. L., Karpenko, V., Gingrich, F., Crawford, N., Beyond the Two-Week Stint: Intentional Strategies for Longer-Term International Service in Mental Health.
Annual Meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Portland, OR, April, 2013

Voytenko, V. L., Coffield, J., Tardonia, J., From Local to Global: A Distributed Model of Church-Psychology Collaboration.
Annual Meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Phoenix, AZ, April, 2008

Voytenko, V. L., & McMinn, M. R., Community-Based Care in Ukraine: A Pastoral Training Program
Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, HI, July, 2004

Watson, R., Watson, T., Voytenko, V. L., Marriage and Family Problems: How a Minister Can Help
Thee-day workshop, Kyiv, Ukraine, July, 2004

Depression and Anxiety: How a Minister Can Help
Two-day workshop, Israel College of the Bible, Jerusalem, Israel, May, 2004

Voytenko, V. L., & McMinn, M. R., A model for international training
Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Anaheim, CA, June, 2003

Meek, K. R., McMinn, M. R., Burnett, T., Mazzarella, C., & Voytenko, V. L., Sexual ethics training in seminary: Preparing students to manage feelings of sexual attraction
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Anaheim, CA, June, 2003

McMinn, M. R., Voytenko, V. L., Depression: How a Minister Can Help
Three-day workshop, Kyiv, Ukraine, August, 2002

McMinn, M. R., Ellens, B. M., Voytenko, V. L., & Ho, D., Technology as a tool for international consultation
Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Richmond, VA, April, 2001

  • PSYC 761-764 Research Lab I-IV
  • PSYC 894 Clerkship Seminar

Depression is by far the most common, costly, and life-threatening mental illness, affecting approximately 17% of the population in the United States. Worldwide, over 300 million people suffer from clinical depressions; fewer than 50% of those who suffer receive diagnosis or care and only 10-25% receive evidence-based care. One third of those who receive evidence-based care do not respond sufficiently even after multiple treatment trials. There are many possible causes for treatment resistance, including co-morbid physical illness and psychiatric disorders, untreated co-morbid substance use problems, misdiagnosis, inadequate dose or duration of treatment, and other biological and psycho-socio-spiritual factors. Religion/spirituality (R/S) has been largely associated with salutary effects on mental health through its plausible enhancement of self-regulation, attachment and connectedness, compassion for oneself and others and provision of emotional comfort and sense of meaning in the midst of suffering. At the same time, R/S can sometimes contribute to mental illness or otherwise interfere with treatment by fostering anxiety, rigid thinking, excessive guilt, and compulsive practices, producing familial strains, and delaying diagnosis and effective mental health care. My research program focuses on studying R/S as both a perpetuating factor contributing to treatment resistance and a protective factor enhancing treatment effectiveness in depression treatment.

Evidence-based practice guideline for the treatment of adult patients with depressive disorders Part I: Psychiatric management., Psychiatria i Psychologia Kliniczna. [Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology].
Voytenko, V. L., Nykamp, L., Achtyes, E., Stoyanov, R., Anderson, K., Thomas, S., Hill Lee, S., Edwards, E., Post, D., & Wyngarden, N., (in press)

Evidence-based practice guideline for the treatment of adult patients with depressive disorders Part II: Psychotherapy., Psychiatria i Psychologia Kliniczna. [Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology].
Voytenko, V. L., Anderson, K., Wyngarden, N., Post, D., Achtyes, E., Thomas, S., Edwards, E., Stoyanov, R., Nykamp, L., & Hill Lee, S., (in press)

Практичні доказові рекомендації щодо лікування дорослих з депресивними розладами. Частина І: Психіатричний супровід, Вісник Асоціації Психіатрів України. [The Bulletin of the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association].
Voytenko, V. L., Nykamp, L., Achtyes, E., Stoyanov, R., Anderson, K., Thomas, S., Edwards, E., Hill Lee, S., Post, D., Wyngarden, N., Babych, V., Khalanskyy, V., & Kravchuk, S.
[Evidence-based practice guideline for the treatment of adult patients with depressive disorders. Part I: Psychiatric management] (in press)

Практичні доказові рекомендації щодо лікування дорослих з депресивними розладами. Частина ІІ: Психотерапія, Вісник Асоціації Психіатрів України. [The Bulletin of the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association].
Voytenko, V. L., Anderson, K., Wyngarden, N., Post, D., Achtyes, E., Thomas, S., Edwards, E., Stoyanov, R., Nykamp, L., Hill Lee, S., Babych, V., Kravchuk, S., & Khalanskyy, V.
[Evidence-based practice guideline for the treatment of adult patients with depressive disorders. Part II: Psychotherapy] (in press)

Training Community Clergy in Serious Illness: Balancing Faith and Medicine, Journal of Religion and Health, 57(4).
Koss, S., Weissman, R., Chow, V., Smith, P.T., Slack, B., Voytenko, V. L., Balboni, T. A., Balboni, M., 2018

Foreword, Депресія: Хвороба сучасності [Depression: Disease of Modernity]
Pfeifer, S., 2017

Mental Health Needs of University Students: The Emotional, Interpersonal and Academic Domains, Applied Psychology and Social Work
Karpenko, V., Mykolaychuk, M., Voytenko, V. L., Medyns'ka, Y., 2012

Investing the Wealth: Intentional Strategies for Psychology Training in Developing Countries, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice
McMinn, M. R., & Voytenko, V. L., 2004

Sexual Ethics Training in Seminary: Preparing Students to Manage Feelings of Sexual Attraction, Pastoral Psychology
Meek, K. R., McMinn, M. R., Burnett, T., Mazzarella, C., & Voytenko, V. L., 2004

Dr. Voytenko leads the Religion and Health Research Lab.  The lab’s general focus is on the role of religion/spirituality as a protective factor enhancing treatment effectiveness and a perpetuating factor contributing to treatment resistance. Given Dr. Voytenko’s clinical expertise in depressive disorders, the lab’s current major longitudinal project investigates the role of religious and spiritual struggles in treatment-resistant depression. Participation in the lab provides students with exposure to the growing field of spirituality and heath and offers an opportunity to contribute to ongoing projects and to disseminate findings through presentations at national conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals.