Meet Two New Professors: Victoria Jones and Hank Roubicek!

April 18, 2018

passion2The Women’s Institute of Houston is featuring two new professors who speak in very unique ways about important facets of human experience as it relates to art, relationships, and storytelling.


Victoria Jones, a counseling psychologist and co-founder of Psynergy Psychological Associates, explains the impetus behind her class “Illuminating the Psyche Through the Arts: Art As Lens To Relationships With Others” as follows, “Our individual journeys absolutely depend (even neurologically) on learning from each other. Thus, the class involves both supportive interaction and individual discovery.

Henry Roubicek, popular radio show host, award-winning educator, and instructor of the upcoming class “Storytelling is dedicated to helping students learn the art of storytelling in order to craft the story that they want to tell. Dr. Hank, as he is called, describes storytelling as follows, “Every story that people tell is a part of their life. The personal episodes that occur to you form a culmination of your life. Obviously, some are more meaningful than others. But, I really believe we’re born a blank book, and every episode that occurs in our life fills those blank pages.”

WIH Reporter: It’s wonderful to meet you both. Can you tell us what we should know right away about about your upcoming classes?

Jones: The most complex and illusive interdisciplinary subject of them all—the human experience—is not a required course from grade school to graduate school! A few of us may have included psychology as an elective or minor, but most of us know very little about a subject that dramatically influences daily happiness. My class is designed to help you discover catalyzing questions—and even answers—that move us closer to the place we are all heading in our individual ways.

Roubicek: In my class, “Storytelling,” we will see how storytelling is the best way to connect with others. When stories are told, listeners are invited into the windows of the teller’s soul. And, the single greatest denominator that binds people together is fully experienced – vulnerability.

WIH Reporter: What mistaken impressions do we have about your specific class topics?

Jones: My subjects—the human psyche and the creative arts—often feel subjective, vague, ephemeral, confusing—quite the opposite of what I am planning for our focused work together. Our focus will involve working with inevitable tensions, like profound truth and playful curiosity; intrinsic rights and the erosion of time and focus; the things we prioritize and those we avoid; fear of abandonment/engulfment and our capacity for intimacy; and, the need to protect and defend in the face of incessant projections to and from others.

Roubicek: Mick Jagger once sang, “It’s the singer, not the song.” That’s another way of saying that delivery counts when you tell a story. Even in a traditional setting, there must be a shared sense of discovery so there is a payoff. Good tellers know how to make good listeners.”

WIH Reporter: What will be the format of your class?

Jones: The format of my class will involve exploring fundamental psychological concepts or themes using the arts as window, lens, translator, mirror. This might involve hands-on activities; guided discussion; or writing inspired by a poem or painting. The process may also be reversed, in which we begin with a creative prompt which then leads to psychological exploration.

Roubicek: The format of my class will be interactive. “Even in a traditional setting, there must be a shared sense of discovery so there is a payoff. Good tellers know how to make good listeners.” “When you deliver a narrative, you have to come across as sharing information. People want to hear things when you share it with them. To me, a good storyteller makes sure there’s a payoff. You have to take something with you. When I had Holocaust survivors tell their stories on my radio show, the listeners didn’t take away the individual stories. They took away the bravery and gutsiness of the tellers.

WIH Reporter: Is there anything you would like to add about your classes?

Jones: The creative arts are central to psychological growth allowing us to imagine our way out of life’s double binds. Creative problem-solving unifies the brain, thereby inhibiting intrusive, inflexible, and habitual ways of thinking. With increased goal-directed behavior we can not only think outside the box when we are engaged in creative exploration, we are also more likely to take action. Creative thinking increases calm and focus, as well as access to excitement and pleasure.

Roubicek: A good storyteller offers complete thoughts, in a sequence. Our imagination puts thoughts and ideas together in symbols we call words. You must use words descriptively as a painter uses a paintbrush. Words are your color, texture and images, especially how the words are spoken. You add posture, gestures, voice, pitch, and other speech tools to create a message. In advertising and acting, you put these things together to create a message. But, the difference is storytelling creates a community. We remember people through the stories they tell.”

Discover one or both of these extraordinary professors in their upcoming classes at The Women’s Institute.

Click here to register for Victoria Jones’ 8-week class, “Illuminating the Psyche Through the Arts: Art As Lens To Relationships With Others” class which begins Wednesday, May 2 at 10:00 a.m.

Click here to register for Hank Roubicek’s 2-day class, “Storytelling” which takes place on on May 1 and May 2 at 1:00 p.m.