Vanessa Hintz PsyD

Assistant Clinical Professor of Behavioral Health Psychology Get Contact Info


Behavioral Health Psychology


Dr. Hintz is a licensed psychologist who received her doctorate in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  Her journey to the field was one wrought with multiple barriers—both individual and systemic. Dr. Hintz openly discusses the difficulties she experienced in forming a strong sense of racial identity as a biracial child of divorced parents.  In addition, she navigated spaces in higher education that were not always welcoming, subsequently experiencing further difficulties finding spaces to belong. Ultimately, Dr. Hintz credits a number of transformative experiences to her current success, including the decision to immerse herself in the study of existential psychology, as well as furthering her understandings of the dynamics of power and privilege.

Dr. Hintz has engaged with practitioners and scholars in the fields of academia, consultation, and training, utilizing expertise in psychology and human behavior to provide insights focused on principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Dr. Hintz advocates for environments and relational ways of being that promote inclusivity, foster engagement, and allow individuals to show up each day as their most authentic selves.

In her prior clinical practice, Dr. Hintz worked with children, adolescents, and adults with a wide array of presenting issues. She received extensive training in working with individuals who have been exposed to traumatic experiences, those with co-occurring substance use issues, as well as those struggling with emotional regulation. Dr. Hintz worked actively in her therapy practice to achieve understanding of each person's unique circumstances, all while ensuring one's individual values and beliefs were respected within the relationship. She believed the ultimate goal of therapy is to empower individuals to confront problematic circumstances in their lives, and to work collaboratively toward furthering health and wellness. 

Dr. Hintz is also a self-proclaimed "Psych Geek,” integrating elements of popular culture with psychological concepts in ways that promote the empowerment of those who have been historically marginalized. She has been a contributing author to three different books in the Popular Culture Psychology Series, to include, Black Panther Psychology: Hidden KingdomsThe Joker Psychology: Evil Clowns and the Women Who Love Them, and Stranger Things Psychology: Life Upside Down. She is also the host of the Umm…Abut That! Podcast, which takes a deep dive into the psyche of popular culture.


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • 2016 | Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
  • 2013 | Master of Arts, Clinical Psychology
 University of Louisville
  • 2010 | Bachelor of Science, Computer Engineering/Computer Science

Areas of Specialization

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Antiracism
  • Popular Culture

Scholarly and Professional Achievements


Hintz, V. (2023). An 80s daydream, or a comforting nightmare? An examination of Black racial representation in Hawkins. In T. Langley (Ed.), Stranger Things psychology: Life upside down. Turner Publishing.

Hicks, V. (2019). Existential-phenomenological therapy. In T. Langley (Ed.), The Joker psychology: Evil clowns and the women who love them. Sterling Publishing.

Wesselmann, E.D., Langley, T., & Hicks, V. (2019). Horror: A clown, at midnight. In T. Langley (Ed.), The Joker psychology: Evil clowns and the women who love them. Sterling Publishing.

Hicks, V. (2019). Stages of minority identity development: A Juxtaposition of T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. In T. Langley & A. Simmons (Eds.), Black Panther psychology: Hidden kingdoms. Sterling Publishing.


Dr. Hintz utilizes expertise in psychology and human behavior to develop learning materials focused on principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Some of the recent sessions facilitated by Dr. Hintz include:
  • Acknowledging and Transforming Power Dynamics
  • Contemporary Understandings of Equity and Inclusion
  • Cultural Awareness and Caregiver Capacity
  • Cultural Humility: Strategies for Equity
  • The Role of Empathy in Racial Justice and Healing
  • Strategies for Inclusive Leadership
 In addition, Dr. Hintz utilizes popular narratives to increase awareness of systemic inequities, as well as to empower members of historically excluded groups. Some recent presentations include:
  • Battling Bias and Discrimination: Comics Narratives as Tools for Healing
  • Illustrating Madness: Psychological Extremes as Narrative Devices in Graphic Novels and Comics
  • Horror in the Homeland: Supernatural, The Boys, and the Monsters Next Door!
  • Heroes in Living Color: Shades of Liberation
  • Black and Blue: Chromas of Racial Trauma
  • Elements of Surprise: Dissecting Existential Dynamics of Supernatural
  • Lessons from Horror Entertainment: The Value of Difference
  • The Proliferation of Racial Trauma in Popular Culture: A Narrative Analysis
  • Antiracist Pedagogy: Utilizing Popular Culture to Examine Issues of Inequity
  • Psych Geeks: The Utilization of Popular Culture in the Teaching and Practice of Psychology

Service to Carroll University and Profession

Dr. Hintz owns and operates Vivid Insights Consulting, where she is committed to working collaboratively with individuals to develop perspectives that challenge conventional thinking.  Dr. Hintz works to promote individual innovation through empowerment and transformation.

Dr. Hintz asserts that equity and justice are foundational—inclusivity should not only be valued, but it is essential.  Diverse and inclusive environments serve to encourage and inspire people, allowing individuals to build talent and skills, as well as to gain new perspectives.

Dr. Hintz has worked in collaboration with educators, social services staff, as well as mental health clinicians; and, she has presented her scholarly work concerning antiracism and understandings of the historical contexts of racial inequities and trauma at different professional conferences.

Dr. Hintz currently serves on the Wisconsin Psychological Association’s Board of Directors.

Honors and Awards

Promising Practices Award | May 2021
Awarded by Wisconsin Character Education Partnership
Summer Faculty Fellowship | April 2021
Awarded by Alverno College

What is your teaching style?

Students tend to participate in their best, most authentic ways of learning and engaging when operating from the "wise mind," or operating with both the emotional and logical portions of their minds. As a licensed practitioner with significant training and experience in clinical settings, my skills and methods for engaging allow me to cultivate spaces in which students feel safe navigating emotionally laden topics.
In addition, the Behavioral Health Psychology (BHP) Program emphasizes cultural compassion in every course in the program. In my experience, facilitating a rhetoric of ambiguity presents opportunities for mitigating power differentials. In essence, within our learning environment, no one has all the answers, and we are all here to learn from one another. Operating from a space of cultural humility and inviting students to participate in knowledge production can generate possibilities for authentic engagement in collaboration and learning.

Why do you do what you do?

Systems of knowledge do not exist in isolation. As such, my philosophy on teaching and learning is one that values both epistemic diversity, as well as an understanding of interconnected systems. I aim for students to not only be able to attain competency concerning psychological concepts and phenomena, but also to engage in critical analysis concerning the various intersections of their learning. For example, depression can be understood biologically, psychologically, and socially. In addition, I want to challenge students to consider larger cultural dynamics associated with this concept (e.g., stigma) and what these dynamics reflect concerning systems of power and value in society. Moreover, what alternative concepts of what we deem clinically as depression exist, and how do we allow for many different ways of knowing what depression is simultaneously? This type of knowing moves students beyond rote learning to deeper levels of understanding and applicability.

How do you make learning engaging?

I am committed to supplementing traditional "classroom learning" with additional interpersonal opportunities for growth and collaboration, including mentorship and inter-group contact between students from diverse backgrounds. These opportunities are especially important for students from historically marginalized groups, as well as those who experience barriers to successful engagement and completion of academic work.

What should students know about you?

Utilizing expertise in psychology and human behavior, I advocate for the advancement of principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in my work. I have devoted my professional life to increasing awareness of systems of inequity throughout different strata of society, to include focus on personal, organizational, and systemic factors. I strive to engage in holistic efforts focused on advancing principles of justice and inclusion. In addition, I integrate elements of popular culture with psychology in ways that promote the empowerment of those who have been historically marginalized.
My interest in this work began in graduate school, as my immersion in the study of racial identity development and corresponding dynamics of power and privilege helped me to navigate an environment in which I experienced feelings of impostorism. Growing to understand the complexities of social construction and internalized oppression helped me to manage some difficult feelings at a pivotal point in my life. Popular culture artifacts provide an abundance of resources that serve either to reinforce or to challenge the negative effects of systemic oppression. I aim to develop professional works that serve to empower individuals with marginalized identities to confront and externalize the cultural devaluing that results from ongoing bias and discrimination.
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