PSU Vanguard Shield Icon

Power of the mind is key to happiness

Dr. Roger Mills, co-author of “The Wisdom Within,” will be on campus this weekend teaching people how to think good thoughts.

He focuses on helping people learn how to put bad experiences back in the past. The analogy Mills’ uses is that of a defected disc on your computer – you would not access it. He said bad experiences could be viewed in the same way.

Mills asserts people have the power to choose how they are going to react to their experiences.

“It gives power for people to move on from their past,” Mills said.

Mills is the president and the co-founder of the Health Realization Institute, Inc., an educational institute that provides a myriad of services from training to consulting and workshops to individual counseling.

According to the institutes Web site,, “the HRI is dedicated to a global sharing of a principle-based approach to awakening the psychological and spiritual capacities all human beings share for serenity, happiness, productivity, and wisdom.”

Mills contends people naturally have unconditional self-esteem. Mills said the problem is people hear they are good or bad and they accept those thoughts as reality.

“If we can see them as just thoughts, I think this will change how we deal with psychology,” Mills said.

He started his work in mental health in Lane County Oregon. He said that the patients were seeing themselves as “damaged goods” and they kept cycling through the system.

Mills found the patients had a high relapse rate of 80-85 percent. This rate appalled Mills.

Mills received a grant and started researching how people have a core of mental health.

“This got me really excited; no one told me about mental health,” Mills said.

He’s had lot of success with this approach in inner cities as well as in the corporate world.

Some projects are funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Drug Abuse, the California Wellness Foundation and major private foundations.

When Mills teaches his Grief and Loss Seminar at Portland State University he will not only be teaching people how to help others change their way of thinking but also teaching the people in attendance to change their thought process. Mills calls this process “the health of the helper.”

“I love to train teachers and trainers. That is where you get the most bang for the buck, because they have the opportunity to share with others,” Mills said.

Mills said that there has been talk with PSU to bring this new pedagogy into the curriculum.

Recently San Francisco State just adopted a certification program for mental health. Mills said the program is also implemented in many other universities around the country.

“It takes a university that has forward thinking to bring this program to its curriculum,” Mills said.

He’s taught at the University of Michigan, U.C. Berkeley, the University of Oregon, San Jose State, Florida International University, the California School of Professional Psychology and the University of Miami.

He received his undergraduate degree in Aerospace engineering and Physics from Princeton University. Mills completed a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. at the University of Michigan integrating clinical, organizational, social and community psychology, public health and planning.

In addition to being a teacher, trainer and president of his organization, Mills is also an author. He is the author of “Realizing Mental Health” (1995), “The Health Realization Primer” (with Elsie Spittle, 2000) and “The Wisdom Within” (with Spittle, 2001). He has also published numerous professional journal articles.

To find out more about the Grief and Loss Seminar, July 26 and 27, please contact the Department of Continuing Education at 503-725-4876.