- What influenced you to become a counselor?
- My middle school and high school days were a bit rough for me. Though I wasn’t bullied or perpetually harassed, I constantly felt that I didn’t fit in. Perhaps a better way to put it is that I didn’t know who I was as an individual. This struggle for identity lasted well into college where I eventually settled into the idea that perhaps it was okay to wrestle with identity. As this notion became more of who I was rather than just a mere idea, I became more confident and sure of myself. In many ways this process of becoming has greatly influenced my decision to join this field. It’s my hope that I can aid in or foster a space that promotes personal growth for others as they search for identity and purpose.
- What do you think is the most important characteristic of a counselor?
- Wow, what a question! If I had to pick just one characteristic that a counselor must have (and he should certainly have several!) I would say the ability to empathically listen nonjudgmentally to the client is absolutely essential to the therapeutic process.
- What is rewarding to you about being a counselor?
- There is something invaluably rewarding in being witness to the growth of another individual. For some, growth takes the form of standing up themselves. For others, growth may be mourning the death of a loved one or a futile fight against cancer. I guess what I mean to say is that growth doesn’t always look “nice and pretty”. Sometimes it’s downright ugly and terrifying. It’s rewarding, to me, to accompany those who seek growth in their lives—no matter what form it takes.
- What type of people do you like to work with?
- Though I would love the opportunity to work with adults eventually, right now I absolutely love working with teenagers and children of all ages. This certainly springs from my struggles as a child/adolescent as I want to be a positive force and influence in the youngsters I work with—perhaps a person that most kids don’t have in their lives as they begin the scary journey of shaping themselves.
- How do you infuse creative elements into your counseling sessions?
- I like to facilitate dance, song, and movement into my therapy session as a creative touch that helps build rapport and allows the client to express things in a new and different way.
- Why is using creative approaches to mental health important to you?
- Creativity is a something that lives within all of us. It’s certainly nuanced and looks different for each person; but it’s there. Thus, I believe it’s important to be creative when approaching therapy because it allows the therapeutic relationship to be even more inherently different than other relations. A creative therapeutic relationship is exceptional in the sense that this relationship is an exception to every other relation the client has with others. In that sense, I want to be an exceptional therapist.
- What is your educational and work background?
- I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology from the University of West Georgia. Subsequently I also received my Masters of the Arts in Psychology degree from UWG. During graduate school I worked at Willowbrooke’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Program as a clinical intern. During my tenure he I facilitated both individual and group therapy sessions.
- What is the counseling theory or approach that you most closely follow?
- I approach therapy from a humanistic and existential perspective and believe people inherently dwell within a continuum of growth and that one of the major conflicts and anxiety provoking issues in life is the search for meaning and purpose.
- What do you enjoy doing when you are not counseling?
- I love spending time with my soon to be wife. She is the most important person on this earth to me and sometimes I like to think she was an angel sent directly down from heaven just for me. We often spend our time rock climbing and exploring the beauty of the southern mountains.