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It is a pleasure to be a part of the mission of Seattle University (SU) and the School of Theology and Ministry (STM). I feel that my calling as an academic, specifically as a pastoral counselor educator, aligns well with SU’s vision to educate the whole person, empowering leaders for a just and humane world. I thrive in the culture of STM and within the Jesuit-mission of SU. I am excited about our pastoral counseling program, the opportunity to integrate clinical skills with spirituality and theology, and to be in a University that lives out a social justice mission. Pastoral counselors provide psychologically sound therapy that weaves in the religious and spiritual dimensions. My passion is to work directly with students who desire to integrate the lived experience of faith or ultimate mystery (spirituality) with mental health in order to be confident, competent, and compassionate pastoral counselors. I have found a home at STM, a place where I can assist students to learn best-practice clinical skills while integrating theology and spirituality into counseling. I am not alone in forming students, and I am blessed to collaborate with colleagues that share a similar vision and passion. My appreciation of seeing students grow and learn inspires me to teach. I believe that teaching, supervision, scholarship, and service are all about building formative relationships. Teaching is about building individual and group relationships to support the students’ knowledge and awareness of professional issues. Advising creates and deepens these relationships, helping to guide the student not only through the program, but also into the professional realm. I enjoy supervising and mentoring pastoral counseling practicum students/interns who become the next generation of therapists and pastoral leaders. I seek to care for students in my courses by building a rapport. My teaching style combines didactic lectures and cooperative learning approaches. Collaborative learning de-emphasizes a competitive classroom atmosphere, instead increasing team learning and support. At the same time, individual student responsibility is stressed through assigning reading, writing papers, and participating in class discussions. In both my teaching and my research, I work from a strength-based, faith oriented, and narrative approach. My research interests have evolved and grown over the past several years. As a marriage and family therapist, I was interested in clinical treatment and intervention of children and families. Although I am still curious about how families experience innovative interventions, as a pastoral counselor educator I focus my work on how pastoral counselors can work compassionately and intentionally with traditionally marginalized individuals, groups, and youth and their families. I am a phenomenological, qualitative researcher. Whereas traditional psychology examines intra-psychic functioning, phenomenological and human ecology theories consider the influence of context and relationships while focusing on meaning, strengths, and resilience. My research and scholarship gives voice to accounts of resilience, using patterns and themes within these life histories to aid therapists in bolstering individual and family strengths.
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