Jennifer Gess, PhD
PhD, Counselor Education and Counseling, Idaho State University
MA, Community Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Seattle University
BA, Community Psychology, University of Washington, Bothell
Program Director, Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling (OCMHC)
Associate Clinical Professor, Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling (OCMHC)
Phone: 206) 296-2241
Expertise: Dr. Jennifer Gess is Seattle University’s Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director as well as a full-time faculty in the program. With a career spanning teaching, counseling, research, and advocacy, Dr. Gess’ expertise is in working with queer and transgender communities, social justice advocacy, and sex therapy.
Why I teach in the OCMHC program:
“Online education provides a platform of accessibility to elevate diverse perspectives from a variety of backgrounds. Mental health counseling is vital to the current social climate and our students bring their lived experiences into the classroom to learn the skills necessary to become ethical social justice-oriented counselors. I love learning with and from students as together we grow to make a positive difference in our world.”
Publications and media: Dr. Gess has published in peer reviewed journals on topics including social justice in counselor education, celebrating and advocating for queer and transgender clients, and infusing human sexuality throughout counselor education.
She has presented at local, regional, and national conferences on social justice-oriented topics, including building community with parents of transgender, non-binary and gender diverse children and strategies for becoming culturally responsive counseling professionals.
Recent research includes focusing on the resiliency and discrimination queer and transgender people experience when building families.
Dr. Gess is previous president of Idaho Counseling Association as well as Idaho Association of LGBT Issues in Counseling. She is a previous recipient of the NBCC Minority Fellowship and has been a Walden University Social Change Fellow for her work on building community with parents and families of transgender and gender expansive children and families.
Student interest areas: Dr. Gess particularly enjoys working with students on topics they are passionate about, especially if they include topics related to queer and transgender clients, sex therapy, or social justice-related topics.
Dr. Gess received her BA in Community Psychology from the University of Washington, Bothell; her MA in Community Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Seattle University, and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Counseling from Idaho State University. She taught as Core Faculty for Walden University for five years and then transitioned to a Clinical Training Director role at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.