My father called me “the psychologist” long before I accepted my calling as a Spiritual Guide and Counselor. He noticed my listening skills and deep understanding of human nature could transform people’s lives, something like a catalyst in chemical reactions which speeds up the natural process. I was always curious about human growth, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Perhaps that was also a survival skill growing up in an alcoholic family. I understood from personal experience what enmeshment with family members feels like and the struggle to become an individual. I used my intellect as a pony to ride out of Idaho’s Wild West and into the Ivory Towers of academia. There I felt seen and appreciated for who I was. After studying economics for several years, I concentrated on philosophy, French, and Greek, studied abroad and graduated in 1969 with a Masters in Philosophy. After further graduate work during the year of political unrest and the “burning of the Bank of America” at the University of California in Santa Barbara, I accepted a job teaching ethics, logic, and the history of philosophy at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California.
Throughout the eleven years as a professor at the College, I studied psychology and devoted my sabbatical to the study of Dreams, the Collective Unconscious, and Individuation at the C. G. Jung Institute in Los Angeles. In order to apply what I had learned as a professor and to give our children a first rate education, my wife Athena and I re-located our family to the redwoods of Mendocino County, CA. For the next sixteen years Athena and I taught and directed the Melville Montessori School. In 1997 we separated and I began personal therapy. At that time I turned toward my Native American heritage, becoming involved with Sweat Lodges, Vision Quests, and other Ceremonies. Athena and I divorced and I took a job working for a local Pomo Tribe as their education specialist. It was at that time that I realized I needed to get formal training in Counseling and with the Tribal Council’s permission obtained a MA in Counseling Psychology in 2004. I trained in the Crisis Center at Mendocino County Mental Health in Ukiah, CA and interned at two residential facilities in Santa Barbara, CA. Because of my age and experience I shifted into a managerial role in addition to running groups and conducting individual counseling. I continued to accrue supervised hours toward my Marriage and Family Therapist licensure.
Looking back over my involvement with people in various counseling modalities and remembering my job description back in 1986 when I worked for Consolidated Tribal Health as a traditional counselor, I decided to describe my work as Spiritual Counseling Psychology. Since moving to Ojai, CA in 2007 I have been practicing as a Pastoral Counselor. At World University I conducted individual counseling, men’s groups, dream workshops, and lectures on Archetypal Psychology and Native American traditions such as the Medicine Wheel. I have continued my storytelling/teaching activities with my blog at http://www.dreamcoat.wordpress.com.
My goal is to bridge western and indigenous counseling traditions, to accompany people as they grow into their individual maturity. My eclectic approach follows the lineage of my elders in archetypal psychology, the Chinese Taoist tradition, and indigenous ceremonial approaches. More recently I have been using the insightful work of Alice Miller, who suggests we must consider the behaviors expressed in addiction, criminality, and mental illness as adaptations learned in childhood. Providing an enlightened witness of the inner child’s experiences does speed up the client’s healing from childhood trauma.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org