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Artist: Elly MacKay


Hi, and Welcome to my Website. I'm a professor and psychotherapist, specialzing in play therapy with children and families. I have a Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of New Orleans (2005). Once upon a time I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies in Psychology and Counseling at LSU and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Now I work in the field of mental health and teach at the University of North Texas at Dallas. I also teach part-time during summers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD while maintaining a part-time, private practice in Dallas counseling children and families affected by psychological trauma. 

My gratitude regarding this journey begins with Kathryn Elliot from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where I completed a master's degree in psychology/rehabilitation counseling in 2002. Kathryn deeply influenced the way I conduct therapy and communicate with others. She was and remains a highly talented, humanistic psychotherapist. I am extremely grateful to Barbara Herlihy. She taught me throughout the doctoral program at the University of New Orleans to never lose sight of the most important part of teaching in higher ed: nurturing students and their development. I feel incredibly lucky to have been mentored by John Allan, the analyst who developed Jungian child counseling in schools in the 80's. Also been fortunate to attend multiple trainings in child analysis, archetypal psychology, as well as Sandplay® over the years at Jungian Institutes throughout the U.S.  I'm currently finishing the process to become a certified sandplay therapist, a credential issued by the Sandplay Therapists of America (heartfelt gratitude to Jacki Kelly and Harriet Friedman for guiding me gently through this process!). 

Mentors along the way have and continue to show support and compassion both personally and professionally. There's not a week that goes by when I don't hear Rev. Msgr. Paul Metrejean's spiritual guidance from back when I was a kid through young adulthood ringing in the back of my mind. Moreover, my own role now as a mentor has become gratifying. Whether in a position as child psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, professor, or public speaker, mentoring brings about immense joy. Being out on the road to conduct trainings and engaging in public speaking has illuminated multiple perspectives and increased my own burgeoning multicultural sensitivity. The responses by enthusiastic attendees continue to inspire me as do the new friendships made along the way. That's where I find the 'sweetness.' :-)

I thank God for such an incredibly rewarding job. Most of us in the field of academia strategize career moves and end up working at multiple universities throughout our lifetime. Many of us try to find an environment with stable, honest colleagues who value a nurturing yet intellectually curious atmosphere. That is what this job at UNT Dallas is to me: heartfelt "thanks" to my chair (Baggerly), dean (Santos), and provost (Becker)! And so I recognize this is probably one of the best jobs I will ever have or hope to have and try not to take one day for granted. Also, I'm grateful to Ileana Gonzalez, Norma Day-Vines, & Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy for continuing to invite me back each summer to teach the School Counseling Fellows at Johns Hopkins (what an honor- thank you!). There are three colleagues whom I've co-authored and co-presented with extensively over the years: Amie Myrick, Jennifer Baggerly, and David Crenshaw. You've enriched me and my work with children deeply: "thank you."

I still make time for clinical work with children during the week. Children and their willingness to reach out and trust in the power of play astounds me each and every time. We learn from them more than they ever learn from us. It is because of their courage, and resilience, I remain optimistic that one day much of the darkness some children experience will be lifted. They do all the heavy lifting in therapy: we merely sit by and co-create the "free and protected space" as they lead the way to their own healing. 

I am the proud uncle of several nieces, nephews, and godchildren. Seeing their joy simply by spending time with them warms my heart and lets me know that everything will be OK. All work and no play makes for a very dull boy, as well as a burned-out one. So I look to art for balance and fun.  Started to take lessons here in Dallas. And now, painting has become a way to distract from work and simply relax. Albeit the 'portraits' are never quite as pretty or artsy as hoped for, but I'm OK with that. At this age, I'm laughing a lot more and crying a lot less. Moreover, it's awe-inspiring to see the light that shines through when we care enough to put others' needs before our own. Ilene Pearce, my Jewish "mom," is one of these bright lights: self-less, caring, brave- a paragon for us all. As are my parents, Belinda and Gerry Green, whom I cherish deeply. They all serve as a constant reminder that caring for others is what matters most.