Today’s Faculty Friday is an introduction to Dr. Doug Shirley, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology. Doug previously worked as adjunct faculty at The Seattle School, having taught Practicum I and II, Interpersonal Foundations, and History and Therapeutic Perspectives before becoming core faculty in the Counseling Psychology program. Doug now serves as practicum director, overseeing Listening Lab (previously Practicum I) and Pre-Internship for counseling students. He will also be the faculty of record for courses like Intersections I (IDS 501), Practicum III (CSL 538), Family Systems (CSL 517) and Group Therapy in the 2022-2023 academic year.

After earning a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia, Doug moved west to attend Mars Hill Graduate School (now The Seattle School), where he met his wife, Laura Wade Shirley. Laura Wade earned her MA in Counseling Psychology from Western Seminary (through Mars Hill Graduate School) in 2002. Doug earned a Master of Divinity from Mars Hill Graduate School in 2006. Doug and Laura Wade are both therapists in private practice, and together they are working to be raised by their three boys: Noah, Luke, and Eli. They live in Woodinville, WA, surrounded by bidden and unbidden messengers from the more than human world.

What are you currently reading?

Last summer I noted my plans to read Karen Maroda’s The Analyst’s Vulnerability. Well, I didn’t finish it this last year, so it’s cued up for an additional summer of reading as well. I am currently making my way through The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog (by Bruce Perry) and Resisting Illegitimate Authority (Bruce Levine) on Audible. In my hands is Willie Jennings’ After Whiteness and The Barcelona Inheritance (Jonathan Wilson), with the latter tethered to a trip I’ll be taking to Spain with my two oldest boys, who will be competing in a soccer tournament while there.

What have you been listening to lately?

My wife and I both lament being stuck in a music rut. Can someone bail us out?!

What research do you find yourself drawn to at the moment?

This past year I was a part of a research team who engaged in a quantitative study of the consultation practices of fully licensed mental health practitioners in the state of Washington. This summer my team and I plan to further our work on this project, sorting out next steps related to our study of the intersections between the person and the profession(al) of the therapist, and the ways COVID has impacted mental health and the world(s) of mental health treatment(s). I am also very interested in (concerned about) how the field of counseling currently operates according to a “gotcha” mentality, rather than a communitarian ethic. I’d like to do something about that.

Any exciting summer plans?

My oldest sons and I will be traveling to Spain for a youth soccer tournament (the Donasti Cup) this summer. We’ll spend two weeks there, vacationing and competing. Both boys get to play for the same team, which makes for a once in a lifetime experience. We’ve also got a family trip to Spokane planned, also around a soccer tournament. Anyone notice a pattern here?

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would they be?

In recent years I’ve been making some important connections to my maternal grandmother, who died when I was young. As I age (and hopefully mature), I continue to deepen in my understanding of ancestors and the important role(s) they play in our lives. I am grateful to have established a significant connection with my grandmother, and would love to share a meal (literal or metaphorical) with her to hear more about what she sees from where she sits now.

I used to say that I wished to be a professional soccer player. Here I would keep saying what I’ve said on this same platform for a series of years now: I’d love to go to culinary school. And maybe in an ideal world I’d work as a personal chef, rather than having to live and die by the freneticism and exhaustion of restaurant culture.

Who is your literary or living hero?

Author David Wexler speaks of “relational heroes”: those people who work to make the often barely negligible changes in life and in relationship that subvert and change the face of history. I journey with a band of brothers whom I would call relational heroes. I learn from them everyday.