Today’s Faculty Friday is an introduction to Dr. Doug Shirley, Assistant Professor of Counseling. Doug previously worked as adjunct faculty at The Seattle School, where he has taught Practicum I and II, Interpersonal Foundations, and History and Therapeutic Perspectives. He recently completed his doctoral degree in Pastoral Community Counseling at Argosy University, where he also spent several years as a faculty member teaching a broad range of subjects in the categories of psychology, professional writing, gender and human sexuality, and more. His doctoral dissertation focused on the emotional and relational lives of men in positions of spiritual authority.

After earning a Master’s degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, Doug and his family moved west to attend The Seattle School, where his wife, Laura Wade Shirley, completed an MA in Counseling Psychology in 2002 and Doug completed a Master of Divinity in 2006. Laura Wade Shirley currently works with the Resilient Leaders Project. Doug and Laura Wade Shirley both work as therapists in private practice, and together they are raising three boys: Noah, Luke, and Eli.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Bill Plotkin’s Wild Mind, David Abram’s Becoming Animal, Pat Ogden’s Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and I am (re)reading Peter Levine’s Waking the Tiger. How’s that for a combination? Bodies, beings, and beauty…

What have you been listening to lately?

I mostly listen to Pandora. My favorite stations play hymns, Native drum music, Celtic music, classical music, and gospel.

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

I am currently involved in two research projects, with another on the way. The first is an ongoing exploratory study of the nature(s) of compassion and empathy, and how they converge/diverge in the literature and in praxis. The second is a follow up to my dissertation wherein I continue to explore the emotional and relational lives of men in positions of spiritual authority. My third project, waiting in the wings, is a study of the regularity of consultation practices (or lack thereof) of licensed mental health counselors here in the state of Washington. I need to find some extra bandwidth to get this third study moving.

Any exciting summer plans?

Yes! My family and I play hard during the summer! In July we will head east to be with my family and my wife’s family. Our trip will culminate with a week on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We also have multiple camping trips planned, including visits to some of our favorite haunts (Fort Ebey, Moran State Park, Scenic Beach, somewhere in Leavenworth, etc.). In fact, I am typing this response from a hotel room in Wenatchee, prepping for a camping trip with my boys tomorrow night. I’ll also chaperone a weeklong church camp for 5th graders this August: that’s some combination of exciting and terrifying.

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

I enjoy the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet my uncle takes us to when we visit him in Hawaii. I would also love to recreate the “Mexican Night” buffet my wife and I enjoyed during our trip to Cancun in 2016. Was this a question about the people or about the food (*grin*)?!

If you weren’t in your current profession you’d be…?

I’d love for someone to pay me to learn to cook exceptionally tasty (and maybe high end) food. Got any ideas?

Who is your literary or living hero?

A man who I have a hard time speaking about without crying is my high school athletic director (and basketball coach), Mr. Struck. If ever there was an enlightened witness in my life and story, it was him. And I’m so grateful.