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, 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 Practicum II. He will also be the faculty of record for courses like Intersections I (IDS 501), Human Growth and Development (CSL 510), and Marriage and Family (CSL 517) in the 2021-2022 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 have each spent time working with both The Allender Center and the Resilient Leaders Project. Both are therapists in private practice, and together they are working to be raised by their three boys: Noah, Luke, and Eli.

What are you currently reading?

This summer I read a great book entitled “Group” (Christie Tate), which both provoked and confirmed my belief in the importance of collective process and the toxicity of secrets (read shame here). I am also an avid Audible listener, and recent favorites have included “Caste” (Isabel Wilkerson) and “Faith After Doubt” (Brian McLaren). Next up (in my hands but not in my being yet) are “Mediocre” (Ijeoma Oluo) and “The Analyst’s Vulnerability” (Karen Maroda).

What have you been listening to lately?

Well, given that we’re coming off of summer, it’s been a lot of catchy beat stuff like Indigo Girls, Simon & Garfunkel, and James Taylor. That said Celtic ballads, jigs, reels, and hymns are never far away.

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

My current research project is with Dr. Eric Strom. He and I are researching the consultation practices of fully licensed counseling providers here in the state of Washington. One of the things we are interested in are the ways (if at all) COVID has impacted consultation practices for clinicians here in Washington.

Any exciting summer plans?

My family and I took some extended time to travel on the east coast this summer, visiting family and spending time at the Outer Banks of North Carolina (our favorite beach). We’ve also worked in multiple camping trips, time on Orcas Island, and a handful of soccer tournaments. We’ve been so grateful to have the opportunity to connect with others again this summer.

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

I was recently on a camping trip with some dear friends, who also happen to be dads. We’ve purposed to be “roped in together,” and to raise our boys in community with each other. I’d like to have another meal with that fine crew of humans.

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

I wouldn’t mind going to culinary school. Cooking was one of the ways I’ve survived the pandemic. One of the things that is so therapeutic for me about cooking is that I like eating my own food! Many places in life I am “setting a table” for others. In as much as that is life-giving in its own way, it’s particularly wonderful to be able to set a table and to have the opportunity to feast myself as well.

Who is your literary or living hero?

I am grateful for all of the enlightened witnesses out there. For me, it was Mr. Struck, my high school athletic director (and basketball coach). He saw me so differently than I saw myself. And I am so grateful for what he saw.