Dr. Mark Newmeyer
Assistant Professor (2011)
- Group Work
- Substance Abuse and Addictive Behaviors
- Ecological Counseling Theory
Perhaps like me, along the journey of life, you have experienced a few "a ha!" moments that have powerfully shaped who you are. I would like to share two that have had a profound impact on both my professional and personal identity.
A few years after completing my master's degree in community counseling, I transitioned from doing traditional one-to-one counseling into a new a position working in an inpatient setting for men with addictive behaviors. Both counseling and psychoeducation groups constituted the bulk of my new work. In using this modality of treatment I saw clients making substantive gains in embracing a life of sobriety and turning away from alcohol and drugs; gains I would have thought unlikely to occur in traditional one-on-one counseling. Paralleling what I observed in the group members, I experienced what Yalom correctly points out—the group's important impact on the group leader(s) too. Five days a week, for three years, I served as a group leader, but often at the end of the day, usually while driving home, I marveled at my own growth. Lesson learned—groups work! This general revelation should not surprise the Body of Christ as the New Testament is brimming with instruction to not "go it alone."
Far too often the work that consumes much of the time of the traditional counselor or psychologist is remedial in nature. Indeed, much, if not all, our training reinforces an after-the-fact helping approach. Though remedial work is the bread and butter of our discipline it creates a level of cognitive dissonance for me, especially when I attempt to integrate my Christian world view that emphasizes loving my neighbor as myself. Frankly put, why are we waiting for people to show up in our clinics with a myriad of preventable problems? So, another "a ha!" moment for me occurred several years ago when I allowed myself to ask "What if the idealized goal for the counselor was the prevention of human dysfunction?" What would counseling or psychology look like if we were agents of prevention, taking action steps to help people avert future problems? Hebrews 2:15 expresses it this way "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God..." In this light, our discipline must conceptualize and operationalize the worthy endeavor of helping people practice everyday prevention strategies that reduces suffering and promotes healthy maturation.
Dr. Newmeyer is a licensed professional clinical counselor and supervisor. He is a professional member of the American Counseling Association, which recognized his achievements by honoring him in 2004 as an Emerging Leader. Dr. Newmeyer also serves as co-chair of Training Standards Committee for the Association of Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) and is a professional member of The American Psychological Association's Division 49, Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy. He currently has teaching responsibilities in the Ph.D. Counselor Education & Supervision program, but greatly enjoys teaching masters level students too. When not working he enjoys running and hanging-out with his wife and daughter.