Professional Counselor

Jonathan Ugalde is currently a Field Therapist for Blackwater Outdoor Experiences. When not actively in the field or preparing for trips Jon is using his counseling skills to provide engaging workshops, trainings, and more per request.

For more information about how Jonathan Ugalde views the counseling relationship and more check out the information below. For information about archery instruction and other services provided by Jonathan Ugalde click here.


Professional Goals

  • to provide effective and researched treatments through individual, group, and family therapies
  • to provide disaster mental health services after licensure through the American Red Cross
  • to provide effective and researched treatments through an adventure based model whether through the use of adventure-based counseling activities, or ropes course elements.
  • to provide effective and researched treatments through an adventure based model through wilderness expeditions where “traditional” talk therapy has not been effective.

Professional Memberships

  • American Counseling Association (November 2013-Present)
  • Eastern Psychological Association (November 2012-Present)
  • Association for Experiential Education (September 2014-Present)
  • Psi Chi: Psychology National Honor Society (April 2012-Present)
  • Omnicron Delta Kappa: Leadership National Honor Society (April 2014-Present)
  • National Eagle Scout Association (January 2015-Present)

Philosophy of Counseling (How Counseling Works, and How Change Occurs)

When constructing a house you need to focus on finding the appropriate location to build the house, developing the foundation, then you frame the house, and finally you fine tune the house through electrical wiring and plumbing. In counseling you have the therapeutic relationship as a basis for your work with the client (the foundation), you then work with the client through exploration with use of reflections and questions (the framing), and then you help the client develop insight and action steps to help them solve their problems (the wiring and plumbing). Once you have built this framework then the client fills in the rest through their values (drywall), coping strategies (insulation), personality (the furniture and painting), and their relationships (the windows and doors). With this analogy I think about the small steps of change in therapy as helping construct an action plan for a client to change and make an effective plan to maintain their house (or in the construction analogy their house).

Theoretically I align with self determination theory (SDT) when discussing the motivation of individuals. The key framework of self determination theory is discussed as:

“Conditions supporting the individual’s experience of autonomy, competence,and relatedness are argued to foster the most volitional and high quality forms of motivation and engagement for activities, including enhanced performance, persistence, and creativity. In addition SDT proposes that the degree to which any of these three psychological needs is unsupported or thwarted within a social context will have a robust detrimental impact on wellness in that setting” (Self Determination Theory, 2015).

Within this framework of motivation I personally use an integrative approach focusing on the use of the key principles of client centered therapy, motivational interviewing, reality therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and solution-focused therapy when working with individuals and groups. When working within the context of a system (such as a family) I use my experience in multi-systemic (MST) to inform my work with the family.

“MST is a pragmatic and goal-oriented treatment that specifically targets those factors in each youthʼs social network that are contributing to his or her antisocial behavior. Thus, MST interventions typically aim to improve caregiver discipline practices, enhance family affective relations, decrease youth association with deviant peers, increase youth association with pro social peers, improve youth school or vocational performance, engage youth in pro social recreational outlets, and develop an indigenous support network of extended family, neighbors, and friends to help caregivers achieve and maintain such changes. Specific treatment techniques used to facilitate these gains are integrated from those therapies that have the most empirical support, including cognitive behavioral, behavioral, and the pragmatic family therapies” (MST Services, 2015).

As a result of my experience in MST I have found the use and effectiveness of structural family therapy in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral therapies to be highly effective in the treatment of children and adolescents. Additionally, when preparing interventions for clients I recognize the power of being taken out of your comfort zone through challenge activities, wilderness expeditions, etc.  By recognizing this power I use the theoretical understandings from the “traditional” talk therapy models previously described to inform my use and development of adventure-based counseling interventions as I work towards becoming competent as an adventure therapist/outdoor behavioral healthcare therapist.

References:

MST Services (2015). “MST Treatment Model”. Retrieved February 21, 2015 from http://mstservices.com/files/msttreatmentmodel.pdf

Self Determination Theory (2015. “Theory”. Retrieved February 21, 2015 from http://www.selfdeterminationtheory.org/theory/

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