The Walk in Balance Counseling name has a specific meaning attached to my cultural identity of Cherokee. From a Native American saying, “Walk in Balance and Beauty.” Walking in balance means that we are most happy and fulfilled when we have many components to our life working in harmony. Working, learning, friendships, partners, leisure, spirituality – all components of our life that we choose to include – should be balanced.
The idea of feeling balanced also has to do with my approach. I work with each client on a holistic level, to ensure that physically, emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, and spiritually (if desired), they feel fulfilled and living in a high quality of life. Secondly, I use a humanistic and existential approach to therapy, thereby helping the individual see and maintain the beauty in their life. Being able to see the positive elements in their life and the world around them can help in times of stress and trauma. Below is my bio to learn more about me as a professional and a clinician.
About Dr. Misty Ginicola, LPC
Dr. Misty Ginicola is a Professor in the Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) department at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Dr. Ginicola is also currently the Training and Evaluation Associate for the Mutt-i-grees Social and Emotional Skills Curriculum at North Shore Animal League and the School of the 21st Century in the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University.
Dr. Ginicola earned a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Exceptional Children at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. She earned a M.A. Degree in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz, where she received training on counseling psychology. She received two additional Masters Degrees (M.S., M.Ph.) from Yale University and graduated with a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Yale in 2006. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at The School of the 21st Century further focusing on school mental health, education program evaluations, as well as a state-wide initiative in Arkansas designed to improve children's academics and social and emotional skills. Following her post-doctoratal fellowship, she sought additional education and clinical experiences in order to obtain her License as a Professional Counselor.
Before joining the faculty at SCSU in fall of 2006, Dr. Ginicola worked extensively in the fields of research, clinical psychology, and education. Since 1998, she has been involved in multiple research projects involving physiological research, clinical research, development and social psychology, and developmental disabilities. Throughout her career she has been passionate about not only performing research, but also teaching research to others. In addition to research, Dr. Ginicola worked over 10 years in the field of developmental disabilities and mental health. In graduate school, Dr. Ginicola worked with Edward Zigler and Matia Finn-Stevenson on school reform programs, program evaluation research and interventions designed to improve the whole-child.
Dr. Ginicola has continued to work with the Mutt-i-grees® program through North Shore Animal League and the School of the 21st Century at Yale University. She has conducted program evaluations and worked as a Trainer for new and interested programs. The evaluation of Mutt-i-grees included a control and a comparison group study of over 1,900 children. You can see her on CNN discussing this program here.
Dr. Ginicola is of Cherokee and Celtic ethnicity and identifies as two-spirited. Dr. Ginicola’s personal experiences and professional interests have developed into specific research interests and social justice advocacy in the areas of working with diverse clients and teaching multicultural competence, creative counseling strategies and counseling for the LGBTQ+ population. She recently co-edited a book on Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People. Her previous and ongoing research studies address the broad definition of multicultural issues, including culture, ethnicity, disability, women’s issues, affectional and gender orientation, among others.
She additionally serves as her department’s CACREP and IRCEP liaison, Chair of the Diversity Committee and Chair of the Department Evaluation Committee. Additionally, she serves as the Co-Chair of the LGBTQI+ Advisory Board at SCSU. Within the Connecticut Counseling Association, Dr. Ginicola serves as the Chair of the Special Interest Group CT-ALGBTIC and Chair of the MCD Committee. Dr. Ginicola has served on national task forces for American Counseling Association’s ALGBTIC and as an editorial review board member for the LGBT Issues in Counseling Journal. She has additionally served as a reviewer for several international journals in the past.
Her specialties within counseling practice include working with LGBTQI+ populations, highly sensitive people, ethnically diverse clients. She also has competency and specializations in using creative approaches (art, phototherapy, creative writing, yoga, animal assisted therapy), as well as traditional counseling techniques.
Misty is also a trained shaman who received formal initiation in 2009. She practices independently and identifies with Native American medicine and spirituality. Her Celtic origins, however, also influenced her development and understanding of shamanism. Although her shamanistic beliefs are deeply personal, she has found utility of this framework within her teaching and counseling work, assisting many others on their spiritual journeys.