Career change is a popular topic in therapists’ offices. Many clients come to counseling beaten down by their professions, often forgetting the reasons they were initially drawn to those jobs, and how their own unique skills seemed like a good match for such an environment once upon a time. In this process it is tempting to plan for a 180-degree shift, but such dramatic change is not necessarily required.
The Imago Center’s Robert Gordon understands the appeal of abandoning the past, but has found that in his own personal life and career, past experience can support new initiatives. Currently completing a third graduate degree – this time at Loyola University in Maryland’s pastoral counseling program – Gordon has blended his skills and interests into a creative workweek that may include counseling couples with Imago Relationship Therapy one day, and organizational consulting the next.
“I love to help clients discover, or remember, their callings and to find or create new careers for themselves,” Gordon explains. His first graduate degree was in organization development, and he spent more than 20 years as a leadership development, training, and organization development professional in industry and government. He currently consults on a large scale to such clients as the federal government’s Eastern Management Development Center, and on a smaller scale to regional wellness centers in need of leadership alignment and team building.
“Consulting makes use of my longstanding interest in the human side of enterprise, which includes motivational theory, achievement theory, quality management, and work process improvement,” Gordon says. He has found similarities in consultation and counseling. “In working with individuals or organizations, I believe that the knowledge needed to change is already within the client. This is one reason I enjoy consulting projects that allow me to engage an organization’s own employees as leaders in change initiatives.”
At the same time, Gordon has nurtured a deep belief in the spiritual side of personal transformation. In his second graduate degree he studied the holistic approach to healing – a mind-body-spirit approach to mental and emotional health – that he finds to be a great fit with PC&CC and The Imago Center. “My training in holistic healing arts and spiritual direction makes working at a pastoral counseling center especially satisfying,” he adds, noting that his counseling work complements his position as a faculty member of the Tai Sophia Institute’s Applied Healing Arts program. In that role he advises graduate students in the design of their independent studies and final projects. Gordon has also taught public courses there, including The Tao of Couplehood, How Are You Called to Serve?, and The Five Gifts of Nature.
“My teaching and counseling work strengthen one another, both in terms of continuous learning and in honing my coaching and counseling skills,” Gordon notes. He also has taught staff development workshops, such as meditation and everyday financial planning, for the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, and has presented introductory Imago workshops at retreats and wellness centers throughout Maryland.
A strong believer in the importance of continuing education, Gordon is currently studying Adlerian parenting theory and is preparing to teach related workshops. He notes that he finds particular fulfillment in working with clients who have compulsive or addictive behavior, and with their partners.
Gordon works in the Takoma Park office and may be reached at 202.449.3789 x 707.