Joe Gilbert, Licensed Professional Counselor
Joe was trained as a Person-Centered Counselor. This approach rests on the foundations of empathy, authenticity and unconditional positive regard in relationship to others. Since then, Joe has received training and peer supervision in other therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Counseling, and Existential Psychotherapy. Joe began his counseling career working as an inpatient counselor at a hospital for people living with alcohol/drug addiction and mental health issues. Over time, he developed a passion for working with people who are experiencing grief and loss, addictions/unhealthy habits (of all sorts), spirituality concerns, and other stressful life transitions. If you are a person who identifies as LGBTQ+, you are safe here and Joe is happy to work with you.
Joe enjoys living in the Raleigh area with his wife and two dogs. He practices Vipassana (insight-oriented) meditation and is a member of a local Buddhist Sangha. He attends insight-oriented meditation retreats annually, and his life and work are guided by his practices in awareness and compassion. Joe enjoys waking up early to sit in meditation or practice yoga. Joe also enjoys walking, running, being with good friends, reading, sipping tea, nibbling on crystallized ginger, helping out when he can, and practicing the art of simply be-ing.
Mindfulness is a catchy word these days, but there is a lot of confusion as to what it means and how it should be practiced. After all, a thief can be mindful while he is in a house, stealing someone’s belongings. People can mindfully exploit others who are seeking genuine help. Joe views mindfulness as the practice of paying attention, with intention, to our thoughts, feelings, emotions and body sensations. This practice helps us cultivate concentration, clarity, and compassion in our lives while allowing us the space to identify and live into our deepest values. Joe does not separate mindfulness from the ethical context it was presented with in Buddhism. It is hard to grow if we are still causing harm to ourselves and others. Joe shares several values and beliefs common in the contemplative counseling and mindfulness-based communities:
- I (Joe) understand that even though we perceive differences, there is an essential unity of all beings.
- I believe it is important to honor our differences, looking closely at our own reactions and judgments in light of these differences, and seeing the suffering that arises when we do not acknowledge the life experiences of people who have been marginalized in our society.
- I believe that resisting pain or making judgments about pain increases our suffering.
- I value the practice of meditation and mindfulness as means for coping with the challenges of life.
- I value the cultivation of self-compassion and self-acceptance: Approaching ourselves and life circumstances with a non-judgmental mind.
- I value the teaching that everything arises and passes away (impermanence), including mind/body states.
- I value the importance of experiencing thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and emotions that arise in the present moment.
Joe is happy to offer basic instructions, guidance, and support if you wish to begin your own meditation and mindfulness practice.