James N. Sells, Ph.D.
Associate Professor (2005)
- Marital and Family Therapy
- Supervision/Professional Identity Formation
- International Applications of Counseling
I am aware of three forces that seriously affect the direction of my life. The first is the grand theme of reconciliation. My work as a counselor and psychologist has focused on individual, couple and family efforts to reconcile the conflicted space that exists within and between persons. It is particularly relevant to consider this rift within an individual's soul with their soul maker. Reconciliation and the related themes of grace, justice and forgiveness are the essential themes of the Christian faith, and of successful relationships.
The second powerful force is the size and complexity of our world. Spanning oceans and crossing continents, the intricacy of life is, to me, wonderful and awesome. This makes the task of personal, spiritual and relational reconciliation and redemption challenging. The integration of world cultures encourages research into how counseling/psychology can influence them and particularly how Christianity, the religion that has transcended culture on every continent, can play an active role in reconciling broken or damaged relationships.
The third force is the unique individuality of every person. As a counselor/psychologist/professor a respect for human distinctiveness is a constant reminder to take a humble perspective on what we can claim to know about people. It also encourages me to learn of individual needs and concerns.
Currently, I serve as the director of the Ph.D. Program in Counselor Education & Supervision. My training and career path has made stops in public and Christian secondary education, community mental health, private practice psychotherapy, and higher education in both public and Christian institutions. In my work - teaching, research, therapy and administration - I want to be thinking of the great influences of culture and individual need as I attend to the grand theme of reconciliation and redemption.
The Doctoral Program in Counselor Education lends itself to those values because of our online format. I can work with students from around the world or right next door to tailor an educational program that is targeted for their calling and mission in life.
Finally, as exciting as the things are that I have discussed, they are not life. They are work. Life is found in attending to the simple and profound, as in Micah 6:8, to "live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." These principles of justice, mercy and humility are presented to me daily in the little details such as how I love my wife and children; give respect to those around me with greater, equal and lesser status than I; and how I seek to show the face of Jesus to both those who recognize the reflection;, and to those who take it for granted.