Welcome Arien Muzacz
September 30, 2016
We are pleased to welcome Arien Muzacz, PhD, assistant professor of counseling psychology in the professional mental health counseling - specialization in addictions program.
What prior experience do you bring to this new position?
I earned my PhD in Counseling at Oregon State University, my Masters in Mental Health Counseling from the City College of the City University of New York, and my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science from Barnard College of Columbia University. In addition to being a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oregon and a LMHC in New York, I am a Nationally Certified Counselor and an Approved Clinical Supervisor.
I have worked with clients from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups, from various socioeconomic circumstances, of different ages and sexual and gender identities. My areas of specialization include substance use, sexual identity and behavior, gender identity, phase of life adjustments, and addiction and recovery. As a counselor, I have worked with clients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and asexual, those who are questioning their gender identity or who identify as transgender or genderqueer, and those who are involved in BDSM, kinky, polyamorous or open relationships, as well as any clients challenged by depression, anxiety, obsession or compulsion, or life adjustments like career change, retirement or bereavement. I also have experience working with older adults, people living with HIV, and couples, including same sex and serodiscordant couples.
How do you see yourself contributing to the work and mission of your department and the Graduate School as a whole?
I think my background in community-based counseling, my experience as a clinical supervisor, and my research interests will enhance the department’s program offerings in the areas of addiction and sexuality. My experience serving diverse client and student populations and my commitment to advocacy are consistent with the mission and vision of the department and the grad school.
What drew you to the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling (GSEC)?
One of my colleagues spoke very highly of the faculty and students, and of the overwhelmingly positive experiences he had here as an adjunct instructor and then as a junior faculty member. Once I saw a few pictures of the campus, I was ready to relocate!
What work and projects lie immediately ahead of you upon your arrival at GSEC?
Although I am not required to do research in my current role, I presented at ALGBTIC this month with a colleague on the results of a meta-analysis of the literature on eating disorders among gay and bisexual men, and have three upcoming presentations at WACES in the areas of supervision, sexuality, and gender affirmation in education.
How to you foresee this position challenging you professionally?
Counselor educator is my newest professional identity, and the one I am growing into. I foresee this position challenging me by presenting me with a very talented group of students who want to be challenged intellectually and ideologically as they grow into their own professional identities; I will have to bring my A-game to keep pace with them!
What do you find especially unique about the graduate school and/or what do you see as its greatest asset?
What I saw from the outside was a commitment to social justice education and action, which are great assets. What I’ve seen from the inside thus far is an extremely warm, collegial community of staff, faculty, and administrators who truly value and support each other, which is a tremendous asset in any setting.
A personal note…
We live in Salem, about an hour south of Portland. I have been a city kid all my life, so I am adjusting to all the trees and the lack of concrete! I could not have made this move in such a short time without the unwavering support of my partner and husband, Mike. We both love animals and travel, and he is an avid birdwatcher, so we are excited to live in the Pacific Northwest with such beautiful natural spaces to explore. I follow a vegan diet and have been vegetarian since birth, so the food options in Portland are pretty exciting too!