Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

From Good to Great: Examining Exemplary Counselor Development

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

From Good to Great: Examining Exemplary Counselor Development

Article excerpt

   Your words
      splash heavily upon my mind
   Like early cold October rain
      falling on my roof
         at dusk. (Gladding, 1975a, p. 149)

In 1988, a book landed on my (first author) desk. It was a big book with a broad scope that was well written and thoroughly researched. Counseling: A Comprehensive Profession was authored by Samuel T. Gladding. I was appropriately impressed and immediately told my colleagues, "You need to read this book!" That name on a title page, then unknown to me, has become the legend that occupies a next-door office. The constants in my introduction to Sam and our everyday work together are his extraordinary ability to skillfully express himself in person and in prose; his leadership on multiple fronts in the counseling profession; and his balanced, but comprehensive, approach to life that make him a joy to work with while keeping him healthy and focused.

My observations of this man exist on a continuum of objectivity to indiscriminately subjective admiration and amazement. I talked to Sam about some of his life events and personal habits that I did not know, but I included a great deal from public record in order to report as factually as possible in this article. Although this material spotlights Sam, I want to emphasize that the outstanding qualities of his life that make him a national treasure, such as a strong professional identity, passion, and commitment, are attributes shared by other notable counselors. Our profession attracts splendid people. How counselors develop between their early years and their more mature years is a critical lesson for the profession, especially for those just entering it. Sam and his journey supply a prime example.

The goal in this article is to explain the sense of equilibrium that Sam has shown through his 40-plus years in the profession of counseling. The perspective and focus of this article differ from those of the other numerous personal interviews of prominent counselors that the Journal of Counseling & Development (JCD) has published since the 1970s. These informative dialogues with well-known counselors have historically expanded on the reflective thoughts of the highlighted professional to describe the unique ways those individuals have grown and achieved in the profession (Heppner, 1990), or they have concentrated on the zeitgeist of the time and person, such as Boring's (1961) seminal historical text. Sam's case autobiography of his counseling experiences, Becoming a Counselor: The Light, the Bright, and the Serious (Gladding, 2010) is presented in this same reflective modality. Likewise, case history books about counselors, such as Journeys to Professional Excellence (Conyne & Bemak, 2005) and Leaders and Legacies (West, Osborn, & Bubenzer, 2003), have primarily profiled prominent professionals through interviews.

In this article, I briefly trace Sam's development as a person and a counselor through the strategies he has used to excel professionally and establish personal equilibrium. Discussing Sam's life choices emphasizes the work of Salvatore and Sastre (2001). They explained that at every life stage a person has limited resources for meeting all the possible opportunities. Life satisfaction links to selecting goals and directing internal and external resources in order to function well in meeting those goals. Their Selection, Optimization, and Compensation model outlines an adaptation to life by integrating three processes:

* selection, or identifying the domains or activities that represent the greatest value to the person;

* optimization, or allocating and refining resources to reach higher levels of functioning in the selected activities; and

* compensation, or working with reduced resources and still identifying strategies to counteract the reduction and minimize the negative impact on functioning in the selected areas.

Throughout his incredibly productive career, Sam has not lost his perspective on the meaning and importance of life, especially as found in family, friends, and colleagues. Those are his selected domains that help guide his counseling career. Although the story of his achievement is inspiring, most important are the principles he follows in his life. Those attitudes, as stated, can be used by others to become more than thought possible while avoiding the struggles of becoming a workaholic, a cynic, or a narrowly focused and restricted person. Throughout his career, Sam has worked diligently to become better and better at all he accomplishes and has reached the pinnacle of a counseling professional. He has optimized his opportunities. Much of his story incorporates his abilities to acknowledge difficulties and walk through them in a deliberate manner, always keeping the goal at the forefront--thus compensating for distractions and maintaining a focus on positive outcomes despite multiple challenges. Salvatore and Sastre would predict that Sam is a satisfied person based on his abilities to manage life events by using his resources to engage in his valued roles and activities. This is how I have had the opportunity to view Sam.

* Background

Much of the life of Samuel T. Gladding has been written about in previous publications (Campbell, 1996; Haight & Shaughnessy, 2006; Rosenthal, 2002). Highlights emphasize his professional contributions. In a nutshell, Sam has had a prolific career, having written 38 books (including revisions), 60 referred journal articles, 25 book chapters, 45 referred poems, and a multitude of presidential columns and other invited pieces. His record of presentations and workshops eclipse even those remarkable numbers. For instance, he has keynoted 24 American Counseling Association (ACA) state conferences, given workshops at more than 65 universities, and spoken about counseling on every continent except Antarctica. His tireless devotion to writing and teaching cannot be overstated, nor can his dedication to the counseling profession, where he has held numerous leadership positions, including being president of ACA as well as two of its divisions (the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision and the Association for Specialists in Group Work), chair of the ACA Foundation, and president of Chi Sigma Iota and the American Association of State Counseling Boards. He has also been editor of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work and on numerous editorial boards, including JCD. Therefore, I will not dwell on Sam's professional achievements here except to say that if one had predicted where Sam would be at 65 years old when he was 35 years old, it would not be where he is today.

At age 35, Sam could be described as a good counselor with appropriate aspirations. He had four degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Education in counseling from Wake Forest University; a Master of Arts in religion from Yale University; and a doctorate and an 18-semester-hour postdoctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) that was an eclectic mix of counselor education, psychology, and family studies (for a total of 96 semester hours). Thus, he was well educated. However, at age 35, Sam was teaching at a community college in what he called "Nowhere" North Carolina (actually a village of about 100 people: Wentworth), was unmarried, and was in the midst of sending out what would be almost 200 letters over a multiyear period to find his first position as a counselor educator. In other words, Sam was not seen as star-quality material in counseling, let alone a model to emulate. Yet, even at that time, Sam demonstrated balance and health. He was involved in a local church singles group, played tennis regularly with friends, sailed on the lakes around Greensboro, and chaired a committee on single life for the Greensboro Family Life Council. He also rewrote his dissertation for a journal and composed an article on ethics, penned poetry and humor, consulted with a local mental health center, and had a dog named Eli.

As throughout his life, Sam paid attention to the people in his life. He maintained close contact with his mentors: Tom Elmore and Wes Hood at Wake Forest; Larry Osbome at UNCG; and Art Lerner, a psychologist and poet from Los Angeles. He regularly called and visited his parents and siblings in Decatur, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta where he was raised. He was aware that he was not self-made and that others had believed in him and contributed to his life in direct and indirect ways, particularly his scout-master (yes, Sam was an Eagle Scout), his Sunday school teachers, and a number of childhood friends and teachers. Although none of these individuals were counselors (Sam's father was a small-business man with a high school education and his mother was a fourth-grade teacher), Sam realized early in his life that personal relationships are enriching and that the memories of times together are sustaining.

* Balance: Principles to Live By

So how did Sam Gladding rise to prominence and stay balanced amid such a mundane and ordinary background? Was it luck, hard work, or ability that enabled him to succeed? All three may have contributed to Sam's development, but in observing him, I have come to believe that it was his discipline and commitment to evenness in life that made the difference for him and that can make a difference for others. He approached the demands, pressures, and circumstances that surrounded him, which were similar to those encountered by others, by following specific principles. As noted earlier, he found intentionality in these values and used them to select and optimize his opportunities. His beliefs helped him stay steady in times of adversarial and discouraging factors and success alike.

Through this process of life review, Sam's achievement of integrity will become apparent. He has reached the peak of Erikson's (1982) pyramid of psychosocial health, a culmination that addresses how he has found meaning in life. Erikson explained that people who attain integrity feel complete and are satisfied with their achievements. In Sam's case, his satisfaction arises from an uncommon balance that has guided his development as an extraordinary counselor. This equilibrium seems to have emerged through the following intentional themes that he has lived by and that I have observed over the years: mindfulness and mattering, deliberateness and persistence, identity and planfulness, humor and optimism, and gratitude. I will examine each theme individually, although these factors work on an integrated level and are woven throughout his life. Singling out one component is to lose the whole.

Mindfulness and Mattering

Sam's development as an adult illustrates the belief that in all one does, one must remind oneself how one is thinking, feeling, and behaving. He discovered this piece of wisdom one day with help from a client's response after what he considered to be a routine counseling session in the rural mental health center where he worked. He penned the experience into a poem he titled "Here and Now," which was later published in The Personnel and Guidance Journal. This exchange and subsequent poem revealed to him some of his innermost beliefs:

   I feel at times
      that I'm wasting my mind
         as we wade through
            your thoughts and emotions
   With my skills
      I could be in a world-renowned clinic
         with a plush padded office
            a soft swivel chair
               and a sharp secretary
                  at my command
   Instead of here
      in a pink cinderblock room
         where it leaks when it rains
            and the noise
               seeps under the door
                  like water,
   But then in leaving
      you pause at the door
         your voice spilling out in a whisper
            "Thanks for being here when I hurt."
   At that moment my fantasies end
      as reality
         like a wellspring begins
   Filling me
      with life-giving knowledge
         as it cascades through my mind
   That in meeting you
      when you're flooded with pain
   I discover myself. (Gladding, 1975b, p. 746)

Sam talks about the epiphany that came from this experience and his realizations about pride, sensitivity or lack thereof, and the importance of being with a client rather than simply being in a room with a client. From that day, he began to realize more fully that in counseling, and in life, you need to be humble, controlling what you can--your own thoughts, emotions, and actions--and let the scenes of the play that is life unfold before you.

Life for Sam has not been perfect. For instance, he has broken five bones; had dislocated hips; and experienced other medical challenges, including prostate cancer and an intestinal blockage. He has had his fair share of rejections (e.g., he was turned down the first time he applied for promotion and tenure and once was the only candidate for a position, which he later found was given to someone else who did not apply). However, Sam is realistic in recognizing that there are multiple factors that influence decisions and that life is unfair at times. Thus, he has stayed focused on what is happening around him at the moment and what he can do, or should do, about it. He believes that if one is aware and reacts positively to one's environment, one can usually make a difference in the world, or at least in oneself.

Part of the difference Sam has made in the world has come from trips he has made with others for altruistic purposes. For instance, he took a group of Wake Forest undergraduates to work with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, India, for 3 weeks. As he puts it (paraphrasing Mother Teresa), "they were all drops of water in a vast ocean of poverty" (S. Gladding, personal communication, January, 24, 1996). His descriptions of washing feces off men too sick to move, cleaning their clothes, and shaving their heads exemplifies his compassion and willingness to help others through concrete and more abstract means. Sam created another difference when he initiated and led multiple groups of Wake Forest graduate students to study in Vienna, Austria, where students met with Viktor Frankl's second wife, Eleonore Schwindt, and Alexander Vesely, Frankl's grandson. Students also visited one of the Nazi concentration camps where Frankl was held. Through these unique experiences, logotherapy became more than just another counseling theory to students. Yet a third mindful and mattering experience came when Sam coled a group of 66 helping professionals to South Africa. The group studied the postapartheid country, but through Sam's urging, the group took up a collection to help an impoverished school near Johannesburg, South Africa. This generous act allowed this group of helping professionals to become more than tourists.

In his daily interactions, Sam is mindful of the activities to which he commits his time. He realizes that although he has a wide range of interests, he can excel only in one or two if he is to maintain time for friends and family. Sam chooses to focus on writing and professional leadership and dedicates himself to perfecting these abilities as much as possible. Sam elects not to read much fiction because he finds fiction to be less interesting than reality, not as personally enjoyable, and less likely to add ideas to his mind. There are some activities to which Sam declines invitations: those that he simply does not enjoy because they are energy draining and especially demanding or those that take him away from other reading and research. Sam succeeds in contributing in significant and meaningful ways; it is perhaps his mindfulness on participating in activities that matter that significantly contributed to his success and to the success of others who have become similarly prominent in counseling.

Deliberateness and Persistence

Sam has been deliberate and persistent about living his life. Sam divides his day into compartments and is always asking himself, "What time is it?" Sam views each time of day as a different season with a corresponding role and activity. For instance, in Sam's day, there is a season of writing, a season of responding, a season of teaching, a season of e-mails, and a season of talking with students. Seldom do these seasons spill into one another. These firm mental boundaries enable Sam to focus entirely on the present moment and on those with whom he is sharing it. His motto and emphasis has been "family first," whether it is his family of origin or his family of procreation. Sam has illustrated putting his family first through his work with his wife, Claire, to raise their three children by leaving work at a regular hour, so that he could be home and spend time reading books to his children, playing with them, or talking with his wife. Sam has also been a youth soccer coach, scout leader, and Sunday school teacher. Also, a part of this deliberate family time has been taking the family to athletic and artistic events at Wake Forest University and in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the children grew up. In addition, he has taken his family to Europe and to various parts of the United States. When working as a mental health volunteer after 9/11 in New York City, Sam deliberately ensured that his family knew where he was and what he was doing there.

Sam has been deliberate and persistent in his writing. He believes that words that are captured on paper can make a personal and professional difference. Thus, he has tried to set aside time every day to write at least a few sentences without focusing on how these words initially fit together. Sam likens his daily writing time to creating a quilt, where each piece is cut individually but may later be sewn together to unveil a coherent final product, which, in Sam's case, is frequently books and articles. Sam focuses on letting the research speak for itself, a lesson he learned while in Divinity School at Yale. Sam disregards preconceived notions of what a book or article will look like when finished, preferring to grow with the text. Sam does not outline materials ahead of time, but rather uses a parallel structure process in the writing he develops, especially book chapters. He has had to be flexible in reserving time to write by making careful choices and using time deliberately. Sam never tries to write more than a couple of hours at a time, even when his schedule would permit, recognizing that after a few hours, time is wasted. Many of those sentences, poems, and pithy statements have become a part of the legend of Sam. Few have listened to a presentation, attended his class, or had any prolonged conversations with Sam and do not remember some quip that captured a meaning in an exceptional way. For example, Sam compares his writing time to football or basketball rather than baseball; he must "score" within a limited amount of time or the game (i.e., the opportunity) is over. Sam bases his writing and speaking in deliberate and persistent habits, and all of us have been enriched.

Sam points to the "Rule of 10" as a factor in achieving on a professional level and in some personal matters. Excluding proteges, most people do not achieve much in their careers until they have been in their chosen field for at least 10 years (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Sam's first book, which I referred to earlier, was published 11 years after he earned his doctorate and took 3 years to write. He struggled to get the text in print. It was turned down by leading publishers, and Sam was told that no one could write the book he had proposed. That proposal of rejections is now in its seventh edition.

Sam's other books have required between 18 months to 3 years to write. His revisions take less time but still require significant effort. All the articles he has penned have been revised many times. He does not give up on publishing pieces that he thinks have validity. Sam has said that he keeps a pencil and pad by his bedside so that if he wakes up with a creative or prosaic thought that seems interesting or important, he can get up and write it down. Sam reminds us that becoming a writer or a counselor is not easy or quick; it requires reading, reflection, and dedication in addition to the perspiration, patience, and organization inherent in any large task. Sam never excelled in his early writing endeavors. In both high school and college, Sam wrote for the campus newspaper; edited a section of the yearbook; and wrote short, humorous pieces for the student magazines. He was considered solid but was a slow reader and a poor speller. Sam says that he learned a lot about writing, including punctuation and style, by jumping in and committing time to doing it even during his formative years. This preparation through experience has been a key to Sam's professional writing endeavors. He has learned that looking for the exact word or example sometimes takes time in writing and that time is crucial in relationships as well. Sam's lessons in writing and relationships may help aspiring authors and counselors revise any expectations they may harbor for instant fame or fortune.

Identity and Planfulness

One unique aspect about Sam is that he believes that history and those who have preceded us are important. On a professional level, he researches the lives of theorists and practitioners and the records of who they were as professionals and individuals. He readily acknowledges that he has had a ghost on his shoulders that is inescapable but important. It is his maternal grandfather, Samuel Templeman, a Baptist minister in the South and for whom he was named. Reverend Templeman graduated from the University of Richmond before going north to further his education at Colgate Rochester Divinity School (now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School) and Columbia University in a time when there was still tension between the North and South following the Civil War. Sam describes his grandfather as progressive, open-minded, and heroic, having once stopped a lynching. His grandfather died 6 months before Sam was born, but Sam's grandmother provided "almost daily stories" about the inspirational man whose name Sam carries, and that awareness has never left him.

Sam describes another part of his identity as a result of his parents, who were raised just before the Great Depression and had their family after 9 years in the midst of World War II. Sam's father grew up on a farm on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and his mother was from Richmond, Virginia. They married, worked hard at their jobs, and raised three children. Sam describes both parents as talented: his mom at sewing, cooking, and repairing; his dad at gardening, organizing, and math. Sam notes that his father was social and easygoing, but with high standards. He told lots of stories and was very accepting of others regardless of who they were--traits Sam clearly emulates. Sam's parents had a profound influence on his work habits, talents, and easy way with people. Put poetically, Sam once wrote,

   I am the son of a fourth-grade teacher
      and a man who excelled in business,
         a descendant of Virginia farmers
            and open-minded Baptists,
   the husband of a Connecticut woman,
      the father of hazel-eyed children.

   Youngest of three, I am a trinity:
      counselor, teacher, writer. (Gladding, 1993, p. 201)

An objective look at Sam and other adult counselors who develop into prominent professionals includes planfulness as well as identity. Sam started early in being intentional with his life choices. For example, when he was an eighth grader, he used his older sister's yearbook to plan his high school extracurricular activities. (He achieved all that he planned and more except for his goal of making the basketball team). Sam makes plans and follows through with them, from small details, such as leaving the office on time each day, to broad ideas, such as finding his first position as a counselor educator.

Even as methodical as he has been, Sam has not always been successful, at least not initially. For instance, Sam wanted to be a journal editor, but it took him three tries before he became one. Sam believes that if one is planful, more can be achieved than by drifting or giving up. Along the way, serendipity may happen as well, for example, meeting someone who changes one's life for the better, like Sam's encounters with David Kaplan. Certainly, by being measured in all he does, Sam has been able to dedicate himself to the important aspects of counseling as he sees them, such as becoming involved in the 20/20 project with David that has focused on the future of counseling (Kaplan & Gladding, 2011). Therefore, Sam has achieved his stature in the counseling profession through his awareness of his own history and by his careful approach to all that he accomplishes.

Humor and Optimism

Even as a young person, Sam let his humor, optimism, and easygoing disposition guide him. As a football manager in high school, he once humorously introduced the other four managers to his high school assembly as if they were football players, citing their height, weight, and skill set (such as "Matt is good with a screwdriver when there is a desperate need to fix a helmet and the team is first and 10 on the 40-yard line"). According to Sam, humor has kept him focused and relaxed during his life by helping him deflect cruel or unfair comments. Humor has enabled Sam not to be distracted by what others do or say, even if it is detrimental. Sam's classes and presentations at conferences are filled with humor, which often appears in the form of song lyrics or stories because Sam believes that people remember information better if it has some humor attached to it. He is a natural at lightening moods and enlivening groups with his succinct, funny observations. Our students sometimes interrupt faculty meetings because it sounds like we are having too much fun.

Sam also loves levity because he thinks that it is not just amusing but truthful. For example, when he was working on his doctorate, people would ask his father what Sam was going to be when he finished. His dad without hesitation would quip, "Old!" Sam picked up the response and used it as well. Likewise, after studying at Yale Divinity School to become a minister and realizing with amusement that he was "not meant to be a divine," his mentor at Wake Forest University, Tom Elmore, suggested that he try counseling. He meant that Sam should go to a career counselor. Sam thought the advice meant he should enter a counseling program, which he did. He still laughs at the thought of what might have happened had he not misinterpreted this guidance.

To say that Sam is optimistic as well as humorous is to state the obvious. He believes that where there is a pile of manure, there is a pony. That optimism has paid rich dividends over the years. For instance, after a broken engagement and struggling through the depression it brought, he penned a poem titled "Without Applause" that was focused on an optimistic future. The poem, later published in The Personnel and Guidance Journal, reads as follows:

   At thirty-five,
      with wife and child
         a PhD
            and hopes
               as bright as a full moon
                  on a warm August night,
   He took his role as a healing man,
      blending it with imagination,
         necessary change,
            and common sense,
   To make more than an image on an eye-lens
      of a small figure running quickly up steps;
      he traveled like one who holds a candle to darkness
         and questions its power,
   So that with heavy years,
      long walks,
         shared love,
            and additional births,
   He became as the seasoned actor
      who, forgetting his lines in the silence,
         stepped upstage,
            and without prompting
               lived them. (Gladding, 1974, p. 586)

Twelve years after the poem was written, Sam married. Seventeen years after the poem was written, he and his wife, Claire, were the parents of three children, and Sam had become well known in the field of counseling. Sam spreads humor and optimism wherever he goes.


Sam probably is more conscientious of being grateful for his good fortune than many people, and this may serve as a developmental trademark of exemplary counselors. Part of his gratitude comes from Sam's religious upbringing and tradition that regard life as a gift. Sam also realizes that at 5'2" and 115 pounds he does not live up to the American male ideal of being "tall, dark, and handsome." Thus, he is grateful that he could become a pretty good tennis player and swimmer (earning six varsity letters in these two sports in high school) and that after years of searching, he found Claire when he was 40 years old and she was 35 years old. Another source of gratitude is that the couple was able to have three healthy, vibrant children when they were not sure they would be able to have any at all.

Sam's appreciation extends to his childhood experiences of discipline and high expectations mixed with kindness and concern without accepting excuses. He believes that his youth prepared him for an unrelenting effort in every part of his life. For example, Sam's first publication in a counseling journal was a poem he wrote because he thought it conveyed more than the clinical notes he was writing in a rural mental health center. He submitted it to what is now JCD (then The Personnel and Guidance Journal) because he was a member of the American Personnel and Guidance Association (now ACA) and he noted that they were accepting poems. Once the poem was accepted by Leo Goldman, a noted researcher and the editor of the journal, Sam was hooked on writing. He started writing more prosaic manuscripts in addition to poetry while striving to become a counselor educator and was grateful to be able to make the transition. He considers himself fortunate to have come along at a time when his talents and inclinations matched those of the counseling periodicals of the day. He is also grateful that he was able to make the transition from being a poet to being a writer of prose.

Finally, Sam is appreciative for the counseling positions he has had, especially at Fairfield University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Wake Forest University. They have not pigeonholed him, but rather have allowed him to write whatever he wishes. Sam extends the providential aspects of his life to the colleagues he has had as well. They have been sources of inspiration and good friends. Sam's gratitude encompasses the fact that his physical and mental health and stamina have been good. He appreciates and celebrates the gifts of his life.

* Conclusion

Development is a key tenet in counseling, and how it happens, especially in adulthood, is not nearly as well explored as it might be. It seems that those who are good at one age may grow into excellence as time passes. This observation reminds one not to try to predict the future of young adult counselors, but to encourage their development. Sam has a Jewish proverb he is fond of quoting when asked about the unexpected, such as events in his life: "People plan. God laughs." Life is funny and fulfilling in this way, and owning values, staying balanced, and appreciating good humor make maturation equally enjoyable and meaningful. In studying the life of a prominent counselor, such as Samuel T. Gladding and those like him, we see themes that underlie this type of adult growth, such as mindfulness and mattering, deliberateness and persistence, identity and planfulness, humor and optimism, and gratitude. In such an examination, we can also find another emphasis of the counseling profession: wellness.

Sam's life exemplifies the road to what Erikson (1982) identified as the ultimate challenge in life, reaching integrity. Sam's choices reflect a model of selection, optimization, and compensation (Salvatore & Sastre, 2001) across his developing years. However, he is more than examples of developmental constructs. The mature Sam Gladding epitomizes balance, service, and achievement. It is interesting to compare the younger professional with the older professional. In making this comparison, one can say that, in his youth, Sam was constantly exposed to the idea that the good life, as the Greeks emphasized, was one of balance and the good life, as significant people reminded him, was one of service. The former adage made him aware of the importance of not becoming overinvolved in the work aspect of his life. The latter reminder caused him to think of others before himself, but not to neglect himself. Achievement was a by-product of balance, and serving others was the substance of staying focused on people instead of products. He has found his passion and purpose in a profession for which he is the perfect fit. In the process, Sam has stayed focused on family, colleagues, and friends, while substantially contributing to the counseling profession through his writings and his leadership.

Although he enjoys writing, he does not live to write. Although he delights in being an officer of an association, he does not actively or selfishly seek out those opportunities. Although he loves speaking, he is very comfortable with silence. He loves his wife, Claire, and their three sons, who are all in their early 20s; he realizes that the roles of husband and father change over time and he must change with the times, maintaining his poise, energy, and ability to engage the larger world in which we all live.

As for the future and his legacy, Sam, like others who truly develop in life as adults, is not concerned. As he has put it in a poetic way,

   At dusk I ponder the journey's end
      and in the spirit of transformation
   I quietly launch forth frail ideas
      into waters filled with hope and turmoil
   Conscious I may never see
      their final forms or substance
         yet knowing inside, peacefully,
            that others will keep the best on course.
   (Gladding, 1992, p. 121)

Received 03/02/12

Revised 06/20/12

Accepted 06/28/12

DOI: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.2013.00102.x

* References

Boring, E. G. (Ed.). (1961). History of psychology in autobiography. New York, NY: Irvington Publications.

Campbell, L. (1996). Samuel T. Gladding: A sense of self in the group. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 21, 69-80.

Conyne, R. K., & Bemak, F. (Eds.). (2005). Journeys to professional excellence: Lessons from leading counselor educators and practitioners. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity. New York, NY: Harper.

Erikson, E. H. (1982). The life cycle completed: A review. New York, NY: Norton.

Gladding, S. T. (1974). Without applause. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 52, 586.

Gladding, S. T. (1975a). Autumn storm. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 54, 149.

Gladding, S. T. (1975b). Here and now. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 53, 746.

Gladding, S. T. (1988). Counseling: A comprehensive profession. Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Gladding, S. T. (1992). Counseling as an art: The creative arts in counseling. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Gladding, S. T. (1993). Family therapy: History, theory, and practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Gladding, S. T. (2010). Becoming a counselor: The light, the bright, and the serious. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Haight, M. G., & Shaughnessy, M. F. (2006). An interview with Samuel T. Gladding: Thoughts on becoming a counselor. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84, 114-119.

Heppner, P. P. (Ed.). (1990). Pioneers in counseling & development: Personal and professional perspectives. Alexandria, VA: American Association for Counseling and Development.

Kaplan, D. K., & Gladding, S. T. (2011). A vision for the future of counseling: The 20/20 principles for unifying and strengthening the profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89, 367-372.

Rosenthal, H. (2002). Samuel T. Gladding on creativity. Journal of Clinical Activities, Assignments & Handouts in Psychotherapy Practice, 2, 23-33.

Salvatore, N., & Sastre, M. T. M. (2001). Appraisal of life: "Area" versus "dimension" conceptualizations. Social Indicators Research, 53, 229-240.

West, J. D., Osborn, C. J., & Bubenzer, D. L. (Eds.). (2003). Leaders and legacies: Contributions to the profession of counseling. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.

Donna A. Henderson and Bethany F. Montplaisir, Department of Counseling, Wake Forest University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Donna A. Henderson, Department of Counseling, Wake Forest University, Box 7406, A115 Tribble Hall, Winston-Salem, NC 27109 (e-mail:

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.