Capella University graduate Jamie Marich, PhD, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, is committed to offering trauma recovery services as a clinical counselor, continuing education program instructor, and retreat leader.

Traveling the country, Dr. Marich provides instruction on a variety of clinical topics and is well-versed in the area of mental health, having written three books on the subject: Trauma Made Simple (2014),  Trauma and the Twelve Steps (2012), and EMDR Made Simple (2011).

In this interview, Dr. Marich shares her background, her expertise in trauma counseling, the role of her education at Capella (she received her PhD in Human Services in 2009), her recent TEDx talk, and what’s next in her career.


 Q. What is your background and how did you come to Capella?

A. I began my career in human services teaching English and working on other humanitarian aid projects in Bosnia-Hercegovina (after the war) from 2000-2003. My family is of Croatian background, hence my draw to that region after I finished my undergrad. It was there that I became interested in the impact of unhealed trauma on the human experience. Several mentors I met there (who also helped me with some of my own healing) encouraged me to do a master’s in counseling. I returned to the U.S. and finished my master’s in 2005.

After taking a year to work exclusively as a counselor, I began a PhD program in counselor education at a traditional brick-and-mortar institution and literally went running from the program after about 6 weeks. (No joke—I actually ran out of the building one Tuesday night realizing I did not belong there.) I found that the traditional confines of that program would not work for me because of their lack of flexibility about my desire to continue working. I also sensed a similar lack of flexibility in their views about human services in general. Interestingly, as I ran out of the building that night, I saw a poster about Capella hanging up on one of the bulletin boards. I went online that night to investigate, sent my application in the next day, and did not turn back.


Q. What influenced your decision to pursue a PhD in Human Services?

A. My desire to teach! Although I enjoyed (and still enjoy) my work as a counselor, I am an educator first and foremost. My initial impulse was to get a PhD so that I could pass the art of my field along to others in a college setting. Oddly enough, I haven’t chosen to become a full-time academic, as the doctoral degree and the confidence it has instilled in me has opened up so many more avenues.


Q. How has your education at Capella benefited your career?

A. Capella taught me how to think critically within the scholar-practitioner model that provided a framework for my career. The residency experiences taught me about the power of networking, and the PowerPoint presentations that I was asked to prepare as part of coursework really got me thinking about the potential for offering training. Although I’ve taught some college courses online, the thrust of my educational offerings come in the form of professional development and continuing education training, and Capella prepared me for that.

My dissertation dovetailed into two peer-reviewed articles published by American Psychological Association (APA) journals, and I have three published books to my credit since graduating. The analytical and writing skills that I obtained at Capella helped with this formation.


Q. What are the most important skills to have when working in the mental health field?

A. Empathy for the people you serve. Although knowing your stuff is important, if you do not approach your clients with empathy, you will fall flat. Also important is the ability to practice what you preach. If you are not taking care of yourself and your own issues, it will adversely impact your ability to help people.


Q. You recently delivered a TEDx talk on trauma. How did that opportunity came about?

A. My hometown (Youngstown, Ohio) began hosting a TEDx event in 2014. The organizing committee is passionate about recruiting speakers with some ties to the area, so I submitted an application to speak, and the lead curator enthusiastically invited me to participate in their second annual event. With the TEDx talk, I had the opportunity to educate about a difficult subject in a relatable way. I also did an interview with the West Coast Trauma Project about the process of preparing the TEDx talk. The whole experience warmed my heart.


Q. What’s next for you in your career?

A. My next book, Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing and Transformation, is coming out in the fall of 2015. Dancing Mindfulness is a community practice I created fusing my love of mindfulness, trauma-informed care, and creative practices. Training others to facilitate Dancing Mindfulness is the most fun part of my career, and I hope that opportunities to train in this area continue to grow. Whatever new audiences may present themselves to me as the years progress, I welcome the opportunity to share my learning with them.


Want to strengthen your ability to lead change and make a difference in your community? Learn more about Capella’s PhD in Human Services.