Simpson University Counseling Students Visit Preeminent Psychotherapist

For Immediate Release


Simpson Univeristy MACP students visit Dr. Irvin YalomREDDING, Calif. - Simpson University counseling psychology students recently visited Dr. Irvin Yalom, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford University, in his home in Palo Alto.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) cohort traveled to the Bay Area on July 14 for a private session with Dr. Yalom, who, for decades, has been considered the preeminent authority on existential psychotherapy and group psychotherapy.

Yalom has written numerous books, including his texts on “The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy” and “Existential Psychotherapy.” His novels include such best-sellers as “Love’s Executioner,” “Momma and the Meaning of Life,” “The Schopenhauer Cure,” “When Nietzsche Wept,” and many other books on therapy.

Simpson’s MACP students read his book “The Gift of Therapy” during the practicum section of their program, said Dr. Reg Watson, professor and clinical training director of the MACP program.

Dr. Yalom focuses on four primary existential concerns that manifest in human struggles: death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness. His work shows how psychotherapy can help in treating the conflicts that arise from these concerns.

“He has long been a hero of mine,” said Dr. Watson, who emailed the 86-year-old Dr. Yalom to ask about arranging a field trip for seven students and three faculty members. The group met with Dr. Yalom for an hour, asking questions based on his books. Topics discussed included whether to use humor in therapy, therapist self-disclosure, cultivating the therapeutic relationship, and an example of how to “micro-dissect” the session with a client.

“He answered very authentically. He embodies the therapeutic principles he describes in his books,” Dr. Watson said. “It was wonderful. He was very gracious. He signed our books and let us take pictures.”

In addition to Dr. Watson, Dr. Addie Jackson, dean of the School of Adult and Graduate Professional Studies, and Dr. Ashley Brimager, chair of the undergraduate psychology department, were part of the group. Students included Eydgerd Nattestad, Robert Crowder, Camille Coulter, Sher Yang, Christopher Koller, Nicole Goens, Kelli Schoon, and Carlton Arias.

Dr. Yalom responded to a thank-you email from Dr. Watson: “It was a pleasure meeting with such interesting and inquiring students.”

Simpson University’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology program began in January 2010. The program is designed to prepare students for licensure in California as marriage and family therapists or licensed professional clinical counselors. Learn more at



Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


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