Dr. Misty Ginicola
Dr. Misty Ginicola is a Professor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in the Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) department at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Dr. Ginicola is also a Training and Evaluation Associate for the Mutt-i-grees Social and Emotional Skills Curriculum at North Shore Animal League America and the School of the 21st Century in the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Connecticut and operates a private practice called Walk in Balance Counseling. Dr. Ginicola is also part of a registered Animal Assisted Therapy Team through Pet Partners. Dr. Ginicola also is a Level 2 Breath Body Mind Teacher, as well as a certified and registered Yoga Teacher and teaches yoga regularly.
Dr. Ginicola earned a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Exceptional Children at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. She earned a M.A. Degree in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz, where she received training on counseling psychology. She received two additional Masters Degrees (M.S., M.Ph.) from Yale University and graduated with a Ph.D. from Yale in 2006. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at The School of the 21st Century further focusing on school mental health, education program evaluations, as well as a state-wide initiative in Arkansas designed to improve children's academics and social and emotional skills.
Before joining the faculty at SCSU in fall of 2006, Dr. Ginicola worked extensively in the fields of research, clinical psychology and education. Since 1998, she has been involved in multiple research projects involving animal studies, clinical research, development and social psychology, and developmental disabilities. Throughout her career she has been passionate about not only performing research, but teaching research to others. In addition to research, Dr. Ginicola worked over 10 years in the field of developmental disabilities and mental health. She was trained by the State of New York on Positive Approaches to Behavioral Problems, as well as Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention. In graduate school, Dr. Ginicola worked with Edward Zigler and Matia Finn-Stevenson on school reform programs, program evaluation research, and interventions designed to improve the whole-child.
Dr. Ginicola has continued to work with the Mutt-i-grees® program through North Shore Animal League and the School of the 21st Century at Yale University. She has conducted program evaluations and worked as a Trainer for new and interested programs. The evaluation of Mutt-i-grees included a control and a comparison group study of over 1,900 children. You can see her on CNN discussing this program here.
Dr. Ginicola is of Celtic and Cherokee ancestry and identifies as two-spirited and bisexual. Her personal experiences and professional interests have developed into specific research interests and social justice advocacy in the areas of working with diverse clients and teaching multicultural competence, creative counseling strategies (including phototherapy and yoga), and counseling for the LGBTQ+ population. Her previous and ongoing research studies address the broad definition of multicultural issues, including culture, ethnicity, disability, women’s issues, affectional and gender orientation, among others. Among her numerous publications on these issues, Dr. Ginicola recently published a book called Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People through the American Counseling Association.
Within the Connecticut Counseling Association, Dr. Ginicola serves as the Chair of the Special Interest Group CT-ALGBTIC, Chair of the MCD Committee, and a Past President of CACES. Dr. Ginicola has served on national task forces for American Counseling Association’s division Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC) and is currently an editorial review board member for Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling. She is currently the President Elect of ALGBTIC.
Dr. Ginicola also operates a private practice called Walk in Balance Counseling in West Haven, Connecticut. She specializes in LGBTQI+ clients, people with sensory processing sensitivity (highly sensitive people), and creative counseling techniques. The name of her practice has a specific meaning attached to her cultural identity of Cherokee Native American. From, a Native saying, walking in balance means that we are most happy and fulfilled when we have many components to our life, all comfortably fitting together. Working, learning, friendships, partners, leisure, spirituality – all components of our life that we choose to include – should be balanced. The idea of feeling balanced also has to do with her approach. She works with each client on a holistic level, to ensure that physically, emotionally, psychologically, cognitively and spiritually (if desired), they feel fulfilled and living in a high quality of life. Secondly, she uses a person-centered existential approach to therapy, thereby helping the individual see and maintain the beauty in their life, which can help in times of stress and trauma. Misty is also a trained shaman who received formal initiation in 2009. She practices independently and identifies with Celtic and Native American medicine and spirituality. Although her shamanistic beliefs are deeply personal, she has found the utility of this framework within her teaching and counseling work, assisting many others on their spiritual journeys. She is also a certified and registered yoga teacher, which she also utilizes in her counseling practice.
Dr. Ginicola also regularly presents professional development training to schools and clinical mental health agencies on multicultural competence, social and emotional skills, and diagnosis. She has also served as an expert witness for multicultural counseling and assessment issues; she regularly consults on issues surrounding multicultural and developmental issues in children and families, as well as counseling strategies to meet the needs of minority clients.
Among Dr. Ginicola’s greatest blessings are her two children: Wilson and Willow. They have provided her with more education and purpose than all of her degrees combined.
Ginicola, M. M., Smith, C., & Filmore, J. (2017). Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Ginicola, M. M., & Kish, M. (2016). ACA Practice Brief: Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Ginicola, M. M., Smith, C., & Rhoades, E. (2016). Love Thy Neighbor: A Guide for Implementing Safe School Initiatives for LGBTQ Students in Non-Affirming Religious Communities. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling.10(3), 159-173. doi:10.1080/15538605.2016.1199992
Ginicola, M. M., & Kish, M. (2015). ACA Practice Brief: Peripartum and Postpartum Depression. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Ginicola, M. M. (2015). Couples. In T. Robert & V. Kelly (Eds.). Critical incidents in integrating spirituality into counseling, pp. 49-58. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Ginicola, M. M., Smith, C., & Trzaska, J. (2012). Counseling through Images: Using photography to guide the counseling process and achieve treatment goals. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 7(4), 310-329.
Ginicola, M. M., Smith, C., & Trzaska, J. (2012). Using photography in counseling: Images of healing. The International Journal of the Image, 2(2), 29-44.
Ginicola, M. M., & Smith, C. (2011). The church, the closet and the couch: The counselor’s role in assisting clients to integrate their sexual orientation and religious identity. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 5, 304-326.