Bio: Zaber currently works as an advisor of workforce engagement for Press Ganey Associates LLC assisting clients with the singular focus of reducing patient suffering. Their belief is that safe, high-quality, patient-centered care on the foundation of a resilient and engaged workforce drives the patients’ experience within health care. He collaborates with leaders within hospitals and hospital systems to create and enhance strategies to drive their workforce engagement. In addition, he is the varsity head coach for boys’ soccer at Penn High School, serves on the board of Michiana Echo Soccer Club and volunteers with TOPS Soccer, an organization that creates a safe environment for athletes with physical or cognitive impairments to enjoy the sport of soccer. Prior to these roles he coached collegiately at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Ind., and served as an academy director for Michiana Echo. He is trained as a Coerver Coach through Coerver Indiana and served as an individual skills coach (technical soccer skills) and a mental skills coach. He and his wife have three sons, Keagan, Finlay “Finn”, and Declan, and live in Granger, Ind.
Why did you choose UWS?
Fortuitously, I saw an advertisement for UWS on the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) website. In researching the program and speaking with UWS representatives, I realized that UWS would support my goal of earning my doctorate, earning licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and earning certification through AASP as Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC). The online format allows me to continue working full-time as an advisor of workforce engagement and high school soccer coach, while simultaneously providing opportunities to apply directly the knowledge and skills learned in the UWS curriculum.
Why did you choose your program/concentration?
I believe the next evolution in the delivery of sport and performance psychology, especially at the more elite levels of the performance pyramid, will require training in clinical mental health counseling. The recent advocacy by professional athletes with regards to mental health highlights the importance and impact of mental health and mental well-being on one’s ability to perform at their optimal levels. The dual training in clinical counseling and performance psychology intervention, I believe, will have the greatest impact on my ability to deliver effective services for my clients. Whether an athlete, a student or a working professional, those seeking mental health services are taking a step to more optimally engage in their life.
What has been your favorite class/instructor?
At this point, I don’t know if I could say I have a current favorite. I will say that I have benefited from all my classes. At present, I believe Ethics and Personal Identity have really captured my attention. Reflecting on one’s personal values and morals, while working to understand how we effectively temper our personal beliefs through the ethical guidelines of our professional bodies (e.g. APA, ACA, AASP) has been a fascinating exercise. This has required serious self-reflection, review of current literature regarding ethical delivery of services and the opportunity to plan for service intervention.
What is your favorite part about the online format of the program?
As an extrovert, it has been working with and discussing topics with classmates from all over the world. The unique life experiences each classmate brings to the discussion is amazing and I find this collaboration helps me to better understand my views, challenge my views when appropriate and hopefully expand my knowledge base. I really enjoy learning my classmates’ perspectives and exchanging perspectives in a polite, professional manner.
What is your favorite way to relieve stress outside of the office and classroom?
I love watching soccer, especially Manchester United! I enjoy the banter from friends who do not share my passion for United and I enjoy giving banter back in equal measure. The atmosphere of world football (soccer) is such an energizing experience for me and offers a way to disconnect from the stressors for a bit. If it is not soccer, I enjoy reading and discussing articles or books with friends. The sharing of ideas, especially pertaining to youth sport and coaching, is a tremendous outlet for me.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I love positively impacting the lives of student-athletes. I believe successfully earning my LMHC and CMPC will allow me to work within a private practice or school setting, providing counseling and performance psychology consultation to student-athletes. My hope, within either setting, is to assist student-athletes in gaining the knowledge and skills to optimally manage sport-specific and life stressors. I intended to continue coaching at the high school as a boys’ soccer coach and hopefully, as I continue to improve and reflect upon my skills as a coach, guide my players toward successes on and off the field.