Dr. Michelle J. Cox has a PhD in human development and family sciences, with doctoral minors in counseling and gerontology from Oregon State University. She earned an MA in counseling from George Fox University. Her doctoral research, on the topic of transcendence, focused on leisure, physical health behaviors and volunteer activities as predictors of mental health in older adults – including those with dementias. Dr. Cox is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Oregon, a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), and holds professional memberships with the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Oregon Counseling Association (ORCA).
A two-sport athlete during her undergraduate education at Western Oregon University, Dr. Cox was always intrigued by the demands on scholar athletes. She worked with this population as a counselor and later as the director of student health and counseling at her alma mater, while developing a practice specialty with athletes and those in high-performance professions who demonstrated eating disordered behaviors.
Her academic training, population of interest (high-performance professionals), and her personal life collided when her husband, a former football player and avid motorcyclist, was diagnosed at age 48 with young-onset dementia. Dr. Cox then focused her research on learning about secondary dementias (those caused by illness and injury). When faced with the recognition that several concussions were likely the cause of her husband’s illness, Dr. Cox became an advocate for early clinical assessment for dementia in clients who report closed head injuries. She explains, “Early detection of dementia-related symptoms means early treatment, which can extend the brain’s plasticity and allow for mental health treatment to prepare clients and their families to manage the disease.”
An ordained pastor, Dr. Cox studies spiritual integration in clinical mental health counseling and has presented on this topic at the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS), APA, ACA and ORCA conferences. She published The Spiritual Integration Toolbox in the July 2013 edition of Counseling Today. Dr. Cox’s other publications include the chapter, Jungian Theory and Therapy, in The Quick Theory Reference Guide (Jordan, 2007).
Message to new students:
Hi all. I accepted each of you to this program because I believe you will make this world a better place. You also bring unique qualities and experiences that will enhance others’ learning. I commit to helping you succeed in the program. I take our calling to Clinical Mental Health Counseling seriously because I know how people are impacted by the quality of our work. Counseling is a meaningful and demanding profession that, when managed well, offers rewards I have never found in other professions.
I want all of my students to make me obsolete. I feel successful when I see students I once taught leading organizations, serving their clients and profession, and becoming passionate about healing others. If you speak with me about mental health, you will see that all business side come out.
Some people might call me witty, but that is just a polite way of saying I am naturally sarcastic. I have lots of quirky and surprising interests. I collect Chucks (for you youngsters, those are old-school Converse tennis shoes). I have 19 pair in different colors and I am constantly on the hunt for unique pairs. I am one of the best welders you will ever meet, and am known to all my children and their friends as “the cool mom.” Our house has always been the gathering place. Our children are all adults now, with partners and large social circles so it can get hectic at home. My Italian grandmother would be proud. I recently bought a new home that included a pool table so I may have to start charging rent soon. The best thing about my life, without question, is our new granddaughter. My heart smiles just from thinking about her so if you ever think I am grumpy, ask me about Fallon and I will light up!
- The Spiritual Integration Toolbox - Counseling Today July 2013
- Jungian Theory and Therapy - The Quick Theory Reference Guide (Jordan, 2007)