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).
- The Spiritual Integration Toolbox - Counseling Today July 2013
- Jungian Theory and Therapy - The Quick Theory Reference Guide (Jordan, 2007)