Joe Hawkins, CCTP
Mental Health Counseling Student Intern
Here at Gilstrap & Associates, we delight in featuring counselors from our Orlando office that have gone above and beyond, shown exceptional care and proven why they deserve this honor. We hope to give you an insight into their personal and professional lives by asking them a few quick questions, so you can see just why we're so proud of them.
Tell us a little about your education and professional counseling experience.
I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Ministerial Leadership and will complete my Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University this December. I had the pleasure of counseling at Northland Church for about six months prior to joining the team at Gilstrap & Associates earlier this year. I have also undergone several trainings focused on working with trauma and couple’s counseling and have been certified as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.
Why did you decide to become a counselor?
My journey to becoming a counselor was, like many, born out of my own struggles. I spent a significant portion of my life struggling deeply with depression and anxiety and was able to experience the joy of finding freedom and growth through my pain, largely with the help of my own counseling. My personal experiences built a passion inside of me, and I came to a place where I realized there was nothing I would rather do than enter into the pain with others and walk with them as they find their own freedom and joy.
What would you consider your specialties in counseling?
I love working with all people, as I genuinely believe it is an honor and joy to walk alongside the uniquely beautiful stories of my clients, but I would say my specialties are working with adolescents and adults struggling with depression, anxiety, addictions, sexuality, and relationship problems.
What, in your opinion, are the benefits of counseling?
I believe counseling provides a unique place for us to come at any point, not just when we are struggling, where we can explore whatever is going on inside of us and, ultimately, work towards experiencing more joy and freedom in our lives. It provides the benefit of someone who has training and experience in working through the difficult areas in our lives that often go unnoticed or do not get the attention they deserve and, I believe, wind up holding us back from experiencing so much of the beauty and joy of life.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not counseling?
Two of my biggest passions are food and music! I love to cook and/or eat just about anything I can get my hands on, and I love trying all the quirky, hole-in-the-wall eateries around Orlando. I have also played a few instruments and written music for much of my life. I love to play small gigs when I have time and attend concerts whenever I can! I am also an extremely curious person and love to read and learn about anything I find interesting (which is most things), especially psychology and theology. My wife often finds me listening to or watching lectures and podcasts when I should be sleeping!