Les Cole is a licensed professional counselor and certified professional counselor supervisor credentialed in Georgia. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Les attributes his intense curiosity in human beings to his time spent in Vietnam. After being discharged, he enrolled at Texas Tech University and began his academic exploration of the human experience through the lenses of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy.
“Since that time [at Texas Tech], I have danced with those perspectives my entire adult life while I have sought to orchestrate these disparate ‘voices’ into a harmonious whole – a project still under construction,” Les says.
After earning his bachelor’s, Les went on to earn a Master’s of Divinity in Theology and Pastoral Care from Phillips University and Doctorate from Columbia Theological Seminary in Collaboration with Emory University at the Candler School of Theology in Psychology and Spirituality.
Les’ career has focused on working with adolescents and their families in myriad settings including juvenile courts, family and children’s services, and school systems, in addition to adolescent residential facilities, private practice, and community-based agencies.
“While I have worked across the lifespan with clients, adolescents and their family has been my real focus,” Les details. “In all honesty, I cannot say that I ‘chose’ this population, more like it ‘chose’ me. I have deeply enjoyed this population as it provides for the broadest range of engagements.”
As a supervisor, Les has provided intensive supervision for over 400 licensure candidates in his career. An impressive number and indicative of his passion for and dedication to shepherding new talent into the field.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Les’ number one value in supervision is the act and practice of “becoming more ‘human,’” followed by number two, which is the development of a relational space that encourages becoming more human. And thirdly, he prioritizes the concept of interdependence.
In order to help new therapists become more aware of counter-transference or self-of-the-therapist issues, Les takes an attitude of non-judgmental acceptance.
“Supervision is where we practice ‘use of self,’ or otherwise stated, ‘I am all I have to work with,’” he shares. “We recognize, recruit and embrace counter-transference as a foundational component of the supervisory process and it parallels the process of the session. It is the dance of two human beings showing up in the same space, aware of one’s self, aware of the mirroring of selves, aware of the thoughts, recollections and emotions engendered and sharing these observations as a joint experience.”
Les’ intentionality and dedication to growth has come, in part, from the many, many influences throughout his professional development.
“My early training focused on psychodynamic, self-psychology, structural-strategic family and objection relations theories. These are the foundational components of my integrative approach and have proven to be invaluable. They all point to the essential inter- and intra-personal dynamics that determine and fuel our experiences. These theories have provided the very springboard for the emergent trends like DBT/CBT/Trauma. What resonates most is how all those theories point to how wonderfully dynamic and overdetermined humans are,” Les says.
As a seasoned clinician in the field, Les has evolved not only in theoretical and relational ways, but in modality as well, embracing technology and tele-health innovations. Les became involved with Motivo after he met Rachel McCrickard, “owner and founder genius,” as she was implementing what he dubs a “profession-changing service.”
“Rachel and her team have completely disrupted the supervisory space by creating a mechanism through which aspiring clinicians can have access to the best supervisors in the country at an affordable price,” he says. “Motivo is the gold standard for online supervision.”
To learn more about Les’ career, check out his LinkedIn.
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