New Member Spotlight: Mid-continent Region - Brad Hinman, PhD, LPC, LLMFT, NCC
New AASECT member, Brad Hinman, PhD, LPC, LLMFT, NCC, answers a few questions for the New Member Spotlight: Mid-continent Region:
1. Can you give us a quick rundown of what keeps you busiest these days?
I am a full time, tenure track professor at Andrews University teaching a full load of graduate level counseling classes.I am also currently analyzing the data for a qualitative research project on the intersection of spirituality and sexuality among gay men who were raised in a Christian religion. I also own a private counseling practice where I specialize in sexual addictions, specifically pornography addiction, where I do individual, couples’ and group counseling for clients. I have been married for nearly 30 years to my wonderful wife, and I have two grown sons (one of whom announced his engagement today!), three dogs, and two cats, but I really feel like I should be doing more. ;-)
2. Why was it important for you to become an AASECT member?
It is important for me to become a member because that is who I am and what I do. I absolutely LOVE talking to people about sex, teaching students and clients how to negotiate for sex, how to refuse sex, how to ask for sex, how to tell people what feels good, and what doesn’t feel good, and how to resist societal stereotypes about sexual expression. I am especially interested in men’s issues when it comes to sex and sexuality, specifically with the messages men believe, receive and give surrounding sex, including perpetuating the rape culture. I am beginning the University of Michigan’s Sex Therapy Sexual Health Certificate program in a matter of weeks. I have a PhD, but I love learning and this will be helpful in my practice and in my teaching.
3. What are your main areas of interest within the field?
My main interest is in educating clients, students, and society that sex is a choice; that is a deeply personal and relational act that can be negotiated, but should not be forced. I believe there are more misconceptions about sex than there are accurate messages given and received about sex in Midwestern American society. I love professional conferences, I am addicted to presenting, and I love talking about deep, controversial topics that not enough people are willing to discuss. We need to give more head space in this society for discussions about sex and I am happy to provide the forum for people to get their questions answered.
4. What has been the most exciting project you've worked on, and why?
The most exciting project that I have worked on would have to be my current project interviewing men who identify as gay and letting them tell their story about how that has impacted their spirituality and how their spirituality has impacted their sexuality. Their stories were so powerful, full of emotion, and riddled with pain and betrayal. It amazed me how just providing the forum and a listening ear (and recording device) allowed them the safe place in which to share a deeply personal and often hidden part of their lives. People just want to be happy and to be allowed to love.
5. What has been the most challenging project you've worked on, and why? What helped you get through it?
The most challenging project that I have worked on had to be developing the curriculum for my pornography addiction recovery groups for men. There isn’t a lot of good material out there to help men really shake this addiction permanently. This is such a deeply engrained addiction, often rooted in trauma, lack of self-worth, lack of affirmation, and an inability to self-soothe that the therapist has to be very careful not to trigger clients to use, but yet hold them sufficiently accountable and responsible to initiate change so that they recover. What helped me get through the difficulty was that I knew there were many men who needed recovery so badly. Hurting people deserve to feel better.
6. Where do you see your career five years, or even 10 years, from now?
Hopefully in five years I will be tenured, but hopefully my jobs will look very much like they do now. I absolutely love what I am doing by teaching full time and counseling in my practice part time (~15 clients per week). It gives me good variety, keeps me from getting bored, and I absolutely love helping people make better decisions and achieve their goals. In ten years I would love to have expanded my practice, having trained other therapists to work with pornography and other sexual addictions, to work together to bring greater healing to my community, and, through the use of distance counseling, other parts of the United States.
7. Is there anything else you would like to share with colleagues?
Check out my website:www.hinmancounselingservices.com and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hinman-Counseling-Services-102620639859952/ And, as I type this, southwest Michigan is in the middle of getting 12 inches of snow, come visit!