Prior to entering the field, Dr. Francis Kaklauskas busted it in a variety of interesting jobs from being childhood carny in his parents’ hustles on the Jersey Shore, through selling shoes, moving pianos, delivering pizzas, bell hopping, performing as a C-list Jazz bassist, and a driving for United Parcel Service in Philadelphia. Since entering the field, the spirit of trying everything and loving variety continued, and he has worked almost every position in mental health field from overnight staff in psychiatric residencies and emergency rooms to leading several graduate training programs in areas including Existentialism / Humanism (Saybrook University), Comparative Psychodynamic and Multicultural Approaches (University of Colorado), and Buddhist and Mindfulness psychology (Naropa University). He has served in leadership on many professional organizations. as well as co-founding other organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association and University Professor Press that focus on creating humane, just, and inclusive mental health treatment and advocacy.
His clinical roles and experiences include community mental health as adult and child therapist: forensic assessment and treatment psychologist, leading an intensive pilot HUD funded program for the underserved; clinical director of a dual diagnosis residential recovery program, and currently private practice. His professional focus has been in group psychotherapy, and he has conducted 5 to 8 psychotherapy groups a week for the past 30 years across. He enjoys academic collaborations and has published extensively including 9 co-edited books, over 50 co-authored chapters and articles on topics that include cross-cultural psychology and the pragmatic application of contemporary theory and research. Currently, he serves as president of The Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy of the American Psychological Association.
In his free time, he prioritizes connecting with his friends, family, and his various communities. He enjoys continuing to perform as a C-list R&B bassist, working as a Chess 2nd for his teenager, trying to understand world philosophies, hiking his two big poodle mixes, pretending to be a chef, and fixing anything that breaks. He continues to hope that eventually his mediation practice will not only provide benefits to his clinical work and relationships, but may feel easier and even enjoyable at moments.
This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.
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