Adjunct Bulletin Adjunct Accolades By Robert A. Watts, MA, Associate Teaching Professor
Department of English and Philosophy
John G. Taylor, MACC, LPC, Adjunct Instructor, College of Nursing and Health Professions (pictured left), surely has one of the most interesting career paths for an instructor at Drexel. Before he began teaching in the Couple and Family Therapy Department, Taylor worked for six years as a guard at a maximum security prison in North Carolina.
On his first day as a prison guard, a fight broke out between inmates, and Taylor was responsible for helping contain the fleeing crowd of prisoners trying to escape the yard where the fight was occurring. He knew right then and there that being a prison guard was not going to be his career.
Taylor eventually left the prison guard position and became a probation and parole officer, also in North Carolina, and was assigned probationers that had abused their intimate partners. He would later work for six years as a facilitator for a batterers treatment program that conducted therapy groups for men who were in trouble with the law for domestic violence.
In time, Taylor developed an interest in counseling, and he obtained a master’s in Christian Counseling at Gordon -Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC
“With that program, I learned to integrate theology with psychology,” Taylor says. “For a lot of people their spirituality plays a huge part in things they do and don’t do. Being able to work that part with clients has been important.”
Taylor is currently a licensed therapist in Philadelphia, working with individuals, couples and families that are dealing with depression, anxiety, domestic violence, sexuality and many other issues.
Taylor has taught as an adjunct instructor at Drexel since 2010. He credits his opportunity to teach at Drexel to Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson who recommended him to Dr. Stephanie Brooks, the Department Chair. He teaches two courses in the Couple and Family Therapy Department: a class on Family Violence and a class on Addictions in the Family. His students are pursuing master’s degrees as Marriage and Family therapists.
“The students are compassionate and come to class eager and ready to learn,” Taylors says. One initiative Taylor is most proud of is the Domestic Violence rally they hold on the University City campus to draw attention to numerous women, children, and men who are impacted daily by domestic violence.
Taylor says one of his goals is to encourage students in critical thinking and problem solving. Given the likelihood that students in the program will eventually work with a diverse clientele in the Philadelphia area, Taylor wants the future therapists to become aware of the perspectives and biases they bring to the world in order to make sure their own biases and trigger points don’t interfere with the ability to work with clients.
Taylor is also continuing his own education. He is currently a PhD student in the Human Sexuality Studies program at Widener University and would like to research educational initiatives that address issues of religion and sexuality. He has a particular interest in helping the population of gay African American men who are regular church goers. These men suffer high rates of depression and suicide as a result of the judgment from others and conflicts between their sexuality and their church communities, he says.
Taylor says, “I feel my work is needed to educate the church on how to have these conversations. People are committing suicide and are extremely depressed because of the treatment they have in the church community, especially in the black community.”
Since September, Taylor has been an adjunct representative on the Drexel Faculty Senate. One of his roles there is to bring up the concerns of adjunct instructors, concerns about health insurance, pay and the cost of Center City parking.
Ultimately, Taylor would love to see a program in human sexuality and education at Drexel. In the meantime, to maintain his balance in juggling his various roles of teaching, working with clients, and studying, Taylor is an avid runner. “Running helps me clear my head, so that I’m emotionally present in my life.” Sounds like someone who is practicing what he’s teaching his students and encouraging in his clients.