To get a sense of who I am and my experience, I’d like to share with you some important aspects of my background:
I love public speaking
I’ve been giving talks and offering workshops since 1997 and once I started I never looked back. Whether it’s a twenty minute presentation or a 3 day retreat at a yoga ashram, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to best connect with an audience. I’ve spoken at events and conferences in such far-flung places as Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as well across the United states. Based on a presentation I gave in Floyd, Virginia I was invited to join the board of the Health Planning Region III Training Institute, which organizes a yearly mental health symposium at which I have now presented four times.
I love psychology and coaching
I’m licensed as a clinical social worker in two states (Virginia and California) and have been working as a psychotherapist and life coach since 2005. I am fascinated by the science of change and human potential. What can we do in order to become the best possible versions of ourselves? I also have spent a great deal of time assisting people in their recovery from depression, anxiety and trauma. In addition, I have been privileged to serve the transgender community of southwest Virginia as the area’s only dedicated gender therapist for over ten years.
I love designing and faciltating groups and workshops
For two and a half years I was the Director of Clinical Education at a large private mental health agency in Roanoke. During that time I designed and facilitated a large number of trainings and psychoeducational groups for both clinicians and clients. More recently, I supervised group leaders in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, as well as led groups of my own. These were my toughest crowds – people convicted of a DUI who were then court-ordered to attend 90 minute treatment groups that lasted for either 10 or 18 weeks. They were NOT happy to be there. But I loved the challenge of creating rapport with group members and offering a experience that was meaningful (rather than a waste of everyone’s time). Over the course of 3 years these turned out to be some of the most satisfying groups I have ever led.
At Virginia Western Community College I teach a yearly class called “Group Process” to future social workers. I’ve been doing that since 2011 and it’s one of my favorite courses.
I love learning
After majoring in Classical Studies as an undergraduate at Indiana University I ended up teaching Latin at the University of Hawaii for two years. Paradise, and boy do I miss it, is where I completed two Master’s Degrees (European Languages and Literatures in 1994 and Anthropology in 1997). After a move to Roanoke, Virginia in 2001 I went back to school and received my Master’s in Social Work in 2004.
Always learning something new keeps me young – my current 5 year project is achieving fluency in Spanish (Goal: To offer mental health workshops to my local Latino community)
I love teaching
I’ve been in the classroom since 1992, starting as a university instructor in Latin. Then I moved into teaching English as a second language, and I’ve had the opportunity to do so in a number of exotic locations including Japan (1 year), Thailand (2 years), Australia (6 months), and Hawaii (2 years).
Since 2001 I’ve been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses as an adjunct professor at Hollins University in Roanoke in Gender & Women’s Studies and Sociology.
And since 2010 I have been teaching mental health and psychology courses at Virginia Western Community College, also as a part-time professor.
I love writing
I am the author of several books, including Male Bodies, Women’s Souls: Personal Narratives of Thailand’s Transgendered Youth (Co-authored with LeeRay Costa, 2007); The Tarot Activity Book: A Collection of Creative and Therapeutic Ideas for the Cards (2013; also available in Spanish); Everyone Has a Story: Using the Hero’s Journey and Narrative Therapy to Reframe the Struggle of Mental Illness (2015); and Recovery From Addictions and Compulsive Behavior: A Journaling-Based Guide to Becoming Your Best Self and Having a Life Worth Living.
In addition, I’ve had my scholarly work about gender in Thailand and Hawai’i published in various peer-reviewed academic journals.
In the end, my mission is simple: To learn new things, share those things with others, and empower people to expand their horizons and fulfill their potential.
That’s why I do what I do.
Andymatzner@gmail.com / 540-819-0429