Barrett Taylor earned his PhD from the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. He teaches a number of courses at UNT, including "General Administration of Higher Education" (EDHI 6710) and "Higher Education Finance" (EDHI 6760). His research emphasizes the ways in which colleges and universities interact with their environments.
Amanda L. Giordano, received her PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her clinical experience includes work with chemically dependent clients, collegiate populations, and adults with mental health issues. Giordano's research interests include substance abuse counseling, spirituality issues in counseling, and counseling supervision. She has a deep appreciation for this profession and feels honored to be working in the dynamic and esteemed counseling program at UNT.
I was born and raised in the Rogue Valley of Southwestern Oregon. There I gained a curiosity to learn about the world and the diverse people living in it. I was intrigued by the people who came to work in the pear and peach orchards, and decided I wanted to learn to communicate with them. My interest and ability to learn Spanish lead me to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies.
Texas is that state I call home. I’ve spent most of my life in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with brief stints in Nashville, TN & San Diego, CA. I was fortunate to gain my master’s degree in counseling at the very young age of 21 from Vanderbilt University. But it took many more years to actually figure out what counseling is really about. Although I originally specialized in adolescents in the school setting, I was introduced to play therapy as a doctoral student at the University of North Texas. My training and experience in play therapy has been the guiding force for my professional growth and focus. I believe that the Child-Centered approach to working with children is aligned with my humanistic beliefs that all people are working toward self-actualization. My research agenda focuses on the quantitative effectiveness of play therapy, with a specific interest in school settings. I am an active member of the Association for Play Therapy (www.a4pt.org) and focus my work on demonstrating efficacy and disseminating information on play therapy. As part of my role in the UNT Counseling Program, I am honored to direct the Child and Family Resource Clinic on campus. We serve close to two hundred clients per week from birth to death on a sliding scale fee. Our program’s commitment to our on-site clinics demonstrates that at UNT we practice what we preach! On a personal note, I have been married for 18 years to my college sweetheart. We are busy raising two boys, Elijah & Noah, who take up any free time that we might spend developing hobbies. I actively volunteer in both of our elementary and middle schools.
Texas Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor
Assistant Professor of Counseling; Director, Child and Family Resource Clinic
Elementary School Counseling, Play Therapy, Child Assessment, Counselor Supervision
School Counseling, Play Therapy, Counselor Supervision
Honors and Awards:
2010 UNT's Teacher Scholar Award
After spending my early childhood years in Illinois, Ohio, and California, I spent my adolescent years in Tampa, Florida. After graduating from high school I pursued undergraduate studies in psychology at Florida State University. While there, I worked as a mentor with first and second grade students as part of a mentoring project that evaluated the effects of a literacy intervention on students’ achievement and psychological adjustment. In addition, I worked with the Adult Learning Evaluation Center on studies that investigated outcomes for college students with learning disabilities. These experiences helped me to develop my interest in working the helping professions as well as my research interests. After completing my degree, I began working in direct care at a residential facility for children in the foster care system in Tampa, where I continued to work while completing a master’s degree in counselor education at the University of South Florida. After graduation, I worked as a high school counselor at Alonso High School in Tampa, where I also coached cross country and track. I worked with many types of students including: groups underrepresented in higher education, those suffering from grief and loss, and students needing academic or career counseling. My job was extremely fascinating and rewarding; however, my desire to conduct research and teach led me to pursue a doctorate in counselor education.
I moved to Orlando to pursue doctoral studies in counselor education at the University of Central Florida, where I developed my research interests in the areas of secondary school counseling, group counseling, and counselor development in addition to counseling and supervising students in the community counseling clinic on campus.
Originally from the island of Jamaica, I came to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in professional counseling at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta. While there, I was introduced to play therapy and decided to enter the doctoral program. Although my graduate studies at GSU allowed for a variety of clinical experiences with diverse clients, my passion firmly lies with play therapy. I am privileged to be a part of the UNT counseling program which is world-renowned for its play therapy program.
I have specialized training and experience in working with children and families, in particular diverse and at-risk populations. My primary research areas are play therapy, filial therapy, and counselor supervision. My dissertation work involved examining the acceptability, integrity and perceived effectiveness of kinder training for a group of early elementary school teachers. Kinder training is a play-based approach to strengthening teacher-child relationships and improving the social, emotional and academic adjustment of students.
Counseling is an exciting field. As a counselor educator, my goal is to help students gain the best experience in the classroom and to develop innovative ways to increase the knowledge and research base with in the profession. I also encourage students to be professionally involved as a way to stay informed of the latest developments in the field of counseling. Taking leadership roles in professional counseling organizations is a way to participate actively and promote development in the field of counseling.
Texas Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor
Associate Professor of Counseling
Adolescents, College Students, Counseling Supervision, Counseling Skills, Practicum
Supervision, College Students, Adolescents, Suicide Intervention & Prevention, Cognitive Complexity
I was born and raised in a small town in North Texas. After being the fourth generation of my family to graduate from the high school in our hometown, I enrolled as a student at Texas A&M University. From the moment I began working towards my degree in psychology, I knew I wanted to attend graduate school and become a counselor specializing in adolescents. While pursuing my master’s degree at the University of North Texas, I took my first course in play therapy. It was then that I found my true passion for counseling children and families. After working in a community agency that served children ages 7-17, I returned to the UNT doctoral program to broaden my skills and knowledge as a counselor and play therapist. During my doctoral program I discovered my love of teaching and the use of expressive arts in counseling. Becoming a counselor educator has allowed me to blend my passion for working with children and love of teaching together.
After completing my PhD, I taught at the University of Central Florida for 4 years. I was excited to join the UNT faculty in 2009. I teach master’s level clinical courses and serve as the advisor for the undergraduate counseling minor program. I also serve as Director of the program’s Counseling and Human Development Center. As Center Director, I coordinate the academic, logistical, ethical, and legal matters involved in the operation of an on-campus community mental health clinic.
Martin Gieda, Ph.D. received graduate degrees from Columbia University, N.Y. and The Pennsylvania State University, PA. He completed internships at the Bronx Veterans Administration Medical Center and the University of Maryland's Counseling Center. Dr. Gieda is licensed as a psychologist and chemical dependency counselor in Texas. He is certified as a National Certified Counselor. His professional memberships include the American Psychological Association, the Association for the Advancement of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and the National Register of Health Providers in Psychology. Dr. Gieda completed extramural training and clinical supervision in cognitive therapy at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research. He is a Certified Cognitive Therapist with the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Dr. Gieda is a clinical practitioner with an active caseload of clients currently seen at the Student Counseling Center and in his private practice. He supervises graduate students in the counseling and psychology departments.
Texas Licensed Psychologist, National Certified Counselor, Texas Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, National Register of Health Providers in Psychology
Assistant Professor of Counseling; Counselor, UNT Counseling and Testing Center
Supervised Practice, Agency Counseling
Supervised Practice, Agency Counseling
I grew up on the island of Sri Lanka and moved to the US in 1985. I studied voice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston for a while, and later moved to Philadelphia where I attended Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Here I studied Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Montessori Education. I interned and taught at three elementary schools that embraced teaching philosophies that complemented one another although they were quite dissimilar. I continued with voice lessons and had the joy of singing with the Penn Choral Society every week.
In 1992 my family moved to New Orleans. I began pursuing a Master’s in Guidance and Counseling at Loyola University New Orleans, and later the PhD in Counselor Education with a minor in Human Performance and Health Promotion, at the University of New Orleans. I gained most of my experience as a counseling intern and later as a counselor at an inner city counseling and training center. My experiences with different kinds of groups helped me to understand the healing power of group work. Later I became licensed as a professional counselor and began a small private practice.