(Subtitled: “I ran into the fork in the road, but I didn’t know my pattern yet…”)
Nick: There have been many turning points in my life; leaving the Catholic seminary after seven years and suddenly being ushered into the 20th Century (from the 15th), finishing college in 1967-68 and calling the University of Texas to see if they had any openings in graduate school-and getting one! However, THE pivotal moment of that time was meeting Barbara, my wife, at the University of Texas in 1969.
On our first date, I broke my ankle swinging from a tree branch (strong ancestry), and was slowed enough to realize what a wonderful person she was. We married in 1971.
Following marriage I completed my Ph.D. in counseling at UT and started teaching at Auburn. I then went to work at an outpatient service in a small-town MHMR center before moving back to Texas for my private practice.
Our four children are pivotal in ways beyond words, but a professional pivotal came in 1982, when I attended a regional Psychological Type meeting in Austin, Texas, and was introduced to the Myers-Briggs Indicator. I felt I had stumbled upon a Stradivarius-a perfect instrument that combined philosophical tradition, Western spirituality, and popular psychology-all in a way that valued human differences.
Over the years I have presented many papers at national meetings on the MBTI, and, more importantly, I have conducted many workshops and seen the affirmation and practical help people get from the MBTI. This humble instrument is the best teaching devise I have ever encountered, and I suppose discovering it in 1982 has been my most important professional fork in the road.
BEAGLE BUGLE: Who was the most notable influence in your life?
Nick: Without question, Barbara has been the most important influence in my life. She has taught me about the feminine point of view, how to base life on imagination instead of caution, and how to really care. Professionally speaking, I have been strongly influenced by a number of teachers, many of them authors. Most centrally, I have been influenced by three men who translated Carl Jung’s ideas into Christian practice, and who developed a tool box for combining depth psychology with Christian values and spirituality. These men are Morton Kelsey, John Sanford and Robert Johnson. In particular, John Sanford’s works, such as The Kingdom Within, and Robert Johnson’s books, He, She, We and Inner Work, have been pivotal in helping me help others. When Andrea Miller (another influence) and I wrote our book, Recovering Connections, Morton Kelsey wrote a wonderful endorsement on the back cover. I felt as though one of my influences had come full circle.
BEAGLE BUGLE: Professionally speaking, what is the best day you ever had?
Nick: I think it was at a national Psychological Type conference in the late 1980’s in Gainesville, Florida. I got to present a paper integrating the four temperaments with many other philosophical and psychological systems of four. The presentation began a discussion and seemed to touch something true in people’s experiences. Tapes of the presentation were sold out quickly. I was surprised and delighted at the reaction to this presentation.
BEAGLE BUGLE: What is a dream you have yet to fulfill?
Nick: I would like to help form an institute of like-minded persons who want to integrate depth psychology, Christian spirituality, recovery wisdom, and the transformation of organizations.