Dr. Robert Witchel

  • Robert WitchelProfessor

    202 Stouffer Hall
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Indiana, PA 15705
    412-824-1999 — Penn Center (Pittsburgh) Office
    412-252-2450 — Home Office

    Professional Information

    Background and Experience

    I am a professor of counseling and have been a member of the Department of Counseling since 1986, and on the IUP faculty since 1981. I completed my doctoral degree at the University of Georgia in 1973. I am a Pennsylvania-licensed psychologist and a national certified counselor and have practiced my version of gestalt therapy since 1971. I have had a variety of experiences working in inpatient and outpatient mental health settings and university counseling services, and have been in private practice since 1979. Contact with people (clients and professionals) in these settings resulted in my developing very strong beliefs about:

    • the value of connecting with the person, their pain, and their joy (rather than only relating to diagnoses and symptoms)
    • the value of sharing my own struggles and triumphs and joining with the person in their life journey
    • how medication is often used as a quick fix and how diagnosis can easily result in creating distance between people
    • how too many mental health professionals are out of touch with their clients and not aware of their own stuff, either
    • the importance of my own ongoing personal growth

    Years ago, I saw the movie Patch Adams (starring Robin Williams); I was moved to tears and laughter while watching Patch struggle to maintain his humanness during graduate school. After searching the Web about Patch, I discovered a neat paper he wrote about the doctor-patient relationship. It’s called “Friendship as Therapy.” You can read this paper online.

    I know something about ethical and legal issues in counseling, group therapy, marital and family counseling, grief work, non-drug-oriented mental health counseling, and gestalt therapy, including dreamwork.

    I have provided consultation to children and youth agencies, the courts, and other educational and human services agencies. I have provided continuing education workshops to agency and school personnel. I have been teaching the following courses: Group Counseling, Counseling Across the Lifespan, Ethical and Legal Issues in Community Counseling, Grief Counseling, Gestalt Therapy, Supervised Practicum, and Field Experience.

    I am a member of the American Counseling Associationand the American Psychological Association, and recently joined the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education, and Living, founded by Peter Breggin, MD. 

    I have written articles and made presentations related to the Psychotherapy: Conducting the Human Instrument with Heart and Music, Imagery, and Gestalt Therapy.

    I hope this overview and these papers give you a sense of what I value and who I am. I look forward to meeting you. 

    Bob Witchel