About Jim


White Sands 21I’m happy to tell a little of my story, but we should both remember that our work together is not ABOUT me–it is about you.  Whether you are looking for Counseling or Life Coaching, what is important is that my mission is to support your mission. I am happy to tell you something about my own path, and will (below), and my path is somewhat relevant here. But what is most important is what you want in your life, and how I am going to help you achieve that. That is my calling…

OK, now that we’re clear about that, I don’t mind telling a couple stories…

Jim’s Story: The Cleveland Years

I was born and raised in middle class, what I now consider inner city Cleveland. A few years ago, our childhood home (7 of us lived in a Cape Cod bungalow) sold for $18,000. I sensed at a very early age that my life was going to be different.  I had the wanderlust, the curiosity, I wanted to see the world, I wanted to ask questions that adults did not want me to ask. I had to get used to that. I was just made differently. My siblings were not made this way, so I was always kind of the outlier guy. I am guessing that if you find yourself reading this, you have your own version of such beginnings…

Over the early years, I was on unemployment and food stamps, I worked at McDonalds, in factories, on truck docks, in a place called Asbestos Products, in a dye house. Those jobs taught me that there was no way in hell I could do those jobs for the rest of my life. So although an uninspired high school student (2.43 GPA), I knew I had to go to College and/or find another path.

Travel and Graduate School

Fast forward a little: I traveled a lot, Europe, Morocco, out west, out New England way,  and worked my way to a BA in English at Ohio State. I went to grad school in English/Irish Lit, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, but did not care for teaching (I was only 24 or so, and I sucked at it), so I retained Literature as my lifelong passion, but decided it would not become my career. To this day, I still read Shakespeare, Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Kerouac, Melville, and so on…

Eventually, by what at that time felt like a  fluke (of course it wasn’t), I looked into Psychology, and everything kind of worked out, though at that time I did not know how or why. I got my PhD in Counseling Psychology from the third-ranked program in the country at that time, The Ohio State University. It took seven years, and I learned a ton, about the world, about myself, about being an outlier.

Jim-Hoppers-e1390590112610-135x300  All through my education, traveling was still a part of my life, my identity. It’s probably not a coincidence that one of the most influential novels for me in my teenage years was Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road.”

Life as a  Maverick

So I have lived my life as a maverick, plain and simple. I have lived in many states, literally dozens of houses or apartments, and pretty much pursued what my heart wanted. I have been a University Psychologist, fallen on my face a million times, been President of a graduate school for Counseling and Art Therapy, made more mistakes than you can shake a stick at, became a private practitioner, lost track of what I was supposed to be doing on the planet, at times was kind of a jackass, served as a Professor for many online Universities, the whole nine yards.

Helping Others

All along my circuitous and scenic career path, being of service to others has been the overarching theme. That is where I am now, providing services as a Therapist and Life Coach. For the past twenty or so years, people have been seeking me out as a mentor, particularly for being a maverick kind of mentor, one who largely does things my own way, and is not afraid to break rules along the way. You know, once people get used to the idea that you are not here to live up to their expectations, they kind of drop it. They think “Oh, that’s just Jim being Jim”, and I have come to like that. Maybe you have had that experience.

We are all a work in progress. I have my own Coaches and Therapists, I’m still defining and re-creating myself, and that job (more of a passion) will never be finished. It’s life–it’s great…

If any of this resonates for you, it may be worthwhile talking about working together. I have spent six decades negotiating a world that was not particularly made for people like me, and I have gotten pretty good at it. Maybe I can help you too…

–Jim

Feel free to email me at Drjamesmichaelnolan@gmail.com, or text me at 505-699-7616

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