About Doug Pelcak
Doug has been with the Hopkins School District since 1979. He does private therapy specializing in working with individuals with ADHD.
What inspired you to join the counseling profession?
The immense impact I could have on individuals’ development. My mom was a first grade teacher, and she inspired me about working with children as a career by telling the stories of all the children she was helping reach their early potential. School counselors work with the entire school culture — students, teachers, administrators, and parents. We are an active part of developing mentally healthy communities that value belonging and contributing for all. Adlerian Psychology is an excellent systems theory that applies to schools in many ways. The themes, strategies, and knowledge that we provide our students help them make the world a better place.
How did you become interested in counseling education?
I always enjoyed psychology and began to learn about the relatively new field of elementary school counseling. As an undergraduate at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, I was fortunate to find an elementary school counselor in the local school who was willing to let me train with her — I knew this was the career for me. I trained many counseling interns during my career and enjoyed the experience. In 2006, I was approached by the administration of AGS to form a school counseling program. I jumped on the chance to help create a program that combined theory and skills to develop strong counselors in the field. Beginning with a cohort of just 4 students, we have graduated over 300 school counselors who are highly respected and valued in their school communities. I am very proud of them!
What is so special about the culture at AGS?
AGS provides an environment based on encouragement, belonging, and significance. We all work together to help everyone improve their knowledge and skills. The positive relationships fostered in our program provide the base that makes the “courage to be imperfect” a norm in our learning experiences. Student learning is our primary focus. We get there by valuing and encouraging everyone in every class.
What are you most passionate about as an educator?
The power of belonging and contributing to atmospheres of safety brings out the passion and potential in everyone we meet. Learning the skills and attitudes to help this happen in schools produces amazing results.
Recent Courses Taught
505 Developmental Psychology
511 Foundations of Adlerian Psychology
573 Advanced School Counseling Skills
579 Crisis and Trauma in Schools
977 Practicum in School Counseling
978 Internship in School Counseling
Research Interests and Specialties
Distinctions & Associations
- Graduated Magnum Cum Laude, Bucknell University
"I teach with an Adlerian orientation that emphasizes belonging and contributing in an atmosphere of safety in our learning community. The social emotional concept of “Triple Focus” is critical: self-knowledge by the instructor, empathy/compassion to the students’ conditions, and connection of the learning to the greater world."
School Counseling Field Experience Coordinator, Assistant Professor, Student Advisor
Selected Publications and Presentations
- Authored a published comprehensive literature review and training packet for educators at the elementary level for Project BORN FREE
- Authored “School Interventions Supplement” for the TOVA(Test of Variables of Attention) and “The Use of the TOVA in School Screening for ADHD”