About Joe Gilbert
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
& Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
Thank you for visiting my site. If you find yourself here, perhaps you are ready for what I call the inward-facing journey. This typically occurs when we become exhausted with the search for happiness outside ourselves. I am incredibly grateful to have served the Triangle area as a licensed counselor for over 15 years. It would be an honor to consult with you to see if I may be a supportive traveler on your path.
I studied psychology at NC State and was trained as a counselor at Penn State with a focus on Rehabilitation Counseling. My training was rooted in Person-Centered Counseling and the work of Carl Rogers. I wouldn't be where I am without all the wonderful teachers who have shared their wisdom with me along the way.
Much of my clinical experience came from working at the Alcoholism Treatment Center in Raleigh. I served as an inpatient counselor and worked closely with a multidisciplinary team helping people recover from addiction and mental health issues.
I later worked for Triangle Family Services, where I continued to provide individual counseling on an outpatient basis. I also contracted with local agencies to provide in-home counseling. After leaving Triangle Family Services I joined TPC Counseling, where I immersed myself in Narrative Therapy and the integration of spirituality and counseling.
I opened my private practice in 2014, and provide counseling services in the Hillsborough area. While working in private practice I decided to become certified as a mindfulness meditation teacher.
I discovered Tara Brach in 2009, started attending retreats with her and other teachers, and eventually completed a 2-year teacher training program taught by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.
I have found the practice of meditation to be incredibly helpful in my own life and in my relationships. Working with individuals who are interested in meditation as part of the counseling process is what I enjoy most about my practice.
My practice is rooted in Person-Centered Counseling. This orientation trusts that you have the answers within you. I offer awareness and compassion practices in my work to help you see this for yourself. Our own wisdom can be obscured by cloudy, negative thinking.
I am also familiar with and have experience in using a variety of counseling approaches (Existential, Cognitive-Behavioral, Narrative, Solution-Focused, Mindfulness-Based, 12-Steps, Contemplative), and will tailor my approach to suit your needs. My approach is also influenced by my interest in various wisdom traditions, such as Zen, Vipassana, Taoism, Contemplative Christianity, and Advaita.
While originally from California, I have lived in Texas, Rhode Island, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. North Carolina has been my home since 1993.
I grew up playing soccer and hockey. I played both into my 30s and then made a shift into marathon running. Now I prefer brisk walks and enjoy hiking/backpacking with my wife and whoever else happens to be on the trail with us.
Meditation (or simply sitting quietly) is a regular part of my day, and I also share my practice with a weekly meditation group. I enjoy a good cup of coffee, raking leaves, and fantasy novels.
My wife and I are happy to call Hillsborough, North Carolina our home.
Several years ago, after many years of spiritual seeking, I experienced a letting go of who I thought I was, and there was a profound shift in perspective. The unfolding process continues to this day. This is hard to put into words, but I still try to communicate it throughout this webpage and in conversation with those who are interested.
Poems, Quotes, and Pointers
I'm a big fan of poetry, quotes and pointers from a wide range of sources. I believe wisdom can be found everywhere, and I appreciate those who are skillful at pointing us in the direction of truth. I have listed several of my favorites below. If you resonate with what I have shared, there's a good chance we will work well together. If I'm not the right fit for you, I will do my best to find somebody else who is.
"Stop trying to heal yourself, fix yourself, even awaken yourself.
Let go of letting go. Stop trying to fast-forward the movie of your life, chasing futures that never seem to arrive. Instead, bow deeply to yourself as you actually are.
Your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, your deepest longing, your fearful thoughts...are not mistakes, and they aren't asking to be healed. They are asking to be held.
Here, now, lightly, in the loving arms of present awareness."
-- Jeff Foster
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-- Jalaluddin Rumi
"Being human is not about being any one particular way; it is about being as life creates you—with your own particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, quirks and oddities."
-- Kristin Neff
"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." -- Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change."
-- Carl Rogers
"I want to make sure you know you are not who you think you are." -- Gangaji
"I honor those who try to rid themselves of any lying, who empty the self and have only clear being there." -- Rumi
"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." -- James Baldwin
"Meditation is a social and political act. Listening and not-doing are actions far more powerful than most of us have yet begun to realize." -- Joan Tollifson
"Sitting quietly is essential. Don't waste time not doing this." -- H.W.L. Poonja
"Just remember that Dumbo didn't need the feather...the magic was already in him."
-- Stephen King
"Your vision will become clear when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks within, awakens." -- Carl Jung
"And the truth is--we are all basically the universe pretending to be humans for a brief moment in time." -- Rupaul
"We shall not cease from exploring,
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."