About Joe Gilbert
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor &
Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
"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
Thank you for visiting my site. I offer individual counseling for adults in Hillsborough, NC. My office is convenient to those who live in Durham, Chapel Hill and Mebane. I also teach mindfulness meditation individually and in group settings. I invite you to read through my website, and if you sense that I may be a helpful guide and supportive traveller with you on your path, please call or email to schedule a free consultation.
I am incredibly grateful to have served the Triangle area as a licensed counselor since 2005.
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. I really enjoy working with individuals who are interested in meditation as part of the counseling process
I consider my counseling style to be kind and direct, practical and infused with a healthy dose of humor. My training was rooted in Person-Centered Counseling. This theory 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 familiar with and have experience in using a variety of counseling approaches (Existential, Cognitive-Behavioral, Narrative, Solution-Focused, Mindfulness-Based, 12-Steps), and will tailor my approach to suit your needs. My approach is also influenced by my interest in contemplative spirituality.
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, fantasy novels, and learning to play the mandolin.
My wife and I are happy to call Hillsborough, North Carolina our home.
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.
A Perfectly Divine Mess
"Bow to your awkwardness. Kneel at the altar of your failures. Smile at your clumsiness. Befriend your incompetence. Laugh when you stumble and fall. These are all perfectly precious waves in the oceanic vastness of you.
Perfection is unattainable in time, but found only in presence; the presence of imperfection makes you real, and relatable, and that's perfect. You'll be consistent when you're dead. Until then, celebrate your silly old self, your marvelous inability to conform, or to live up to any image at all.
Don't bore yourself into a spiritual coma. Say the wrong thing, just for once. There is such freedom in allowing yourself to screw up, to be kind to your mistakes, to kiss the ground as you rise again, to adore the falling, too.
Don't let your spirituality numb your humanity, your humility, and most importantly, your sense of humor."
-- Jeff Foster
"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
"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."
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
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
-- Marcel Proust
"To invest one's identity and security in something that appears, moves, changes and disappears is the cause of unhappiness."
-- Rupert Spira