About Peter: A Short Bio

WesternPeterI am a Vietnam era Veteran.  Between 1967 and 1971, while in the U.S. Air Force, I not only served as a Crew Chief aboard a large Jet Transport/Medical Evacuation aircraft. Paradoxically, I was also managing and performing as a folk singer in a local, South Carolina Coffee House.  There, I became the lay ‘go-to social worker’ and crisis interventionist for the drug overdosed, the broken-hearted, and those confused about their participation in the war.  My socially "ordained" role was more about the ‘image’ as well as my capacity as a manager of the “Folk Ghetto” and performer, than my untrained skill as an interventionist.  It was true that throughout my life, I had a sensitivity to others that drew the emotionally troubled, so my time at the “Ghetto” was a welcome privilege, and came easily to me. 

Honorably discharged in 1971, my re-entry into “the world” and the “Readjustment Blues” set in. Of course, this was a tough process.  It was for most of us. Still is for those currently returning.  I was angry with the military, but proud of my service and I had no clue about my future.  I was confused about my identity and my place in the world.  ”Maybe college could help me sort this out.” 

I happened onto my first ‘Introduction to Psychology’ class, the following  year in late 1972, at Dearborn Michigan’s, Henry Ford Community College. It was a natural fit.  I also stumbled upon Bill Wahlberg, a Henry Ford counselor and psychotherapist who later, during my own inner journeying, led me deeply into the traditions of Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Bioenergetics, ‘PathWork,’ and other more esoteric, psycho-spiritual traditions.  Strenuously rooted in the rigors of the ‘Human Potential Movement’ (Encounter groups, ‘T’-groups etc.) of the 60‘s and early 70‘s, full emphasis was placed on living authentically, in the ‘here and now.’  To my great relief and excitement, life as I now know it began!  I will be forever grateful for Bill’s guidance into the depths of my falsehoods, and into the revelation of my Truths.

I spent the next 10 years moving through Henry Ford, through Wayne State University in Detroit and Highland Park College, completing two Associates degrees (one in Alcoholism Therapy), and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology.  By 1982, through the Merrill-Palmer Institute and then,the Center For Humanistic Studies in Detroit, my graduate degrees led to licensure and working in both mental health and substance abuse throughout Southeast Michigan.  Although I always had a small, concurrent private practice, my mainstay was public, outpatient clinics until 2011, when I began my private work in Okemos, Michigan, where I now continue to practice.

Throughout my education and career, I attended conferences and workshops, many of which continue to influence my work (those most notable: Solution Focused Brief Therapy; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Hypnosis; EMDR). During the first of these, a crisis intervention conference, I was introduced to the meditative martial art, T’ai-Chi Ch’uan.  This was the first major influence, outside my academic training.  It led to a ten-year study of the Chinese 'Taoist' philosophy, and actually teaching T’ai-Chi for six years. Both contributed deeply to the shaping of my work, and still do.

In 1985, I met ‘Swiftdeer’, a mixed blood medicine man of Cherokee and Irish decent and shortly thereafter, began transitioning from my Taoist studies, to Native-American medicine and healing practices.  For 8 years I apprenticed in the Sweet Medicine Sundance Tradition, drawing on shamanic practices from around the planet, especially North, Central, and South America.  The ancient wisdom continues to ‘breathe’ insight and wisdom into both my personal and professional life and to those open, provides spiritual and psychological viewing points and interventions, that western psychology often does not. 

Of course, my formal education was invaluable to my abilities as a clinician.  At least as important were my own in depth personal growth experiences: my therapy with Bill Wahlberg in Dearborn; my study of Taoism and T’ai-Chi with Steve Harrigan and his assistant Robin in Ann Arbor, Michigan, my shamanic apprenticeship in the Deer Tribe with Swiftdeer, and later of other indigenous peoples. 


Over the years, my personal process increasingly dealt not only with historical and interpersonal issues, but the theme of ‘authenticity‘ as well.  It began to dominate my work.  Almost of it’s own accord, authenticity became more compelling in my everyday life. It meant working with my increasing need to live, and to express well, the reality of my feelings and thoughts, my needs, wants and desires. The need to express myself honestly, and live my Truth impeccably arose nearly simultaneously, in conjunction with my willingness to take risks (intimacy always involves risk, doesn’t it?).  I discovered that the personal, and the interpersonal process are really one in the same.

And so evolved the work of confronting and working through roadblocks to identifying my dreams of prosperity and security in my daily life, as well as my sacred dream: my spiritual gifts and purpose for having been born here in the first place.  I continue to work with inventing ways to dance those dreams awake, into my personal life, and into the community.

So, the reinvention of my own, more personal definitions of what it is to be a "man" in this culture, of authenticity and intimacy is still central to my personal mission and it guides my work with others.  I have come to understand that it is the on-going striving to be as open and honest with ourselves as we can, which make living in harmony and balance with one another, the community, and all life, so much easier and so much more prosperous. This is fundamental to my work. It is fundamental to my life.

Any comments?  Please feel free to contact me: 

Peter Roseman Psy.S.
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