Psychology; Conflict Resolution and Social Justice
When people want a straight-talking psychologist to speak about issues of individual or group therapy, social justice, or conflict resolution they think of Brian Mistler. Mistler combines his advanced training in conflict resolution with organizational consulting experience and humorous examples.
Discovering ways to use humor to get across important concepts is part of what Mistler does professionally in the classroom, boardroom, therapy-room, and even in his research. Mistler designed and taught the first Psychology of Humor course at the University of Florida, and his dissertation examined the relationship between humor and tolerance for ambiguity.
He trained at The Gesundheit! Institute with Dr. Hunter Campbell 'Patch' Adams (the inspiration for the movie) and notes, "This is why people like Patch advocated so strongly for humor in our health care system. Things are often funny when two otherwise separate ideas come together at the same time, and this makes humor useful for quite serious purposes like therapy, spiritual growth, and conflict resolution."
Mistler recently received a U.S. Department of Education & U.F. European Studies Center Teaching Grant to develop and teach a course applying his expertise in conflict resolution to both the historical and current issues of religious/cultural minority populations, especially Muslims, which he says "is one of the most critical issues of our time." "Whether you're living in Dubai or Detroit, regularly bumping into people who are culturally different from you is no longer optional," he says.
A strong advocate for issues of interfaith cooperation and social justice for many years, Mistler trained in The University of Bradford Peace Studies Department, where he worked with Muslim youth, volunteered as a chaplain at SHANDS Hospital, and has served on interfaith councils around the world.
Mistler has published dozens of scholarly and popular articles for journals including The British Journal of Counseling and Guidance, Counseling Today, The Journal of Muslim Mental Health, and newspapers such as The Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. He is currently working on a practical handbook for organizational and individual change with fellow researchers and business consultants Higley and Heesacker, as well as finishing a book on conflict resolution and forgiveness under contract with a European publishing house.
Interview opportunities and additional background information may be requested through the Office of Communications, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York. Phone: (315) 781-3540. After business hours, Communications staff members are accessible through contact information on their answering machine at that number.
Brian Mistler was hired by Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2009 as a psychologist and coordinator of research and technology for the Center for Counseling and Student Wellness.
He received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Florida and his master's in International Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. Mistler also attended Stetson University, a private liberal arts college in Florida, where he received a B.S. in computer science and philosophy, a B.A. in humanities, and served as both Student Body President and as a student member of the Board of Trustees.
Honored by Florida Leader magazine and the recipient of numerous distinctions worldwide, Mistler was named Academic Ambassadorial Scholar in 2001 by Rotary International. He is a member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy, and has extensive experience in group psychotherapy, men's issues, and LGBTQIQ identity development. Mistler is also a recipient of the Delta Gamma Recognition for Excelling in Teaching and the Mutter Award for Advanced Study of Hypnosis.
Mistler has spent time working, studying and volunteering in a broad spectrum of multicultural environments around the globe, including post-war rural Guatemala, Israel and Palestine, across Western and Eastern Europe, and as an intern at The British Parliament.