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In Gratitude We Say Goodbye

This year, we say goodbye to three of our beloved faculty members who have given so much to our community.  Each began their MSP journey as a student, each departs after leaving a unique and lasting contribution to our institution.

We thank you for all that you have given.

John Brennan, JD, LP
John Brennan, PsyD (’11)

John Brennan was a successful attorney when he decided to shift careers and pursue psychology.  Upon completing a PsyD in 2011 with a dissertation entitled “Into the Lion’s Den: Understanding How Men Experience Hesitancy in Couples Therapy,” he joined the MSP faculty as first an Adjunct, then an Associate Faculty member in 2012.

He also served as Adjunct Faculty member in the graduate counseling program for Sienna Heights University and at Oakland Community College.

Dr. Brennan is a practicing clinician at Horizon Counseling in Wyandotte where he specializes in treating couples, as well as individuals struggling in the areas of substance abuse and anger management.

He specializes in couples counseling, having completed a clinical training program in Imago Relationship therapy before returning to school in 2006. He has also acquired extensive experience in the area of domestic violence after being a member of the HAVEN counseling program for three years, working with the men seeking treatment to address their history of domestic violence, as well as the women and children who survive it.

Dr. Brennan also remains licensed to practice law and is keenly in interested in forensic psychology, ethics, and the interplay between law and psychology.

As a professor, Dr. Brennan is known for his humor, his candor, and his honesty.  His extensive legal knowledge helped students navigate important questions of ethics and he brought his expertise on the power and control cycle of domestic violence into clinical training.

Dr. Brennan plans to continue in his private practice in Royal Oak and Wyandotte and begin a gradual transition to Nashville, Tennessee.

La-Toya Gaines 

La-Toya Gaines completed her PsyD at MSP in 2012 with a dissertation that explored “My Body and Breast Cancer.”  Prior to beginning her MSP journey, Dr. Gaines worked with children and families as a social worker; becoming a psychologist was a natural progression in her interest in helping families learn how to be and love together.

While completing her doctoral degree, Dr. Gaines also served as an adjunct faculty at Oakland Community College in Southfield starting in 2010.

Dr. Gaines stayed involved in the MSP community in many capacities after graduating, including Associated Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, and the Embedded Supervisor for practicum students at Common Ground – OACIS before becoming Core Faculty member in September 2016.

Dr. Gaines is currently practicing at Family Matters Counseling and Psychological Services in Southfield where she specializes in working with adolescents and adults with anxiety and depression, as well as, families dealing with divorce or step-parenting issues (blended families).  Dr. Gaines also currently provides clinical supervision from her private practice.

This year, Dr. Gaines was elected Member-at-Large for The Society of Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32 ) Executive Board.

Her students know Dr. Gaines as the professor who shares fully her experience as a psychologist – the joys and the challenges.  She has been a reassuring presence to students as they begin practicum with her candid and straight forward explanations of the clinical process.  Dr. Gaines offered her students confidence to trust their training and find their own way as psychologists.

Dr. Gaines leaves MSP to focus professional energy on her (ever busier) private practice in Southfield.

Betz King, PsyD
Betz King, PsyD (’06)

Betz King is a quintessentially humanistic psychologist who celebrates the unique spirit in everyone.  After completing the PsyD program in 2006 with a dissertation entitled “Bodyhood and Being With,” Dr. King transitioned seamlessly from student to teacher.

Dr. King has worn many hats at MSP – Core Faculty, MA Program Coordinator, and most recently, Associated Faculty member. She has taught courses related to clinical work, such as: Existential and Phenomenological Psychotherapy, Clinical Skills, Foundations of Psychopathology, Core Concepts in Humanistic Psychology, Key Processes, and Group Process.

Dr. King has also published and presented extensively on a variety of psycho-spiritual topics at conferences, including The Society of Humanistic Psychology and The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.

A practicing psychotherapist for over 15 years, Dr. King’s interest lies in the intersection of psychology and spirituality. Her clinical specialties include existential psychotherapy, women’s empowerment, religious and spiritual concerns, and group therapy.  She also offered animal assisted therapy with her yellow Labrador, Paisley, and remains interested in animal assisted interventions.

Dr. King maintains her own blog space relating to her American Priestess / Priest Training Program; this year she also created The Seasonal Psychologist, a blog series for MSP that illuminates her practice as a pagan psychologist.

Dr. King is the professor known to be most generous with her energy and her spirit.  Her deeply ingrained love of self knowledge and self expression has given her students permission to feel free to be.  She has been a supporter and a challenger, an official and unofficial creative mentor to many, and always a Firebrand for remaining deeply true to humanistic psychology in its purest form.

Dr. King never wanted or expected to leave MSP, but a once in a lifetime offer to, as she put it, “…get paid for hanging out with dogs” manifested into her life.  She will also continue her private practice in Farmington Hills.