Get to know Nancy Ulmer, LCSW - Core Faculty, Counseling Psychology Program

See Nancy's professional biography here.

Shayna Quilty (SQ): Tell me about how you became involved with the Wright Institute, and what keeps you invested?
Nancy Ulmer (NU):
I had never taught before, but neuroscience is one of my areas of interest, so I accepted the offer to teach Human Development the first year that the Counseling Psychology Program was in existence. Later I began teaching Addictions Counseling and Professional Development as well.

We had such a fun time in the early years of the the Wright Institute Counseling Psychology Program! It was energizing, and kept me studying, learning, and growing. The students at the Wright Institute are wonderful, and I’m so pleased with our focus on professional development.

SQ: What’s your favorite course to teach? What do you love about it?
I feel very fortunate that I’m enthusiastic about three courses that I teach [Addictions Counseling, Individual and Family Development, and MFT Professional Development Seminar]. Each one taps into something different for me. I love the act of doing through the MFT Professional Development Seminar and supervising, which allows me to watch students grow through collaborative learning. The content of Individual and Family Development is so alive and relevant, so it motivates me to study the newest developments. My passion for teaching Addictions Counseling is mission-driven and based on my commitment to our profession providing best practices in the assessment and treatment for clients dealing with addictions.

SQ: What motivated you to get involved with mental health work?
I’ve been on this trajectory since college. My graduate school specialty was community mental health, and then I worked at National Institute of Mental Health on the policy level. I’ve always been interested in people and the social context of mental health work. My religious upbringing influenced my commitment to social justice.

SQ: Can you tell me about a challenge you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are professionally?
I was the object of a misguided, vengeful professional complaint. Although I was eventually completely cleared and clinically complimented, it was trying. My professional community and colleagues supported me through it.

SQ: I know that working at the Wright Institute is only one of many hats you wear. How else do you spend your time?
I’m very committed to my private practice, which I do at about ⅔ time. I have an active professional life at the Psychotherapy Institute. I continue to study neuroscience, specifically as it relates to trauma. I’m passionately involved with my family and my dog, Louie. I love traveling internationally, and reading both professionally and for fun, and am an avid student of yoga. I also spend a lot of time with my liberal-based community of faith.

SQ: If you could give one piece of advice to the students in the Counseling Psychology program, what would it be?
I know I am cheating here but my one piece of advice would have five elements:
1. Engage yourself in a meaningful and challenging personal therapy.
2. Practice exquisite self-care always.
3. Read everything you can about what interests you for the first years of your career.
4. Become part of at least one small group of MFT’s that forms bonds of trust and collegiality and meets regularly.
5. Learn about basic business practices outside of the profession and start using them immediately.

Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute’s Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program.
Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute’s Master of Counseling Psychology program.