Your life has meaning, a purpose. You feel it in your bones. Are your thoughts, feelings and behaviors in alignment with what truly matters to you deep in your heart?
Jon Johnston, MA, LPC-Intern (supervised by Heather Carlile, MA, LPC, LPC-S) is a counseling practicum intern at Amberton University, with two decades of study in meditation, mindfulness, music and psychology. Jon studied meditation at the Zen Mountain Monastery in New York, where he learned from author and renowned expert in the field, John Daido Loori. Drawing from his unique blend of artistic talents, meditation skills and rich life experiences, Jon specializes in a number of treatment areas including:
- couples counseling
- anger issues
- social issues
- goal setting and follow-through
- chronic pain
- grief work
As a therapist, Jon emphasizes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT helps people clarify their personal value system, “connect” more fully to their daily experiences, and make decisions that better align with their larger life goals. What do you really stand for? What kind of husband, wife, partner or parent do you want to be? Do you bring your sense of core values to the workplace? Do your everyday tasks accurately represent what is most important to you? Jon helps clients see beyond the various habits, expectations and obligations that can seem to limit your day-to-day life, or discourage you from following your dreams. In pursuing genuine answers to these questions about your personal values, Jon helps individuals refine their vision, calm their automatic reactions to “stuff happening,” and move closer to their true goals.
Jon is also an accomplished musician as well as a mental health professional. He studied music at the highly prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he focused on jazz, world music and composition. Jon’s studies also took him to Japan, where he further pursued his passion for Zen, studying the Japanese flute (shakuhachi) with Stan Richardson and Yodo Kurahashi II, internationally recognized masters of the instrument.
Along with the shakuhachi, Jon also plays piano and bass guitar, performing at various local venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Japanese Gardens in Houston and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In 2012, Jon performed in Kyoto, Japan at the World Shakuhachi Festival.
Link Between Music and Therapy
For many years, Jon has taught private music lessons. Over time, he noticed many of his students were less challenged by musical techniques than they were various psychological blocks. Jon believes that musical expression is about authenticity. Playing all the right notes, but just “going through the motions,” can make music seem lifeless and empty. Jon encourages students to energetically focus on what they are playing, to put their true selves behind the notes. This is what keeps the music fresh and dynamic. This is where genuine communication takes place.
In the same way, Jon helps his therapy clients recognize life areas where they are simply “playing the notes,” but without any real passion or connection. Everything you do in life is an expression of who you are. Jon helps clients ease into the natural flow of their lives, but in ways that highlight rather than blur their core beliefs and personal values.