George Kapalka, Ph.D., is a professional in every aspect of his trade. As a professor at Monmouth University's Department of Professional Counseling, he has turned more than twenty years of extensive and multifaceted clinical and research experience into a fulfilling and rewarding teaching career. He has authored six books, including Parenting Your Out-of-Control Child (translated into eight foreign languages), and dozens of other professional publications and research presentations. On top of these commendable achievements, Dr. Kapalka is a practicing clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor. And while he may be one of the busiest men at Monmouth, Dr. Kapalka makes his students' success a priority. To that end, Dr. Kapalka has adopted his own specific style of teaching, through which he believes students can realize their full potential.
"My classes are filled with Socratic-style lectures interspersed with clinical case discussions. My focus is always an applied one - as a professor, I strive to help my students become competent mental health clinicians. Watching my students grow into the next generation of counselors is one of the most gratifying aspects of my career," said Dr. Kapalka.
Outside of the University, Dr. Kapalka specializes in clinical and school psychology with emphasis on child and adolescent counseling and assessment, learning disabilities, school consultation, and legal/forensic issues.
"I'm interested in how children and adolescents develop self control and impulse control, and how those skills affect the way they think, learn, and act. Mental health professionals can make a difference in how a child or teen feels, thinks, and behaves, and how his or her home, school, and peer group promote healthy development."
Much of Dr. Kapalka's work involves his students, and he has co-authored dozens of publications with current and former students. For one research project, he enlisted Monmouth students to study the physical and mental health needs of 9/11 first responders. This professor/student collaboration is a dynamic piece of Kapalka's teaching style.
"I encourage students to think about what works in a particular case and why," said Dr. Kapalka. "Often, a case does not immediately reveal all its intricacy- additional details become apparent as the case unfolds. Like detectives, students must reconcile various aspects into a cohesive whole. Learning what to look for and addressing unexpected developments sharpens the skills of both teachers and students." Dr. Kapalka attributes much of his enthusiasm for his students' development to the Monmouth University atmosphere.
"Monmouth University is a place unlike any other I've encountered in my career. The faculty members embrace personalized education, and mentor by example and guidance. Our students are dedicated and motivated, and come here to grow, not just to acquire skills and credentials. They want to become the best they can be. It is thrilling to see their progress and development." This cohesiveness has inspired one of Dr. Kapalka's beliefs about teaching as a profession, which he considers to be a specific strength of this university.
"Any good teacher must also listen to his students. I learn from my students as much as I teach them. The word 'synergy' is used to describe collaborative efforts where the end result becomes greater than the simple sum of its parts. While sometimes used too generously, this term accurately represents what happens at Monmouth when our faculty and students build on each others' strengths in the process of professional development."