Education

Ph.D.  Depth Psychology, 2013
Pacifica Graduate Institute, 
Santa Barbara, California
Research Interests: Trauma and Dissociation, Spirituality in Psychology, Dream Work and Active Imagination, Narcissism and the Patriarchal Culture. Dissertation: Pillars of salt or stone: The alchemical pilgrimage of the petrified feminine (Full Text)


M.S.  Clinical Psychology, 2002 
Vanguard University, 
Costa Mesa, California 

B.A.  Sociology, with honors, 1998                                                   
California State University, 
Fullerton, California         

Licensure

2006 - Present
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, State of California
License No.  MFC 43151 

2002 - 2006
Registered Marriage and Family Therapist   
Intern, State of California, Intern No. 41837  

Professional Experience

2008- Present
Private Psychotherapy Practice, Orange County, CA
Individual, Couples and Group Psychotherapy

2002 - 2012
Faculty Member, Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA
Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
2011- 2012
Associate Professor, Full-time, Core Faculty
2007- 2012
Director of Clinical Training
2006 - 2011   
Assistant Professor, Full-time Core Faculty
2009-2010
Program Director, Interim
2004 - 2006
Assistant Professor, Half-time Faculty
2002 - 2004
Adjunct Instructor, Part-time Faculty

2004 - 2007  
Providence Community Services, Tustin, CA
Licensed Contractor, Marriage and Family Therapist  

2003 - 2004
Hart Community Homes, Orange, CA
Family and Child Psychotherapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Internship             
 

2002 - 2003
South Coast Children’s Society, Costa Mesa, CA
Child Group and Emancipation Therapist to severely emotional disturbed children placed in group homes, Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Internship

2002 - 2003
Journey’s Counseling, Costa Mesa, CA     
Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Internship
                      
2001 - 2002
Vanguard University Counseling Center, Costa Mesa, CA
Therapist to college students, Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Traineeship

2000 - 2001 
Laura’s House, San Clemente, CA
Domestic Violence Therapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Traineeship

2000 - 2002
Olive Crest, Santa Ana, CA
Intensive Therapeutic Support Counselor

1999-2000
West Care Arizona, AZ
Case Manager/Domestic Violence Child Counselor  
 

Teaching Experience / Courses Taught

Working With Dreams
An exploration of difference approaches to dream work and interpretation in clinical practice; examination and consideration of the transference and countertransference aspects of dreams within the therapeutic relationship.  
Clinical Foundations
Introduction to the clinical and theoretical foundations of the field of clinical psychology;emphasis placed on the development and application of clinical skills. 
Psychodynamic Theory and Treatment                              
Development of clinical skills through academic classroom instruction and interactions and experiential learning.  Emphasis on psychodynamic modality. 
Advanced Psychopathology
Exploration of socio-cultural, spiritual, emotional, physiological and behavioral deviations of human behavior. Descriptive explanations, patterns of development, assessment and treatment models are covered. 
Group Psychotherapy   
Development of advanced theoretical knowledge and clinical skills through experiential learning and classroom instruction; emphasis placed on group therapy. 
Case Conceptualization  
Clinical casework with emphasis on case conceptualization, etiology, diagnosing both theoretically and according to the DSM-IV, and treatment planning. 
Clinical and Professional Development
Training of clinical skills, psychopathology, diagnoses, legal and ethical issues, report writing, treatment planning, and case conceptualization. 
Counseling Theories
Major counseling theories are introduced by covering key concepts, the nature of the therapeutic relationship, and techniques associated with each theory.  
Advanced Human Development                                                                 
In-depth exploration of human development through the biological, behavioral, socio-cultural, cognitive, and spiritual perspectives with an emphasis on attachment and clinical application. 
Clinical Psychopharmacology
Essentials of clinical psychopharmacology, which are tied directly with the treatment protocols for the spectrum of Axis I and II conditions as described in the DSM. 
 

Publications, Presentations And Reports

Gesell, B. (2013). A Hymn to Nature: Entering the Wilderness. Depth Insights, 5, 22-25. http://www.depthinsights.com/Depth-Insights-scholarly-ezine/e-zine-issue-5-fall-2013/a-hymn-to-nature-entering-the-wilderness-by-brenda-gesell/

Fall/Spring 2009
Presenter for Spousal and Partner Abuse Workshop
Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

Summer 2008
WASC Educational Effectiveness Report
Member of Editorial Team for the WASC Education Effectiveness Review Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

Fall 2007
Presenter for Child Abuse and Maltreatment Workshop   
Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA 

 

Psychological Testing Experience 

2002 - 2010
Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA
Lab Professor for Graduate Level Testing and Measurements
Graduate Program Clinical Psychology
 

Professional Affiliations

Clinical Fellow Membership, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT)
Clinical Member, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, (CAMFT)
Member, American Psychological Association (APA)
Member, International Association for Jungian Studies, (IAJS)                   
                                               

Honors, Awards, Scholarships And Fellowships

2000-2002
Director’s Scholarship and Teaching Fellowship
Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

1999-2000              
Volunteer Beyond Excellence Award
Crisis Intervention Team for the City, AZ

1997-1998
Outstanding Achievement and Excellence Award
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
California State University, Fullerton

1997-1998
Outstanding Service Award
Sociology Student Association
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
California State University, Fullerton

1997-1998
Golden Key National Honor Society
California State University, Fullerton 

 

Volunteer Experience

2007 - 2010
Floor Mom and Sisters for Freshman University Students  
Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

July 2007 
Royal Family Kids’ Camp
Marriage Family Therapist Volunteer
Sponsored by St. Andrews Church, Newport Beach, CA

1999 - 2000
Victim Advocate Crisis Intervention Team Volunteer
City’s Attorney Department, Bullhead City, AZ   
On-call assistance, arrive and provide counseling and referrals to victims at the scene of crisis situations. 

1999  
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Coordinator  
WestCare Arizona, AZ  
Organized awareness campaigns, designed informational materials and coordinated volunteers. 

1997 - 1998
Holiday Volunteer Coordinator                                                           
Family Solutions, Santa Ana, CA
Fund-raising, planning and coordination of events for 150+ abused and neglected adolescents. 

1997 - 1998
Counseling Workshop Volunteer
Precious Life Youth Shelter, Costa Mesa, CA
Created and taught curriculum to homeless, pregnant women.