My name is Michael J. Gargano. I am a native New Yorker and an Italian-American cis male. I hold degrees in philosophy, comparative religion and counseling. Forces in life have pulled me to understand the human condition from different academic, personal, and professional angles. I have always felt a calling to help others.
For the longest time I contemplated joining the priesthood or religious life. I quickly realized that I was not meant to follow that path. I found myself in graduate school at St. Bonaventure University pursuing advance studies in counseling and later pursuing doctoral work in clinical psychology.
The decision to study counseling grew from committment to service and a strong want to end suffering. I longed to help people find their voice, ease pain, and end suffering. Every human being has essential goodness and uniqueness. The decisions we make sometimes lead us down roads we cannot always avoid. Choices and consequences are inescapable. Compassion, understanding, and empathy are the core lenses I rely upon to help people make healthy changes. I believe second chances are important if someone is willing to do the work required for transformation. Breaking down walls of fear, self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, and trauma is the rewarding part helping others heal.
I find inspiration in people watching, movies,music, literature, philosophy, religious traditions the world over, art, neuroscience, psychology, social activism, nature, intellectual conversations, coffee shops, the clientele I serve, and the world around me. I try my hardest to be an optimist but sometimes life makes that a challenge.
I work as Senior Counselor at Loyola Recovery Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c)3, located in Hornell, NY. The clinical work we offer grounded in the belief that every human life matters and people can recover. I am also a person in long-term recovery (Last drink July 20, 2014). I strive to live life with openness, honesty, and authenticity and impart these qualities on clients and others I meet along the journey. I am blessed to work with people who view people with intrinsic worth and not diseases or labels.
It is my sincere hope to inspire you to grow in whatever way you might need. I do not consider myself to be an expert. Rather, I see my mission as an explorer of ideas with a sense of risk-taking to share with the world. George Whitman once said,
“All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher.”
Life is not always a bed of roses or sunshine. Each day has something new to offer and teach me.
‘Keep coming back!