William J. Weitzel LMSW, ACSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With a rich background in working with adults, adolescents, and children, he has incorporated a personal interest in the study and practice of mindfulness and meditation into psychotherapy.
Bill’s interest in psychology and helping others began when he was stationed in West Berlin, Germany in the U.S. Air Force. He began coaching West Berlin intercity youth learning to play baseball and compete in an American baseball league. Upon returning home Bill completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at Wayne State University while continuing to work in a residential setting with neglected and delinquent boys. Before pursuing his master’s degree in social work he served as a child care worker developing treatment programs for troubled youth. He was also a founder of the Detroit Transit Alternative, a runaway house for teenagers on the eastside of Detroit.
Attending Wayne State University of Social Work, Bill specialized in clinical psychotherapy and administrative studies. He completed an internship at the Kingswood Psychiatric Hospital before becoming a director of social services at the VFW National Home, Eaton Rapids, Michigan. He supervised the counseling staff and provided training for house parents. Bill next accepted a position as a therapist and residential unit director at the Donald M. Whaley Children’s Center, Flint, Michigan, where he also became a clinician in the Whaley Outpatient Clinic.
In connection with his work at the Whaley Center, Bill became an instructor for the Michigan Association of Children’s Agencies in training child care workers in residential treatment facilities around Michigan. After a few years Bill authored the Development Community Model, an organizational consulting manual for human services agencies that incorporates the research and management practices of Rensis Likert from the University of Michigan, Institute of Social Research. While at the Whaley, Bill’s work was published in various journals on the treatment and placement of children in foster care and adoption. He spoke on this topic at many conferences and agencies throughout the country. Bill also took post graduate classes in organizational development at the University of Michigan, Institute of Social Research.
Bill’s experience in organizational growth led to him to work in program development for non-profit agencies and organizations. He was instrumental in securing funding for building new facilities and establishing new programs and endowments at the GMI Engineering and Management Institute, Flint, Porter Hills Retirement Communities, Grand Rapids, Aquinas College, and Grand Valley State University.
Working with a Grand Rapid’s organizational psychologist, Bill utilized his interpersonal and networking skills, and, interest in career development to consult with business executives in career transition. This experience complimented work with undergraduate students on vocational choices and job placement and eventually led to Bill becoming a coordinator for the Career Transition Ministry at St. Robert Newminster Church, Ada, an affiliate of the Employment and Resource Network. Bill was also member of the U.S. Department of Labor panel on job clubs in West Michigan.
In 2010, Bill joined the outpatient clinical staff at the Life Guidance Services, Grand Rapids, as an intern and concentrated on clients with chronic pain. Using mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises, he helped many LGS clients become more comfortable and able to deal with the anxiety and depression that accompanies chronic pain. Bill’s experiences later led to a presentation at the clinic on Pain, Suffering and the Biology of Belief. His transition into clinical psychotherapy was followed by work at the Student Counseling Center, Grand Valley State University, and, the Behavioral Health Department at Catholic Charities. Bill’s uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy in working with clients on a range of problems including anxiety, depression, addiction, marital adjustment and stress. His most recent work has focused on teaching a six-week stress management class using material from the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. His class was featured in the Grand Rapids Press article, Stomp Out Stress.