Michael Kaplan, LCSW
Counseling in Columbia, MO
Although I’ve been at it for a long time, counseling is actually a second career for me. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Journalism from Michigan State University, and then spent several years working as a project coordinator for Encyclopaedia Britannica in Chicago. This work gave me the opportunity to travel abroad and meet people from many different countries.
Books can have a lasting effect on people’s lives, and the book that helped move me toward a career in mental health was The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing, by Judith L Rappoport. Published in the 1980s, this book illustrated the heartbreaking effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I found its descriptions both fascinating and tragic, and it helped me understand the importance of effective mental health care.
In 1996 I began working at what is now known as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, a nonprofit organization providing education and advocacy for people with mental illness. A few years later I returned to school to earn a Master of Social Work with a clinical emphasis at the University of Missouri. This led to a position with a community mental health center in Columbia, where I worked as a case manager, and later as a therapist. I led several groups at the center, on topics such as anger management and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT teaches mindfulness and other skills to help manage intense, painful emotions.
In 2006 I opened my private practice on Forum Boulevard, moving to my current downtown location in 2012. For much of this time, I also served on the staff at the University of Missouri Counseling Center. In addition, for 11 years I taught a class at the MU School of Social Work on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Throughout my career, I feel fortunate to have worked with clients from many diverse backgrounds, learning much from them while sharing their counseling journey.
My wife and I have been married for more than 20 years, and we have one child. One of my greatest joys was having the privilege to be a stay-at-home parent during the first few years of our son’s life.
My professional qualifications include: