About Us

Founding Directors

Daniel GutierrezDaniel Gutierrez
Daniel Gutierrez is the Vera W. Barkley Associate Professor in the Counselor Education program at William & Mary. In addition to his role in THRIVE, Dr. Gutierrez serves as the coordinator of the addictions emphasis for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, and the faculty director of the New Leaf Clinic. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.

The current focus of his research is on questions related to how individuals recover from significant life challenges and chronic stress.  He is especially interested in the process of thriving after adversity that results in increased motivation towards meaningful, value-based, compassionate, and prosocial behavior.

This line of questioning builds on his previous work in mental health and substance use disorder treatment and prevention, which has looked at individual and community thriving through various studies on improving access to effective counseling services, counseling outcome research, and developing the evidence-base for interventions. Dr. Gutierrez also has a special interest in examining the influence of spirituality, contemplative practices, and related existential factors (e.g., meaning in life, hope, purpose) on mental health and addiction recovery, which he believes is also significant in thriving. View Dr. Gutierrez's CV.

Relevant Publications by Dr. Gutierrez

Gutierrez, D., Mason, W. N., Dorais, S., & Fox, J. (2020). Gradually sudden: An Examination of the Vital Spiritual Experiences of those in addiction recovery. Journal of Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

Gutierrez, D., Dorais, S., & Goshorn, J. R. (2020). Recovery as Life Transformation: Examining the Relationships between Recovery, Hope, and Relapse. Substance use & misuse, 1-9.

Dehaven, M. J., Gimpel, N. A., Gutierrez, D., Kitzman-Carmichael, H., & Revens, K. (2020). Designing health care: A community health science solution for reducing health disparities by integrating social determinants and the effects of place. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Gutierrez, D. (2019). Spiritus contra spiritum: Addiction, hope, and the search for meaning. Journal of Spirituality in Clinical Practice. 6, 229-239. 

Gutierrez, D., Revens, K. E, & DeHaven M. J. (2019). The Development of a community counseling training clinic for Latino immigrants. Collaborations: Journal of Community Based Research in Practice. 20,1-15. 


Dean Spencer G. NilesSpencer G. Niles
Spencer G. Niles is the primary researcher for the Hope-Action Research Group, an international research team that has conducted research related to creating and sustaining hope for more than a decade — often focusing on high-risk populations. Dr. Spencer Niles served as Dean (2013-2020) and Professor (2013-) at the School of Education at William & Mary. Previously, he served as Distinguished Professor and Department Head for Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, he served as Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Virginia where he was also Assistant Dean for the Curry School of Education. View Dr. Niles's CV.

Relevant Publications by Dr. Niles


Niles, S. G., Amundson, N. E., Neault, R., & Yoon, H. J. (2020). Creating Careers with Hope in Difficult Times. San Diego, CA: Cognella Press.

Niles, S. G., Amundson, N. E., Neault, R., & Yoon, H. J. (2020). Career flow: A hope-action theory of career development. San Diego, CA: Cognella Press.

Sample Hope Research

Yoon, H. J., Bailey, N., Amundson, N., & Niles, S. (2019). The effect of a career development program based on the Hope-Action Theory: Hope to work for refugees in British Columbia. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. 47, 6-19.

Amundson, N. E., Goddard, T., Yoon, H. J., Niles, S. G. (2018).  Hope-centered interventions with unemployed clients. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 17, 87-98.

Clarke, A., Amundson, N. E., Niles, S. G., & Yoon, H. J. (2018). Hope:An agent of change for internationally educated professionals. Journal of Employment Counseling, 55, 155-165.

Yoon, H.J., In, H., Niles, S.G., Amundson, N.E., Smith, B.A. & Mills, L. (2015). The effects of hope on student engagement, academic performance, and vocational identity. Canadian Journal of Career Development. 14, 34-45.

Smith, B.A., Mills, L., Amundson, N., Niles, S., Yoon, H.J. & In, H. (2014). What helps and hinders post-secondary students who maintain high levels of hope despite experiencing significant barriers. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 13, 59-74.

Niles, S. G. (2014). Using an action-oriented hope-centered model of career interventions. Asia Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 4, 1-15.

Niles, S. G., In, H. & Amundson, N. (2014). Using an action-oriented hope-centered model of career development. Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling, 4, 1-13.

Faculty Fellows

Patrick R. Mullen, Senior Associate Fellow
Dr. Patrick R. Mullen is an assistant professor of counselor education and the faculty director for Project Empower in the William & Mary School of Education. He teaches graduate students in the master's and doctoral counselor education program with a focus on school counseling. View Dr. Mullen's full bio.

Stephanie Dorais, Faculty Fellow
Stephanie Dorais is an assistant professor at Kean University and an adjunct assistant professor in NYU's counseling program. Her research interests include spirituality, resilience, and longitudinal outcome measurement. She also currently works in private practice as a licensed professional counselor. 

Doctoral Fellows

Allison T. Dukes
Allison Dukes is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education program. Her clinical emphases include working with families and incarcerated citizens; her research interests include correctional counseling, trauma, and hope. 

Jennifer Niles
Jennifer Niles is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education program at William & Mary. Her clinical experience is in elementary school counseling and with children and families in child welfare. Jennifer’s research interests include school counseling and contemplative practices. 

Contact us at [[thrive]].