Alumni Spotlight Stories

John Carroll, M.S. '18, Former Broadway Dancer, Performs Second Act as Therapist Focused on LGBTQ+ Issues

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For parents uncertain of how to speak with their children about LGBTQ+ topics and issues, Mercy College alumnus John Carroll, M.S. 18 offers a myriad of helpful tools and guidance shaped from his experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City. Recently quoted in a Redbook magazine article on how to teach children to love and accept others, Carroll emphasizes the importance of starting these conversations early in a child’s development process. 

“Starting conversations with our children regarding current LGBTQ+ issues early on fosters a mindset of tolerance and inclusiveness throughout the child’s development," Carroll said. "Children are very perceptive and will take their cues on how to interpret the information from you. Having calm, grounded, mindful conversations with your children, holding space for any questions they may have, allows the child to better understand the issues and build empathy and compassion for others.”

“Therapist” is a relatively new role for Carroll, who previously spent 15 years dancing professionally on Broadway. His time as a dancer wound down in 2015, which led him to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy at the encouragement of his own therapist, who happened to be a Mercy College alumnus.

Carroll admired the aptitude of his therapist and inquired as to what educational program he completed. When Carroll was told about Mercy, he reached out to Dr. Evan Imber-Black, professor and program director of the College’s Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program, who solidified his decision to follow his career interests and apply. “Dr. Imber-Black took a chance on me, even though I was a ‘second act’ student,” Carroll said.

In his last year of graduate school, Carroll was required to practice field work in an internship setting. Fortunately, his internship placement, the Institute for Human Identity (IHI), a NYC-based non-profit psychotherapy and training center that has been providing LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy for over 40 years, hired him directly after graduation.

At present day, Carroll proudly continues his work at IHI Therapy Center while growing his newly formed private practice in Manhattan, Equity Therapy, where he serves individuals, families and couples. He looks forward to growing his practice, being a resource for theater professionals, taking on a Mercy intern, hiring on additional therapists and continuing to be a service to the community.

Mercy is fortunate to have alumni of the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy program such as Carroll influencing the perspectives of future generations to practice inclusivity and providing a safe space for traditionally marginalized individuals to obtain treatment for mental health challenges.

To view the article, as well as learn more about strategies for teaching tolerance and acceptance and supplemental resources, please click here.