Anthony Mielke Headshot

Graduate Programs

Anthony Mielke

Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy

Education

  • DMFT Argosy University
  • MA Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • BA University of St. Thomas

About

Anthony Mielke joined Mount Mercy in 2018. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist (in Minnesota) and an AAMFT approved supervisor candidate.

Clinically, Mielke has provided services in a variety of settings, including in-home mental health and family therapy services to at-risk youth, families, and adults, as well as couples and family therapy in an outpatient setting. Prior to Mount Mercy, he worked as a therapist and clinical intern supervisor at Anicca Day Treatment Program in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Mielke’s academic work is focused on integrating existential and systemic theory to develop a systemic approach to masculinity studies. He has presented and offered trainings using this approach at professional conferences, graduate programs, and clinical agencies. Mielke has also held several graduate-level teaching appointments.

He completed a doctorate in marriage and family therapy at Argosy University, a master’s in marriage and family therapy from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a bachelor's in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas. He is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy as a clinical fellow. 

Q&A

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As long as I remember having academic interests, I was interested in family relationships. I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy and took classes on the philosophy of human relationships whenever possible. At the time, I had no interest or desire to work in the counseling field but heard great things about a psychology professor who taught general psychology and the psychology of marriage and the family. The general psych class got me hooked on the field of psychology, and the marriage and family class had me sold. After I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. After I finished my MA, I moved forward with pursuing my doctorate in marriage and family therapy. Throughout this process, I realized a passion for the practice of marriage and family therapy, as well as for educating and supervising emerging therapist in the field.

I came to Mount Mercy as part of the MFT faculty because of the unique opportunity the program presented. In my role as faculty, I am able to teach and mentor MA and PhD students, supervise student interns at the Olson Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, pursue my research interests, and maintain a small private practice in the Cedar Rapids community. The opportunity provided by the Mount Mercy MFT program was in many ways a dream job, and I am grateful to be part of the Mount Mercy community.

My favorite part about working with MFT graduate students is witnessing their personal and professional growth throughout their time in the program. I love being able to celebrate their accomplishments in the classroom and as practicum students. It is a moving experience to watch students gain trust in themselves and their innate ability to develop as empathic and effective scholars and healers in our community. Some of the most edifying experiences for me have been when a student integrates a new skill into their practice as a student-therapist, overcomes self-doubt and completes a difficult assignment, or experiences an intellectual or emotional breakthrough as part of their education process. I also really enjoy the close, collaborative relationships that are formed between students and faculty in our program. Because of our cohort model and focus on building community, we have the opportunity to work closely with all of our students.

One of the most surprising things the students in our program experience is that personal vulnerability is encouraged and supported. Students often come into the program with the assumption that therapists need to be a blank slate, unflappable, devoid of reactivity or personal emotions. As therapists, we use ourselves as the “tools” of the profession. We strive to honor the humanity of our clients but forget to honor and foster our own humanity. Students often hold judgment on themselves for their own struggles, vulnerabilities, and fears, but in our program, acknowledging, embracing, and working with these experiences is encouraged. This is surprising to many students but is one of the most important factors in being an effective therapist. I have had several experiences in which students fear their personal struggles will be seen as weakness by the faculty. We take human weakness as a given however and encourage students to embrace these parts of themselves in order to be fully present as therapists while working with clients.

Most of my academic work is focused on theory development. I am currently developing an original theory of masculine psychology called the Ecosystemic Masculinity Paradigm (ESMP). The purpose of ESMP is to integrate existential factors into the conceptualization of masculinity in western culture, particularly when it comes to the harmful aspects of masculine ideology. With this paradigm, I am essentially attempting to answer the question, “Why do men choose to adhere to masculine ideological norms in spite of clear negative consequences to themselves and those they love?”   

Additionally, I am developing an approach to promoting the well-being of therapists that I have coined Loving Witness. This approach promotes therapist well-being and facilitate meaningful therapeutic relationships that encourage and foster the health and wellness of both client and therapist.

Finally, I am the primary faculty for the leadership track in our PhD program. In this role, I am developing a comprehensive approach to organizational and community leadership that incorporates the theoretical foundations of marriage and family therapy, the ethical code of marriage and family therapists, and social justice theories in order to form effective, systemically-oriented leaders on the community and organizational levels.

The high point of my career thus far was presenting my original theory of masculine psychology at the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors Oxford Family Counseling Institute at Oxford University. This institute took place at St. Hilda’s College at Oxford University, and I had the opportunity to present my original work to an international audience that included preeminent therapists and scholars from the United States, the UK, and Turkey. I was also accompanied by my wife and three young children on the trip, which was really a dream come true.

  1. Assume the best in one another. Most people, most of the time, are trying their best to get by and find love, including your partner. Sometimes these efforts are hurtful, but rarely are they hurtful on purpose.
  2. Take your past seriously. One of the biggest myths we carry is that we can cut-off from our past experiences and current emotions without negative consequences and that our past doesn’t impact our present experiences and shape our future. Each of your stories matter and pain is meant to be felt, not denied.
  3. Dream together. Hope for the future is vital to the life of a couple. Celebrate and support each other’s dreams, and honor the individuality of your partner as an asset to you and your family, not a threat to your connection as a couple.
  4. In the words of Rilke, “Let everything happen to you/beauty and terror/Just keep going. No feeling is/final.”