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Mountain States Spotlight with ADL Regional Board Member Matthew LeBauer

  • November 12, 2018

ADL Regional Board Member and psychotherapist Matthew LeBauer shares his passions for Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), being underwater (literally!) and being involved in the critical mission of ADL.

How did you first become involved in ADL? How are you involved now?

My friend, Noah Geisel, invited me to the (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) Marade the winter I moved here in 2008. Since then, I’ve been to many ADL events, became a Robert B. Sturm Leadership Fellow, and am now on the regional board. I’m involved in several committees including Education, and Advocacy and Engagement.

What do you do in your professional life?

I am a psychotherapist in private practice in Cherry Creek, Denver. I focus on individual and couples counseling and relationships, working through a social justice lens.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I dreamt of being a performer, until I met my anxiety, and we became close.

Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail?

I was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. Some of my family came from the Ukraine and Bessarabia. Some of my maternal family members were whalers on Nantucket.

What’s your favorite holiday?

I love the rituals of Passover. Seder has always been a favorite experience of mine, and I’ve celebrated it all over the world, including in Cuba, with many different people. Thanksgiving is also a favorite holiday – I love that it’s dedicated to practicing and experiencing gratitude. Plus, it’s my favorite time of year. I get to spend it with my partner, my mother, stepfather, brothers and their families in Asheville, NC.

What’s your favorite food?

Unfair. I couldn’t name a favorite. Most things with sugar, salt and fat. Crunchiness is definitely a favorite quality. Oh, and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

What are you reading?

I read many books at once, and most are therapy related. Some on the nightstand now include: Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, White Fragility by Dr. Robin DiAngelo; Dare to Lead by Brene Brown; How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan; anything by the Gottmans or Esther Perel; and The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson for fun.

What’s a special place you have visited?

Bonaire, a Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela, is a very special place to me. It’s where I learned to scuba dive and discovered the serenity of being underwater.

What’s one thing every person should know or experience?

Non-defensive, non-reactive acceptance of another’s distress, holding someone’s pain without rescuing them from it.

What teacher or class stands out to you the most in your education and why?

I’ve learned more in my own long-term, introspective, existentialist psychodynamic psychotherapy than from any of the classes I’ve taken.

What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?

Recently, I’ve been most passionate about social justice work and using my passing white male privilege to create a healing impact on the world around me and abolish the patriarchy. Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam – the pursuit of justice and repair of the world – are critical elements of this passion. I also love talking about scuba diving and the experience of being underwater.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Jogging, napping or traveling.

What would be impossible for you to give up?

My work.

If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Practicing curiosity, compassion and introspection in relationships.

Tell me a story that immediately pops into your mind that was a defining or significant moment for you.

My couples therapist said to me, “Lead from the hurt.” Rather than expressing myself through anger, I was taught to lead from the hurt – express my more vulnerable emotions, such as hurt, fear, sadness, and loneliness. When I see those are accepted and heard, the impulse to anger subsides.

Why do you choose to make a financial investment in ADL?

I believe in and support the mission of the ADL – social justice, equity and fair treatment for all are core pursuits in my own life. I get to support ADL’s impacts on a larger scale than I could ever achieve on my own.

Complete this sentence: For me, ADL is

… an unfortunate necessity in this world, doing the hard work to make this a safer, more just place for everyone.