Rev. Sam Sewell, Director of Best Self USA (see www.bestselfusa.com), is a Pastoral Psychotherapist. Sam serves on the adjunct faculty of Naples Community Hospital as an instructor for Clinical Pastoral Education and serves as President of the Theological Center in Naples. He’s a member of Mensa, serving as Gifted Youth Coordinator, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a Member of the Association for Intelligence Officers. He provides commentary on mental health and religious issues to several media outlets. His award winning research on family issues is published in several languages, and he’s a member of Sigma Delta Chi Honor Society.
Sam’s wife Bunny is also Pastoral Psychotherapist. Sam and Bunny work together providing help, guidance, skill-building and support to their clientele. They met in 1989 when Bunny was a guest at a wedding Sam was officiating in Goodland. Afterwards, this gorgeous blonde came up to me and said “I don’t want you to pass out of my life,” Sam reported, “Then she turned around and walked away as I tried to recover my emotional balance, and not look like a slack jawed idiot. She must have liked the sermon!”
Bunny and Sam are about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They are partners in everything they do. Their children are grown, and living in San Francisco, San Antonio, and Jacksonville.
Sam founded Best Self USA in Kansa City in 1974 and moved to Naples in 1984. Since then, Bunny, Sam, and their associates have been providing private counseling, as well as executive coaching and management training. They’ve even created affordable self-help therapy. Sam says, “Not everyone needs psychotherapy. Most problems can be solved by learning skills. Solution-focused education costs less money and it is faster. Sometimes all people need is to learn how to do it right.”
Sam was the first member of his family to be born in a hospital. Sam was born and grew up in Randalia, Iowa (population 143) until he was seven years old. His family members were Iowa farmers of English and Dutch ancestry. They then moved to Waterloo, Iowa.
Sam hated going to school until he attended college because he found it boring. He says, “I made life miserable for my teachers. I would skip school to go to the library, so I could learn.” Sam recalls a notable exception – Mr. Morgan, a high school science teacher – who spent many hours personally tutoring Sam in chemistry and physics. Sam did enjoy Boy Scouts and his church youth group.
Sam joined the Navy after high school, and began his undergraduate work in Psychology through the Navy Tuition Aid Program. Sam attended United States Armed Forces Institute 1960 in Princeton, the Naval Aviation Academy 1961-1962, the University of Puerto Rico in 1962 and finally the University of SW Louisiana in 1963-1964 where he received his Bachelor Degree. After his duty in the Navy, Sam did his graduate work at the University of Missouri (Kansas City) in 1965 and then attended seminary.
Soon after, he was transferred to the Navy Reserve. He spent a summer living in the north woods of Minnesota. It was then that he realized that the behavioral sciences were useful – but not sufficient – to satisfy his need to be a professional ‘people helper.’ Sam then decided to attend St Paul’s Theological Seminary in 1965-1966 and Union Center for Ministerial and Religious Studies in 1966-1967, where he received his PhD as a Pastoral Psychotherapist.
Sam was ordained in 1970. He is a long-time member of Moorings Presbyterian, where he teaches Biblical Scholarship.. He was also a catalyst for legally establishing properly credentialed clergy as Mental Health Professionals in the State of Florida. Sam is a life member of Mensa, the international high IQ society, and serves as Gifted Youth Coordinator for the local chapter. Sam says, “Working with gifted people is very rewarding. Some individuals have a big brain, but never got a user’s manual. We provide the user’s manual.” http://bestselfusa.com/best-self-noetics/
Sam’s hobbies include aviation and muscle cars. Sam is proud of ‘Black Beauty’ – a 1981 VOLVO Bertone Coupe. There were only 912 made, in Turin Italy. For muscle car aficionados, Sam’s car features anti-sway bars, chassis braces, and rear air shocks by Bilstein. Sam’s “Black Beauty” also features a highly modified 5.0 Ford V-8. So, Rev. Sewell has a 34 year old Volvo that reaches 60 miles per hour from a full stop in only 5.8 seconds. It won Best of Show Trophy at the West Coast Muscle Car Show.
Check out Sam’s web sites and learn more about the Lenten Soup for the Soul Series which he hosts, as well as Mensa Forums and book discussion groups.
Best Self USA Clinic – http://bestselfusa.com/
Theological Center in Naples – http://tcnaples.blogspot.com/