Jon Talebreza-May, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Assistant Professor
Areas I Teach 

Areas of Research & Specialization

My research interests include masculinity and men's issues, race and ethnicity in clinical practice, rural social work practice, and studying how the individual, the family, the community, society, and the world influence each other.

I specialize in clinical practice with adults with a theoretical focus on attachment, psychodynamic psychotherapy, transference in the clinical relationship, neuroscience, and mindfulness. Clinical practice in social work sees clinical practice from a perspective that helps clients to view their personal problems in a broader context that includes the macro experience.


PhD, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Psychotherapy, 2013

MSW, with a specialization in Administration and Community Organizing, New Mexico Highlands University, 2004

Why I study social work

I study social work because I’m interested in studying the nature of suffering and how to work with it in a way that empowers us to retain our dignity, humility, compassion, and connection to each other. I study social work because I want to find the places in people that are broken and help them lead a life of healing. I also strive to find places in people that are strong and help them build on those.

I know from many hours of experience with people that as a species we are capable of transforming the parts of ourselves that feel the most broken and victimized into gifts we can share with the world. When that transformation happens it is purely magical to witness.

I strive to study social work in this way not only for my clients, but for myself as well. I am a professor and I am also a student of life. Teaching others about social work gives me the opportunity to continue learning everyday not only from what I teach but also from those I teach. In the end it is the human relationships that happen in the teaching and learning that, in my opinion, are the most valuable.

What I would tell a student considering social work

I think Rumi, the Persian mystic poet, said it best when he said,

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

Social work is probably many things you think it is and many things you think it is not. Over the course of the degree it will become clear, if it is not yet already, that we work with all of those voices that have not had a chance to come into the light of day. We all have those oppressed voices inside of us. It can feel like a heavy burden sometimes to work with people who have voices that have not been heard, but it is actually a joy. Without you, that particular voice may never have been heard. The hardship of seeing what life sometimes can lead to may want to make you turn away and quit trying (which in social work we call burn-out), but as Rumi says, you will be asked to “Come, yet again, come, come.”

Personal Affiliations

National Association of Social Workers, Oregon Chapter August 2015-present

American Men’s Studies Association 2016-Present

Published Works

Talebreza-May, J. (2015).  Cultural trauma in the lives of men in Northern New Mexico. Journal of Men’s Studies.  June 2015 23:119-132

Select Presentations

2/26/16: Bias, Bigotry, and Prejudice in the Rural Community. National Association of Social Workers Rural Social Worker’s Network

3/16/14: Bringing Cultural History Into Clinical Social Work Practice. National Association of Social Workers-Missouri Chapter Back to Basics Symposium