Mario De La Garza

Counseling Director and Clinical Assistant Professor

Department of Counseling

Mario De La Garza


Ph.D., University of North Texas


SMU - East Campus
6116 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300
Dallas, TX 75206



Dr. De La Garza earned his master's and doctoral degrees in counseling from the University of North Texas. He earned his bachelor's degree in biology at Abilene Christian University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a supervisor credential in the state of Texas as well as a National Certified Counselor.

Before entering academia full time, Dr. De La Garza spent fifteen years working with at-risk adolescents. His work with this population began as a long-term substitute teacher at a juvenile detention center. He then worked for Communities in Schools of North Texas as a high school campus manager providing services to students at-risk of dropping out. He spent eight years as a student assistance counselor at the middle school level in the Denton Independent School District seeing students individually and in groups. In that role, he developed and facilitated classroom lessons that focused on bullying prevention, resisting pressures, decision-making, diversity, suicide prevention, relationship violence prevention, and other topics of importance for young people. Dr. De La Garza worked closely with administrators, teachers, and guardians to serve students and help them reach their full social, emotional, and academic potentials.

Dr. De La Garza joined the SMU Counseling Program faculty in 2017. He teaches or has taught the following courses at SMU: Counseling Theories; Basic Clinical Methods; Lifespan Human Development; Research Design and Statistics; Elementary and Secondary School Counseling; and Career, Cognitive, and Educational Assessment. Dr. De La Garza serves as one of the chapter faculty advisors for SMU’s chapter (Sigma Mu) of Chi Sigma Iota, the International Counseling Honor Society.

Before coming to Southern Methodist University, Dr. De La Garza spent three years teaching and advising students in the counselor education program at the University of Southern Maine. At USM, he advised all students in the program studying to become school counselors. While in Maine, he taught the following courses: Orientation to the Counseling Profession, School Guidance Programs and Services, The Practice of School Counseling, Fundamentals of Counseling Theories, Fundamentals of Counseling Skills, and Internship in Counselor Education.

Dr. De La Garza is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the Texas Counseling Association, and the Texas Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

Dr. De La Garza will serve as the 2023-2024 President of the Texas Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.