My first course in the mental health field was An Introduction to Psychology. It was taught by the professor who told us that every day he went to the movies—his psychotherapy sessions. I took every undergraduate psychology course he taught and eventually became his teaching assistant.
After graduating from college with a Bachelors degree with a dual major in Psychology and Speech Arts & Sciences, I was accepted into a Doctoral Program in Clinical & School Psychology. My dissertation focused on identifying desirable characteristics of psychotherapists. In two and a half years, I completed a Master's degree and a Ph.D.
I then began my first job as a school psychologist and additionally started teaching as an adjunct instructor at a local university. I taught An Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Understanding Human Behavior, and Counseling Psychology. I was told that teaching was a great way to prepare for the state licensing exam—and it was.
I also began working at a community counseling center, where I gained invaluable clinical experience and accrued the required number of supervised hours.
After becoming a licensed psychologist, I opened a clinical practice. I was evaluating and counseling with high school students as a school psychologist by day. After school hours, I began shifting my focus from teaching to seeing private clients as a clinical psychologist.
My passion for psychology continued to flourish. And I cultivated a unique interest in helping people during times of crisis ... in contrast to traditional crisis intervention that focussed on the aftermath of a crisis.
I was intent on understanding ways of reaching people during the earliest phase of traumatic exposure—potentially preventing acute stress reactions from becoming chronic and debilitating stress disorders.
I invested a year wearing body armor and "riding shotgun" during the night tour with police officers, supervisors, and paramedics in police ambulances. I ultimately developed a protocol to empower first responders to address the "hidden trauma"—traumatic stress. This led to the creation of Acute Traumatic Stress Management (ATSM).
Eventually, I left the schools, enabling me to realize the potential of the many hats I could wear as a psychologist. I became an author, speaker, and traumatic stress consultant for schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and healthcare providers, law enforcement and fire/rescue agencies, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, and diverse public and private entities worldwide.
Recognizing the potential of organizations in addressing emergent psychological needs, I founded several organizations, the most recent being The National Center for Emotional Wellness.
I vividly remember the inception of CuriosityStream, launched by the founder of the Discovery Channel, and thought that a website offering practical information during a crisis would be beneficial—so I created CRISISStream.
I became increasingly engaged in collaborating with the legal system as a forensic psychologist. Forensic psychologists focus on the intersection of psychology and the legal system. I specialize in three areas: 1. Emotional Distress Claims, 2. Fitness for Duty Evaluations, and 3. Fitness to Practice Evaluations.
For years, I have enjoyed evaluating law enforcement candidates—providing another set of eyes and ears for law enforcement agencies. I also conduct evaluations to determine if an individual is psychologically suitable to be issued a firearm.
My interest in the theatre prompted me to create and mount a theatrical production. The theatre provides a unique opportunity for people to share stories of overcoming and becoming. Today, SESSIONS is positioned for the theatre and video-on-demand (VOD) executives.
As a psychologist, I have been fortunate to wear many fascinating hats. And with all that I have done, I enjoy "going to the movies" every day.
Today, I am working to inspire and enlighten a new generation of mental health professionals through dynamic interactive workshops and presentations.