1) What is your current occupation?
I am a licensed psychologist, working at a group practice in Southwest Ohio where I specialize in treating personality disorders and adults with developmental trauma backgrounds. Most of my clinical work consists individual therapy and facilitating DBT groups, although I sometimes work with couples. In my role as Director of Training, I supervise doctoral-level practicum students and am in the process of developing a predoctoral internship program that will launch this fall. I also teach undergraduate classes, part-time, at the University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash College. Some weekends, I occupy myself with board meetings and outreach events related to the Ohio Psychological Association, where I serve as a regional representative, and the Dayton Area Psychological Association, where I am President-Elect.
2) Where were you educated?
I completed my undergraduate coursework at Kent State University, then completed a year of master’s-level coursework the University of Dayton, before transferring to Nova Southeastern University where I earned my PhD in clinical psychology. I stayed in South Florida for my predoctoral internship year, rotating through inpatient and outpatient facilities at Henderson Behavioral Health. After graduation, I moved back t0 my home state of Ohio to complete a residency at Cordell & Associates, the practice where I now serve as director of training.
3) Why did you choose this field?
I was looking for a career in which I would be able recline in a comfortable chair for long stretches of time. Just kidding. I was hooked on psychology from the first week of my undergraduate studies. Early on, I was a research assistant in Dr. David Riccio’s animal learning laboratories at Kent State. While it was a very valuable experience, after a couple of semesters I realized I would probably not be a happy person were I to devote to decades running aversive learning trials. For the remainder of my undergraduate years, I worked in Dr. Nancy Docherty’s labs, where I transcribed and coded audio recordings of individuals experiencing psychosis. It was fascinating work, and propelled me toward a career in which I would be able to help individuals with serious mental illness find the meaning in their lives. At the graduate level, I was lucky enough to be a member of Dr. Steve Gold’s T.R.I.P. research team at Nova Southeastern University. It was here that my interest and energy began to focus in the realm of trauma psychology.
4) What is most rewarding about this work for you?
More than once, at the termination of treatment, I have told a client who has made great strides that I too have grown as a result of the treatment process. I genuinely mean this; it is wonderful to be in a profession that perpetually challenges me to expand my awareness and reconsider my assumptions. The varieties of subjective experience seem to be infinite; exploring consciousness is endlessly fascinating to me.
5) What is most frustrating about your work?
In my region, we do not have nearly enough therapists who are trained and willing to treat complex trauma and dissociative disorders. It would be excellent if more graduate programs would increase the emphasis placed on educating students in the principles and techniques of trauma-informed care.
6) How do you keep your life in balance (i.e., what are your hobbies)?
This is such an excellent question. As a psychotherapist, I often find myself helping individuals to move toward productive and emotionally fulfilling lives, without overextending themselves. In my own life, I have found that scheduling “unscheduled time” is absolutely essential. To be sure, there are a lot of 12-14 hour days as an early career psychologist, but I am pretty good about carving out one day per weekend where I can recharge my batteries (it happens most weeks!). In my down time, I enjoy going on daytrips with my wife, getting creative in the kitchen, and making music with friends.
7) What are your future plans?
I am very excited to be joining the staff of Trauma Psychology News as the Associate Editor. In the future, I am looking forward to developing the predoctoral internship program at my practice, continuing research efforts in the area of nonpathological dissociation, and (hopefully) securing a tenure-track teaching position.