In 1982, while I was still in graduate school at UC Davis, Dr. Rader opened up a sister program to the one San Pedro Peninsula Hospital. The new program was located at South Bay Hospital, Redondo Beach, California. Jerry McDonald was appointed program director and I became a clinical supervisor along with Dr. Lealya Gary.
The counseling staff were top drawer, and we functioned as a great team. Staff included Jerry Buchko, John Strouse, Debby LaChapelle, Billy LaChapelle, Joe Sweeney, Elsie Tyson, Nicky Jeffers, Judi Anne Carol, Mike LaBleu, Michael Lord, Kathy Hauber, Steve Moberg, Steve Powell and Frank Defry. While the program was closely modeled after San Pedro’s it had one important difference — the Alumni Program.
Jerry Mc Donald saw great potential in creating an active alumni program. He developed a program that trained former patients to facilitate aftercare groups to support our patients and their families after completing treatment. The Alumni Program contributed to our phenomenal success. Our program made a lasting impression on the South Bay recovering community. (If you attend the South Bay AA Round-Up, which usually takes place on the July 4th weekend, you can meet many of the men and women we helped.)
From 1983 to 1986, I had the privilege of being the Clinical Director of the Eating Disorders Unit of San Pedro Peninsula Hospital. The program was developed by Dr. Judi Hollis, author of Fat is a Family Affair. Judy created a terrific program. The staff was remarkable: Dr. Katherine Ruccione, Jack Soll, Michael Berman, Michael Lucid, Brenda Carl, Ralph Hoetger, Susan Owen, Anne Feakes, and Margie Dourmak.
In 1986, with both sadness and anticipation, I resigned from both South Bay Hospital and San Pedro Peninsula Hospital to fulfill the final requirement of my doctoral program — a one-year internship in psychology at Fairfield Hills Hospital in Newton, Connecticut.
The training program was outstanding. During my first rotation I had the opportunity to work with severely disturbed patients and their families. My second rotation was spent in a drug treatment program called EDON House. (EDON is an acronym for End Dependency on Narcotics.) The clinical experiences at Fairfield Hospital rounded out my clinical education.
After completing and defending my doctoral dissertation in 1987, which studied the effect of matching patients with counselors, I graduated from UC Davis.
I was eager to return to Southern California to open a private practice. From 1987 to 2004 I had a very successful private practice at The Center for Counseling and Recovery, which I co-founded with Roger Andes. Here we helped individuals and families suffering from a wide range of personal problems. I treated thousands of men, women, and children who needed help coping with the many challenges and adjustment problems inherent in life, especially during the first and second stages of recovery.
I was also a member of the International Training Staff of The Kempler Institute, through which I trained family therapists in Southern California, Scandinavia and Holland. I also consulted for treatment programs across the nation, training staff in group therapy, family therapy, and chemical dependency counseling techniques. I lectured internationally and nationally on group therapy, intervention, the science of recovery, and family therapy.
I left private practice in 2005 to accept the position of Chief Clinical Officer of Cumberland Heights in Nashville, Tennessee. My time at Cumberland Heights was memorable as I witnessed firsthand the challenges that treatment programs are facing in attempting to integrate drug replacement therapy and psychotropic medications in the treatment of addiction. Homesick for the west coast, I left Cumberland Heights in 2007.
I moved back to California, and accepted the position of Clinical Director of La Ventana, an addictions treatment center in Malibu. La Ventana provided an unprecedented level of individualized care. I co-designed the program with Ed Lacy, the program’s former executive director. I am very proud of the program we developed.
In January of 2008 I returned to private practice. I am currently lecturing, writing, training therapists, and busy promoting my books, Love Secrets – Revealed (HCI Books, 2006); 12 Stupid Things that Mess Up Recovery (Hazelden, 2008); 12 Smart Things to do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone,12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends, and the newly released book 12 More Stupid Things that Mess Up Recovery.
I am very proud of all of these books but especially 12 Smart Things because it discusses a very important and often overlooked area of recovery – emotional sobriety. Hazelden assigned Vince Hyman, an editor, to work with me on it. This was one the best collaboration I have had in my professional career. I am certain you will enjoy what we have created. Vince also worked with me on the two subsequent books I wrote for Hazelden on making amends and on further exploring the stupid things we do to mess up recovery.
I have produced and directed several audio programs on various topics in recovery and about relationships and how to better hold on to ourselves. You can learn more about these in the bookstore.
I have also produced a DVD program for chemical dependency programs. It is titled The Therapeutic Benefits of Group Therapy and is designed to be used in conjunction with my pamphlet from Hazelden titled, How to Get The Most Out of Group Therapy. You can learn more about this instructional DVD on my website.