You clicked on my name or picture, right? And now you've ended up on my bio page. It's not too late to turn back! If you stay here long enough, you'll learn far more about me than you could have possibly wanted to know. You'd probably be a lot better off reading about the model for understanding and helping behaviorally challenging kids -- it's now called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) -- I originated and described in my books The Explosive Child and Lost at School. If you don't find the biographical stuff to be riveting, there are lots of links to help you navigate away from this page.
Officially, I'm currently adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech and Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia, after having served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20 years. Way more important than the titles is the non-profit organization I founded – called Lives in the Balance – which aims to disseminate the CPS model through no-cost web-based programming and to provide advocacy and support for behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers. If you haven't visited the Lives in the Balance website yet...well, it's not my place to tell you what to do, but that website is going to do you a whole lot more good than reading about me.
I attended the University of Florida as an undergrad, where I was very lucky to have crossed paths with Dr. Betsy Altmaier, who sparked my interest in psychology (she's now retired, but was at the University of Iowa for a long time). I'm a proud graduate of the clinical psychology program at Virginia Tech, where it was my remarkable good fortune to have had Dr. Tom Ollendick as my mentor and Dr. George Clum as a clinical supervisor. And I completed my psychology internship at Children's Hospital in Washington, DC, where I got lucky again: a psychologist named Mary Ann McCabe and social worker named Lorraine Lougee were among my clinical supervisors there.
I consult extensively to families, general and special education schools, inpatient and residential facilities, and systems of juvenile detention, and have come to know some truly amazing people through this work...people who care deeply about kids with behavioral challenges and are passionate about treating them and their caregivers in ways that are humane and effective. I also lecture widely throughout the world. My research has been funded by, among others, the Stanley Research Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Mental Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. I had two new books come out in 2016: Lost and Found, which is the followup to Lost at School, and includes comments and input from many of the educators with whom I've worked over the years; and Raising Human Beings, which is a book for all parents. They're both available in the CPS Store on this website.
I'm very fortunate to be associated with some wonderful and talented colleagues at Lives in the Balance these days: Liz Rudman, who oversees conference planning and lots of other things; Gale Kurtz, our Executive Director; Kim Hopkins-Betts, our Director of Outreach and Communications; Lianna Reagan, our Director of Advocacy; Jen Winkler, the Research Director; and Ann Landsberg, who oversees the Care Package program. It's also my great pleasure to work with over four dozen certified providers who've received intensive training in the CPS model, and to work with staff in many schools and facilities that are implementing the CPS model.
On the personal side, I grew up in North Miami, Florida, and currently live in Portland, Maine with my wife, 16-year old son, and 13-year old dog (she's getting around on three legs these days). My 19-year old daughter is now in college. Maine is one of my favorite places in the world, and not just because the CPS model has been embraced in the state's juvenile detention facilities and schools. Mainers tend to be down-to-earth, honest people who don't take well to pretense, and that's just my speed. And the natural beauty of Maine is pretty ridiculous. I'm also partial to Southwestern Virginia (that's where Virginia Tech is located); the view of the Ellett Valley from Tom Ollendick's back deck is quite something, and there aren’t many things in life better than tubing down the New River in the summer (or rafting it further north, where it's not so tame). Sweden has captured my heart as well...
If I hadn't become a psychologist, I would have been a musician or teacher. I enjoy hanging out with my family, watching my daughter do various forms of dance, watching my son play tennis (when I'm allowed) and the saxophone, hiking, whitewater rafting, tooling around Thompson Lake in my old bowrider, and teaching people about solving problems collaboratively. Sometimes I still long for the simpler life I had before I published The Explosive Child, but I'm delighted that it’s been helpful to so many kids and their caregivers.
Just in case you were wondering, yes, I originally called my model Collaborative Problem Solving, and most of my chapters, articles, research papers, and books prior to 2013 refer to the model by that name. Regrettably, that name was co-opted by a former trainee of mine and a large hospital corporation in Boston and I'm now prohibited from using it to refer to my work (not very collaborative, I know). So please be aware that I have nothing to do with folks who are marketing what is now called "Collaborative Problem Solving." To read more about that unleasant story, click here.
I'd say that's enough about me, which is good, because I can't think of anything else. Did I mention that you should check out the Lives in the Balance website?