Well, if you click on my name or picture, you're going to end up here on my bio page. And 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, Lost at School, Lost & Found, and Raising Human Beings. If you don't find the biographical stuff to be riveting, there are lots of links to help you navigate away from this page.
Here goes. Officially, I'm currently adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech and Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology in Sydney, 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 -- especially those with 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'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; Jenny Winkler, our Research Director; and Ann Landsberg, who oversees the Care Package program. It's also my great pleasure to work with over five dozen certified providers across the world 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 and 17-year old son. My 19-year old daughter is now in college. Sadly, our dog Sandy -- a really important member of the family -- died on April 14th. She was a very special, intuitive, loving companion with an incredible spirit and appetite for life. 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, schools, and adult psychiatric hospitals. 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 amazing too. 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). And I always look forward to my frequent visits to Scandinavia.
If I hadn't become a psychologist, I would have been a musician or teacher. I enjoy hanging out with my family, visiting my daughter at college, visiting prospective colleges with my son, hiking, whitewater rafting, hanging out on 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 and my other books seem to have 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 (not very collaborative, I know) and I had no choice but to rename my model. So please be aware that I have nothing to do with folks who are marketing what is now called "Collaborative Problem Solving," and I don't endorse what they're doing with my work or the ways in which they've gone about doing it. To read more about that unpleasant 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?