More About the Author
I was born on an island off the coast of New Jersey on July 20th, 1951. This means I'm a Jersey boy, which means I've got an attitude. Hey, you got a problem with that?
From Manhattan my parents moved to Brooklyn for a year then to Union City, New Jersey, then to Waldwick until I went off to wrestle at Springfield College in Massachusetts. They broke my bones and tore almost all my ligaments, so decided to go into psychology rather than physical education. I eventually completed my masters in child development at FDU in Teaneck, then enrolled at Yeshiva University in NYC for my PhD in developmental psychology. I completed it just before my 30th birthday.
Along the way I got married and divorced, worked at various human service jobs, and wrote a comedy column for The Aquarian, a rock and roll magazine where I met several performers as a result of hanging out with the music reviewers. I also spent a couple of years as a stand-up comic appearing on the Improv's 20th anniversary special as one of the up-and-comers. During that time I wrote jokes and sold them to magazines and a few major comics of the time. One night I got to have a drink with the comedian, Andy Kaufman, (of Taxi fame) which was a memorable evening. I hope to write about this somewhere down the road. "Tank you berry much."
In the late 70s I ran an experimental group home for YAI, National Institute for People with Disabilities, taking people out of Willowbrook State Hospital, the facility made infamous by Geraldo Rivera's investigative reporting. I left there in 1980 to take a teaching position at Brookdale College where I stayed until September, 2001. I was then appointed to a full-time faculty position at New Jersey City University where I am currently employed.
During that same period of time I became fascinated with psychodrama and began weekly training. After a lengthy apprenticeship (8 1/2 years) I received certification as a psychodramatist, and then followed up with an additional five years of psychodrama supervision. I now train and certify other therapists in these methods, and have a training group of my own. Some of my experiences as a trainee appear in the story Manhattan Transference.
I have published extensively on providing treatment for people with intellectual disabilities, and was co-author of the American Psychological Association's first book on psychotherapy for this population, as well as co-author of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder chapter for the DM-ID the Diagnostic Manual-Intellectual Disabilities published by the National Association for Dually Diagnosed in association with the American Psychiatric Association. This chapter changed the criteria by which people with intellectual disabilities will be diagnosed with PTSD, and is the forerunner of The DSM V, the publication used by mental health clinicians for diagnosing patients.
Our daughter, Devon, has two psychologists as parents. Can you imagine? She was born in 1985 and there are several stories in the book about her birth, and my effort at fatherhood. She recently completed Pacific University's MFA program in poetry.She is now a doctoral candidate.
In the late eighties I developed IBT -Interactive-Behavioral Therapy which has become the most widely used form of group therapy for people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities, and received both the Innovator's and Scholar's Award from the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. In 2005 I was also honored as The State of New Jersey Healthcare Provider of the year by the ARC. Much of my professional life as a psychologist is spent training clinicians around the United States and other countries wishing to use IBT. I have a private practice in Red Bank, New Jersey. In my clinical practice I work with individuals, couples, and groups. You can learn more about my work as a psychologist at TheHealingCrowd.com
My writing life -the more serious side of it--began in 1998 when I was awarded a fellowship to Princeton University and took a sabbatical from Brookdale. During this time I was working with the well known social psychologist, John Darley, who studied the people who watched the Kitty Genovese murder in 1964 and created the concept known as the bystander effect (also know as bystander apathy) referring to the account that 38 people witnessed as she was murdered and did nothing about it. While at Princeton I was able to take courses in the writing department, which houses such notables as Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and, at the time, Christopher Durang and Jack Klaff. These courses allowed me to create the essays that became the foundation of what would become the memoir. During the sabbatical I put together a portfolio and had a couple of professors from Princeton write letters of recommendation for me to The New School. In 2000 I returned to graduate school and became a MFA candidate in Creative Non-Fiction writing.
The MFA program at the New School was outstanding for my development as a writer. Robert Polito, Lucy Grealy, and Dani Shapiro were all professors that had a tremendous impact on my development. Dani Shapiro became my thesis advisor and I worked with her after receiving my MFA to get my manuscript in good enough shape to entice an agent. Also following graduation I won the New School's Chapbook contest for Kettle of Fish, and in 2004 Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary Management liked what she read, and in 2006 I contracted with Graywolf to publish the memoir in 2008.
Since the book had been published I have been invited to speak at many bookstores and book clubs -which has been a very enjoyable addition to my professional career. I was also given the opportunity to write for PsychCentral.com, one of time Magazines top 50 websites. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/author/danielt/
I also write for Psychology Today as their expert blogger in group therapy.
I am currently working on the screenplay and book with the working title, The Participants, which describes my efforts with some extraordinary people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities.
In 2011 I was very fortunate to be selected to attend the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program. I have recently completed the requirement for this degree and have joined the staff in the MAPP program as Martin Seligman's learning assistant. A book proposal: The Power of Positive Being on the use of positive psychology in everyday life is underway.
My favorite quote, you ask?
"There are two words to describe Zen: Not Always So."