Monthly Article Archives: February 2015

Retiring to What?Robert Brooks, Ph.D.

In 1973 I joined the staff of McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital in the Boston area.  My first position at McLean was as head of the school in the locked door unit of the child and adolescent program.  As I have frequently mentioned in my writings and workshops, my experiences in that position were to serve as a major catalyst for my adoption of a strength-based approach in which I increasingly focused on identifying and reinforcing the strengths or “islands of competence” of my patients.  I did not ignore or minimize their problems, but rather I devoted more attention to helping them to appreciate and build upon their strengths in order to lead more purposeful, resilient lives. I was on the staff of McLean for 23 years, the last three of which were as Director of the Department of Psychology, a challenging, exciting, and demanding position.  During my final two years I realized that the responsibilities and time attached to this role would not allow me to pursue newer professional goals and interests that had arisen, namely, conducting more seminars and workshops and doing more writing.  I finally made the decision to leave McLean to engage in these other

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