After 33 years at William James College, and Dean of the Department of Clinical Psychology since 2002, Alan Dodge Beck, PhD is assuming a new half time position as William James College's first Director of Alumni Relations. "There are so many ways our alumni can participate in program development, with admissions, with training, and with our experiential learning sites. They have so much to contribute to William James College and will continue to be a vital part of William James College's future."
It's a desired transition, but that doesn't make it easy for a man who has loved his life's work at this very special school. Clinical psychology is one of the most privileged career choices you can make, according to Beck. He uses the word privileged thoughtfully, referring to the therapist-patient relationships and the trust and respect that allow the clinician to come into a person's inner life.
In his office, surrounded by the many honors, awards and mementos reflecting his more than 3 decades at William James College, Dr. Beck explains being a therapist is only one of the many roles of a clinical psychologist: there's also supervisor, teacher, mentor, administrator, consultant, clinician and scholar. Among the challenging aspects of working with both students and patients, he says, is the ability to help people deal with the absence of certainty and clarity. "Despite the omnipresence of doubt, sometimes," he smiles, "you watch a real internal transformation as a person learns something about herself. You watch real personal and professional growth."
Dr. Beck says, "William James College does a better job training people to be psychologists than anyplace else. We focus on enabling students of all ages and backgrounds to develop an awareness of self and soul on a foundation of solid knowledge and skill. We ask people to be aware of what they bring to the table. We ask them to look at their humanity."
About his many years at William James College, Dr. Beck says, "It's been a rich, unique experience to be a practitioner/teacher, to be able to see patients in the morning and go into the classroom in the afternoon. It's a professional gift."