Showing posts with label Hal M. Brown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hal M. Brown. Show all posts

October 18, 2022

Investigation: The mystery of how Trump got Judge Cannon, coincidence or not?

Trump managed to get a Trump loving judge to kiss his royal ass, but was it blind luck?

By Hal Brown

I changed the photo of Trump originally depicted in an image someone else made of him on a mocked-up Time cover (here and below) to make him look decidedly unpresidential. I put him in prison and added Lady Justice on the left and an X'ed out altered image I made of Judge Cannon on the right.

Another of my images: Judge Cannon's reputation among what appears to be the vast majority of legal scholars seems to be in ruins. Does she care? My impression is that she couldn't care less even though she is in dire need of the legal version of a visit to the emergency room.

You need a Daily Beast subscription to read this article on their website where you can see the illustration which shows a rendering of a well-worn paperback mystery titled "The Cannon Clue."

You can read the Daily Beast article without a subscription here on YaHoo.

 RAWSTORY provides a good summary:

The Daily Beast story describes how Trump lawyers may have shopped for a judge they presumed would be not merely friendly but lovingly to kiss the ample Trump royal ass. The crucial would here is "may" since so far there's no proof they did this. Was the fix in? Or did they decide to increase the odds that they'd have Judge Cannon assigned the documents case. We just don't know the answer. This has not stopped speculation.

If you couldn't buy an item you needed in a nearby store in this era of online shopping you might get it from Amazon. But they did have the equivalent of an online store to file their case. They claimed the online mechanism was offline but it turns out it wasn't. This was a lie. So they they hit the streets and traveled some distance from the court where the case normally would have filed to Judge Cannon's courthouse. However, there are nine judges there so there would be no guarantee she'd get the case.

This is the gist of what the article reports:

When Donald Trump’s legal team filed their court paperwork protesting the Mar-a-Lago raid, a lawyer took the rare step of actually filing the paperwork in person. At a courthouse 44 miles from Mar-a-Lago. And they got a judge to oversee the case that was outside both West Palm Beach—where the raid took place—and the district where they filed," the Daily Beast reporter wrote. "Those incredible coincidences have led lawyers and legal experts to suggest that something may not be above board with how Trump’s team filed their lawsuit."
It turns out that filing such legal briefs are almost never done at a courthouse in person anymore. In almost all jurisdictions they are done electronically. 

The RAWSTORY article concludes:

Lawyers in the area, who didn't want to give their names, also found the method of filing the lawsuit curious.

According to one, "I don’t know anybody who files in person. I didn’t even know you could do that anymore. It looks like this person was trying to select a particular judge,” while another suggested, "People don’t do this anymore. It’s extremely odd. I guess you could do this if you wanted to get a particular judge—or avoid getting a particular judge."

So far there's no irrefutable proof that the fix was in. It may be that the cards were stacked to favor Cannon's being assigned the case. It may be a coincidence. 

This is from The Daily Beast:

  • “I think somebody pulled a fast one in the clerk’s office to rotate it to a friendly judge. It doesn’t sound like it was done by the blind filing system,” mused another.
  • ...which consists of nine judges. Cannon is in a neighboring division, so she can occasionally get West Palm Beach cases.
  • Theoretically, that would give Trump a 1-in-9 chance of getting Cannon on the case.
  • However, The Daily Beast analyzed new case assignments in West Palm Beach in the week preceding Trump’s lawsuit and found that Cannon actually got a much higher share, nine of the 29 new complaints—roughly a third of all cases.
  • But the system still appears random.
  • On Monday, Aug. 22, in West Palm Beach, Cannon got the first case. Trump’s lawsuit was the second of the day in that division, and she got that too.
  • A head clerk of federal courts in another state told The Daily Beast that lawyers sometimes time filings as if they’re players at a casino. Sometimes it works.
  • “If you play cards and count the cards, I suppose they could say, ‘I’ll hold this here until I see if other judges got assignments.’ But it would be very risky because it’s random,” she said.

 It all may boil down to what you believe:

Perhaps it was just the luck of the draw:


I made my illustration after reading the RAWSTORY article and posted it as a comment there among similar illustrations, below, which other readers posted. I altered this Time Magazine image to make my own:

I changed the photo of Trump to make him look decidedly unpresidential. I put him in prison and added Lady Justice on the left and an X'ed out altered image of Judge Cannon on the right.

Other commenters posted these images:

October 4, 2022

Elon Musk put a Tesla in space, now he wants to end a war, and other stories

 Elon Musk put a Tesla in space, now he wants to end a war, and other stories

by Hal Brown

You've probably been keeping up with this story:

I don't have any particular insights into his motivations for advocating for this plan in a series of tweets (here).

Here are a few replies to the tweets (click to enlarge image):

While it prompted lots of replies on Musk's Twitter feed, it also led Zelenskyy to post his reaction in a tweet of his own:

Other Ukrainian officials also responded on Twitter:

I don't think it's an outlandish assumption to think Musk believes that being the world's richest person he may have the world's biggest brain (we've heard that before).

Why not, then, shouldn't he be able to come up with an idea that will end the war of Russian aggression in Ukraine?

No dummy, 

Linus Pauling duped America into believing vitamin C cures colds...

and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry  had no background in medicine or medical research.

I suppose in a world where on one extreme we have a former game show host and rule breaking real estate developer becoming a mentally imbalanced woefully uniformed president and on the other extreme we have a comedian becoming a heroic  president of another country everyone's idea should be judged on their merits.

 Other news of the day 

This story is also related to Ukraine though in a very different way:

Deleted tweet proves the GOP’s Putin propaganda knows no bounds

The Conservative Political Action Conference parroted pro-Kremlin propaganda about Ukraine in a since-deleted tweet, fitting a disturbing pattern in the GOP.

Below: Let's hope dog lovers in Pennsylvania not supporting Walker, where some people may still decide to shoot their dogs when they are unable to hunt anymore, decide that they can't vote for someone who tortures dogs and other animals. They may be able to say let bygones be bygones for paying for his girlfriends abortions or not be bothered by reports that he was a wife beater but hopefully they draw the line at cruelty to animals.

Salon image augmented by Hal Brown

While on the subject of totally unqualified Senate candidates, how about the breaking news about Hershel Walker denying he ever paid for a girlfriend's about claiming this is a total lie? As you may have read in his book he revealed he suffered from multiple personality disorder:

He may be telling the truth as he knows it, or more specifically as he remembers it. In my 40 year career as a psychotherapist I treated five clients with this disorder, currently called dissociative identity disorder. A hallmark of this disorder is that among the various personalities, called alters, there are various kinds of amnesia. In many if not most cases certain personalities can take over with other personalities not having and awareness of what they are doing.

A true cure for this disorder come about when all the identities or alters are integrated into one and there are no amnesiac experiences when one personality is in control and the others aren't and in fact are totally unaware of what is happening. 

Walker claims he's been cured but there's no way to prove this. It is an exceeding difficult disorder to treat let alone achieve cure. In my experience the best a therapist can do is try to keep the self-destructive or dangerous personalities from acting on their impulses or desires.

It is quite possible that the personality or personalities that arranged for and funded the abortion blocked the memory from the other personalities. Unless all the personalities are now integrated along with all of their memories, there is a chance Walker is telling the truth as he knows it about the abortion.

RawStory paraphrases profanity in this title of this story:
Click below to enlarge:


Trump, who plainly did not want to lose his top economic adviser, told Cohn he should feel free to publicly voice his disagreement, and encouraged him to go to the briefing-room podium and say whatever he needed to."

"You’ll do the right thing," Haberman writes that Vice President Mike Pence said, while putting an arm around Cohn like some kind of mafia movie. 

"Cohn said he would complete his efforts to pass a tax bill, which had been his passion throughout the year, and not stay much longer," the book continues. "'But you should assume I’m done,' Cohn said. He still had his resignation letter in hand, undelivered and unaccepted. As Cohn left the Oval Office, Kelly whispered to him, 'If I were you I’d have shoved that paper up his f*cking ass.'"


"Increasingly core to a lot of people in the Christian faith, and particularly in the white evangelical world, is politics and culture," Wehner said, "and in a sense, faith is engrafted. It’s a secondary issue. A friend of mine uses the term 'hood ornament — that faith becomes a hood ornament: It validates these pre-existing attitudes and ideologies. But the way it’s being done is that people are unaware of it, because they’re going through and, in my experience and in my observations, is they’re proof-texting their preordained political, cultural, sociological beliefs, and then saying this is what the Bible says."

Totally out of left-field...

 ... because Portland is my adopted hometown I thought I'd share a lesson learned by some crooked strip club owners here. You may know that Portland is known for it's many strip clubs, some of which vie for the title of the quirkiest:

I suspect that these businesses take in a lot of cash, not only because patrons stuff greenbacks into the performers g-strings, but because men don't like to pay using credit cards for obvious reasons. Since I've never been to one I can't say I observed this in person.

Here's the local story about how trying to avoid paying taxes on cash can come with serious consequences:


May 15, 2021

About Hal Brown and the Mason Mental Health Center

About Hal Brown and the history of the Mason Mental Health Center in Mason, Michigan

My name is Hal Brown. I am a 78 year old retired Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW, Massachusetts), who was a psychotherapist in private practice in Michigan and Massachusetts and a community mental health center director in Michigan. I was also a cranberry grower along with my late wife Betty and a member of the Ocean Spray cooperative.

I am currently living in Portland, Oregon. I moved here in 2014, four years after Betty died at the age of 65. 

I used to write a column on Capitol Hill Blue. This is the oldest political website. I post stories on Daily Kos about "Trumpology: The psychological study and analysis of Donald Trump" and on general political subjects which you can read here. There are over 1,400 of these articles, often referred to as diaries on the website.


This is me at my home office in Middleboro, Massachusetts about 25 years ago.

I was much younger when this photo was taken.

Something about me:
I received my Masters in Social Work from Michigan State University in 1971 and was a psychotherapist until my retirement in. My main salaried work experience was with one of the best community mental health programs in the country, Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Community Mental Health Board headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. I always had a private practice along with my salaried job.  


My friend and colleague Mel was one of the original Three Musketeers as we sometimes called ourselves, the first staff therapists who worked together when the Mason Mental Health Center opened, died in 2022. Mel and I worked closely together along with Mary Louis, MSW to literally build Mason Mental Health Center by constructing walls to make offices out of large room in our building and of course the put together a program serving the previously poorly served small town and rural areas of the Ingham County where most of Lansing is located. 

As newly credentialed therapists we made up in enthusiasm and caring for our clients what we lacked in experience. We provided clinical supervision to each other and with nobody to tell us not to try new approaches we learned and grew as therapists from our successes and thankfully very few failures.

Much credit is due to the program's supervisor, the late Ben Perri, PhD who didn't have much more clinical experience than we did, for having the wisdom to hire the three of us and allowing us the freedom to learn and grow.

In those early days we didn't have time limits for how long we could see clients and when appropriate could we could see them more than once a week or partner with another therapist and do co-therapy. We weren't held back by the rules of insurance companies or Medicare and of having to use check-lists that pigeon-holed clients into a set of problems and our setting observable goals. We just treated our clients as we'd want to be treated ourselves: as real people with real feelings. 

The rules were relaxed in another important way at that time. I had much more leeway in who I hired and promoted. For example Marilyn Braman was our van driver and Jackie Lawrence was one of our secretaries. Neither had college degrees but both demonstrated such rapport with clients that when I had an opening in the day treatment program I promoted them to be mental health workers, basically aides who did pretty much the same thing the credentialed staff. I hired Jim Mueller as a therapist in day treatment even though his BA was in philosophy. He went on to get his MSW at Smith College which has the best clinical social work program in the country. Notably I hired Linda Ward who had a BSW to design and run the day treatment and aftercare programs. A year or two later that job would have required at least a masters degree. She put together a program that turned out to be a model program emulated by other programs around the state.

We also saw many outpatient clients for a token fee of $2.00.

This is Mel's the official obituary: Dr. Melvin Lee Scherpenisse, age 81, of Spring Lake passed away Thursday, March 24, 2022, at home. He was born February 23, 1941, in Grand Rapids to Lester and Angeline (Beimers) Scherpenisse. On September 8, 1972, he married Carol Sue Southland in Grand Rapids. Mel graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and Calvin College. He went on to earn a doctorate in psychology from Michigan State University in 1976. As a psychologist for over 40 years, he helped many people in private practice, community mental health, and medical settings. Mel was an avid runner, proud of his many road races. He enjoyed biking, reading, music, photography, and painting. In retirement, he enjoyed ballroom dancing with his wife. Most of all he enjoyed his family and will be deeply missed by all. He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Carol Sue; daughters, Elisabeth (Justin) Winkel of Wethersfield, CT, and Dara (Marc Maynard) Scherpenisse of Ephrata, WA; grandchildren: Jonah and Madeline Winkel, and Noah and Ila Maynard; brothers and sisters: Gord (Linda) Scherpenisse, Mary (Ron) Waterloo, Edie (Ken) Timmer, Don (Debi) Scherpenisse, and Bob (Connie) Scherpenisse; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Angeline, and special aunt and uncle, Harry and Evelyn (Beimers) Scherpenisse. 

The History of Mason Mental Health Center

by Hal Brown 

(click images to enlarge)

The original staff in 1971
Top row: Mel Scherpinesse, MA; Ben Perri, PhD (Director); Hal Brown, MSW
Bottom row: Mary Louis, MSW; Barb Hollenbeck, and Ellen Martinson; our secretaries.

Tom Helma, MA, was the second director

From its inception at the very beginning of the era where public mental health services were generously funded, the Mason Mental Health Center was a barometer of the value government placed on providing high quality outpatient mental health services to people in locations that were easily accessible. 

The Mason program itself was a branch office of a much larger program located in Lansing, Michigan. The town of Mason had a population of 5,500, but the rural area it served had a population of over 35,000. We ran clinics in three outlying towns in the corners of the county, and truly brought our services to an underserved population.

Why are these Mason Mental Health staff members smiling?


Click to enlarge (that's me in the striped shirt)

During the heyday of publicly funded mental health our program continued to grow. The staff increased and we moved our building to one with twice the space, and then increased our space there two-fold. We were able to provide service on a sliding fee scale and generally could see clients for as long as they needed therapy. Our paperwork requirements were minimal, and there was no such thing as managed care. 

We called these one-day-a-week clinics satellites, and operated three of them.
Mine was in Stockbridge, Mel Scherpinesse ran one in Williamston, and Mary Louis
was in a tiny town called Leslie. These clinics were the first to close as budgets
were cut in the mid-1980's. 

Fashion Comment: I'm glad I wasn't the only one wearing plaid pants in this photo.

From 1971 to the day it closed in 1989, Mason Mental Health increased its
physical size. In the building above, located in downtown Mason, we added
a day treatment program and doubled our size. Then after there was a "sick|
building" scare, when about half the staff began to suffer eye irritations, we were
forced to move to a large building (below) on the outskirts of town.

We began by occupying half of the new building, but eventually took over the other half.
The day there was a meeting where my bosses decided to close the center, we actually
had a carpenter converting a small office to a file room.

Read about our dubious distinction:

We were one of the first offices to herald the epidemic of so-called "sick buildings." While I never got any symptoms, I observed both staff members and visitors have their eyes turn red and swell nearly shut after a short time in the building. Thousands of dollars were spent to see if there were any toxins or irritants present. Specialists were brought in from the state health department, Michigan State University and from two private firms. The Center for Disease Control even reviewed all the findings. All that was ever found was a minute amount of formaldehyde in the air, less than would be expected from any building where people smoked cigarettes.

Regardless of these scientific findings, we were forced to move to the temporary quarters in an old house, pictured below. The new tenants of the building never had any health problems.

Therapists Toni Warley-Mansion, Sue Austin, Rikki Schoenthal, Hal, and Kathy Hill (secretary)

Kathy Hill and therapist Barb White
Barb White and Linda Ward. My office was in the alcove on the right behind the black shelves with a curtain for a door.

Interestingly, we suffered no drop-off in client referrals while we occupied this building.

The rooms upstairs had no doors when we moved in, so we constructed and installed plywood doors ourselves. Day Treatment moved to the basement of the Farm Bureau two blocks away. For privacy we always had the radio blasting. Office space in the area was scarce, so for three months we had no idea when (or if) we would move. Despite the fact that we were working under trying conditions, we always found time
for a break.

In 1982, the Mason Mental Health Center was one of the first programs to receive a grant from the Veterans Administration to operate a program to treat Vietnam veterans suffering from delayed post traumatic stress disorder. In fact, I believe we were one of only two community mental health centers to receive such a grant. Eventually the VA itself opened outreach programs themselves all over the country, and programs like ours were phased out.

Our program began in November of 1981 without any involvement with the VA. Not a veteran myself, I had been working with a few Vietnam combat veterans in therapy. They were involved in a Vietnam veterans' organization and were contacted by the local PBS television station, WKAR in East Lansing, MI, to put together a group to take phone calls at the station after they aired a special on post Vietnam stress syndrome. 

They suggested that I be one of the resource people available, not to take calls, but to assist those vets who were. The phone calls began to pour in after the program and I decided on the spot to offer a group at Mason Mental Health for any vets who wanted to attend. A few nights later 25 showed up for the first of many vets groups, and spin-off groups for spouses of vets. 

That was how we did business in those days. If we saw a need, we tried to met it. We weren't volunteers, one of "the thousand points of light." We were paid for what we did, but we did it because it needed to be done. The real heroes of the Vietnam veterans programs were the clients themselves. They hung together and helped each other through touch times as they dealt with inner demons. 

One man in particular went on to be appointed to the Governor's Agent Orange Commission where he distinguished himself, until he succumbed to a cancer that was probably caused by agent orange. I am certain he would give me permission to publish his name as he made no secret of having been part of the Mason Mental Health program as a client. I still have to maintain his confidentiality, but those who read this will know who he is. 

I would have liked to keep the program independent from the VA, but I knew that I needed to hire a Vietnam veteran who was also a professional psychotherapist, and there weren't many of them around. So when VA funds became available I wrote the grant and we were able to hire the first of several dedicated therapists. 

Unfortunately, the VA took over much of the control of the program and while it continued almost until Mason Mental Health closed, our relationship with the VA was never very good. They insisted on approving clients before we saw them, even for first time emergency sessions that we were willing to do for free. We had to attend regular meetings at a VA center 60 miles away, and our therapists ended up having two supervisors. One hated bureaucracies and the other seemed to thrive in one of the biggest bureaucracies in the government. One knew his therapists could empathize with Vietnam veterans far better than he could and the other... well, I'm sure you get the idea.

Mason Mental Health's Day Treatment program, as befitting a rural  program,
had a large vegetable garden. They not only sold fresh produce to local supermarkets;
but donated vegetable to the local food bank.

The staff pictured are Steve Polzin holding a watermelon, Barb White in the
lavender blouse, and coordinator Linda Ward, seated in front. To protect
confidentiality, client's faces have been covered with cutouts from a magazine.

State Representative Debbie Stabenow was a big supporter of the program. 
She is now the United State Senator from Michigan.

Mason Mental Health had day treatment program began as an experiment, which ultimately failed, and which developed into a model  treatment program under Linda Ward who was hired in 1979. The earlier program included intensive group therapy which was central to its experimental component. Unfortunately this did not succeed. It was run by Michael Teixeira, then a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Michigan State University. He attempted to apply the theories of the late Michigan State University psychology professor Bertram Karon who was a proponent of a very active form of treating schizophrenia using psychoanalytic principles to our chronic clients.

In my own limited experience I had dramatic success applying these methods in my treatment with two clients who I thought were schizophrenic as they had carried that diagnosis for many years and through frequent psychiatric hospitalizations. 

I believed we could do the same thing with our own day treatment clients, most of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over time, I saw little positive change in the day treatment clients and then realized that the clients I succeeded with had been misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, and their apparent delusions and hallucinations were really manifestations of dissociation caused by childhood trauma. Therefore I changed the methodology of the program and hired new staff.

Linda Ward came on board and developed a humanistic program where the emphasis was on relating to the clients with empathy and warmth, while working with them to establish mutually acceptable and realistic goals. Staff were always willing to reach out to clients during times of crisis and physically go to where the clients needed them to be, whether it be a group home or the public library where one of them might be having a panic attack. 

Because the town of Mason was uniquely accepting of our clients, many of whom lived in group homes there, a hallmark of the program was its success in involving our clients in community life. Jackie Lawrence deserves much of the credit for this. She began working for the program as a secretary, but before long it became obvious that the clients were drawn to her and vice versa. She had an extraordinary knack for outreach, politics, and community relations. As soon as we had a vacancy, I hired her as a mental health worker and she has been an energetic anchor for the rural aftercare program in Ingham County ever since.

By the end of 1988, the fate of the Mason Mental Health Center, was all but sealed as the
tri-county program faced a $1 million budget cut for the coming year. In 1989 it was closed.

When Mason Mental Health Center was closed in 1989, it was replaced with the smaller Mason Rural Outreach Program (or Mason ROP) with Linda Ward as its coordinator. Along with Jackie Lawrence, Nancy MacKenzie and Lois Duling, the program moved into the downstairs of a small, rundown, house across an alley from the business section of Mason.  The Mason ROP has earned accolades as one of the most innovative programs in the state of Michigan, but that is another story.

While the aftercare population of the rural part of the county receives excellent care, public comprehensive mental health service became a thing of the past when the Mason Mental Health Center was closed. All of its outpatient clients with the exception of a few children, who were still served by a part-time therapist, had to drive into Lansing for service.

I transferred to be the director of a similar program in one of the other three counties that made up the tri-county mental health program. This county was the same size as the area that the Mason Mental Health Center served, but the program there and in the second of the three counties, survive to this day because each is in a different county than Lansing.

I later learned that Mason Mental Health Center was sacrificed in order to save a few jobs at the main outpatient clinic in Lansing.


Mason Mental Health Center, Mason, Michigan

1971 - 1989 


Ben Perri, PhD
Tom Helma, MA
Hal Brown, MSW

Support Staff

Joy Beights
Lois Duling
Jean Emerick
E. Fuller
Kathy Hill
Barbara Hollenbach
Ellen Martinson
Pat Oakes
Sue Stone

Treatment Staff

Susan Austin, MSW
Jane Bell, OTR
Marilyn Braman
Shirley Brown, MA
Cindy Carlson, MSW
Maureen Chaisson, MSN
Keith Dedrich, MSW
Patricia Foreman, MEd
David Fugate, MA
Clark Etterman, MSW
Normand Gilbert, MA
Gail Gingrich, MSW
Molly Gee, MSN
Claudia Gostine, BS
Donald Healey, MA
Beverlee Kagan1, MSW
Barbara Katz, MSW
Jackie Lawrence
Mary Louis, MSW
Nancy MacKenzie, BRT
James Meuller, BA
Joan Penfield, BSW
Michael Pierce, MSW
Steve Polzin, MSW
Toby Powell, MSW
Gwen Reid, BA
Mel Scherpenisse, MA, PhD (died Mar. 24, 2022)
Rikki Schoenthal, MSW
Nancy Spaninga, BA
Michael Teixeira, MA
Barbara Thiebeau, MSW
Becky Thompson, MSW
Linda Ward, BSW
Toni Warley-Mansion, MSW
Penny Wepfer, BA
Barbara White, MSW
Margo Winkler, MSW
Jean Zugger, MSW

(many of the above staff have since earned higher degrees)

Medical Staff

Luther Goldschmidt, MD
Malcolm Johnston, DO
Alex Lebedovych, MD
Gerald Osborne, DO


1. Beverlee Kagan passed away in Florida in 2002

This is a list compiled from memory. If I left someone off, or spelled a name wrong, I'm sorry. 

I'm always interested in hearing from former staff as well. In fact, I just ran into a Mason Mental Health Center therapist who I hadn't seen in over twenty years at a seminar. With 1,000  attendees, he ended up sitting directly behind me in the first workshop. Neither of us knew we were both living in Massachusetts.

It was my chance encounter, and delightful reminiscing, with him that led me to dig up these old photographs and put together this brief illustrated history of Mason Mental Health.


More about me:


In addition to practicing psychotherapy, I was the supervisor of two rural mental health centers, a clinical supervisor, and a field instructor helping to train clinical social workers from both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. I've presented workshops at several state and two national conferences on a variety of clinical topics.  I also particpated in research conducted by Dr. Norman Kagan in a training method called Interpersonal Process Recall (IPR) and made several training films with a real client.

Due to budget cuts the Mason Mental Health Center was closed and I was moved to a sister satellite center in St. Johns, the Clinton County Counseling Center. This entailed driving nearly an hour to get to work, quite a change when my office was five minutes from home.

 As the new supervisor I was supposed to remedy some major problems about which heads of all the agencies in the county had been complaining. I discovered the problems were worse than described to me and when I tried to address them by jumping in and initiating major changes without getting permission in advance I got into difficulty with the higher-ups at the main office.

This was after I discovered that the program was held in lower regard by the heads of the other agencies in the county than I had been told. 

The steps I took unilaterally without clearing them with my superiors led to a temporary suspension, which I fought with a lawyer and eventually won a pyrrhic victory and was returned to run the program under untenable circumstances. It was so bad I wasn't allow to work in my office even doing clinical supervision with staff with the door closed. If was seeing a client I could have closed the door of course but the entire time I was there the admissions staff refused to refer clients too me.

When the opportunity presented itself I resigned and my wife and I moved to Massachusetts to take over her family cranberry farm. I kept a small private practice with a home office.

Here's how the Lansing paper described what happened at the Clinton County Counseling Center (click to enlarge):

Click above to enlarge

All the heads of the country agencies wrote me glowing recommendations when I left.

I was in general adult practice where I worked with patients who were businessmen and women, construction and trade workers, housewives, professors, college students, farmers, techies in the electronics and computer industry and executives.

I also have had considerable experience working with with police officers and correction officers in both individual and couple's therapy. 
Because I spent 20 years as an auxiliary police officer in two cities I learned about police stress, I published the number one website on the subject, Police Stressline.  I began the website by posting articles I originally wrote for a print Massachusetts police magaize called Police Log. Some of the online articles were picked up and published in print police magazines. Read Daily Kos article about my police experience.


My Massachsetts office was very private. It was at home with its own waiting room and entrance, overlooking the cranberry bogs which, until the summer of 2006 when they were sold, were owned by my wife and her family. 
My late wife Betty and I were Ocean Spray grower-owners and we published one of the first websites to have a major impact on an entire industry, Cranberry Stressline. Because it brought together growers from across the country when there were problems with the management of Ocean Spray the website was credited with promoting a proxy war which resulted in the election of a new board of directors and the firing of the CEO, Robert Hawthorne.
As a therapist I worked with people with anxiety, depression and relationship problems, with people who are compulsive, irritable, anxious, and those who suffer from self-doubt and self-esteem problems. I also worked with people who were struggling with more existential questions such as who they are and what their life was all about. 
I always believed therapy should be a partnership between client and therapist, and that the basis for good therapy is trust, and that it was my responsibility for seeing to it that clients weren't spinning their wheels fruitlessly while I sat back and wait for them "to get it on their own," while I had a pretty good idea where they had to go to resolve their problems. 
I didn't have any particular "brand" of psychotherapy that I practiced, especially since the type of therapy I provided depended on the client's needs and desires. Generally for symptom reduction alone, therapy that gives a client support and encouragement, and helps them better understand self-defeating behaviors and change them, is the most effective. 
My understanding of personality dynamics comes from being trained in psychodynamic and psychoanalytically oriented therapy in the master's program at Michigan State University in the early 1970's. While I did not have post-graduate training in this area (I am not a psychoanalyst), I had considerable experience in providing therapy that was aimed at helping clients gain insight into themselves and how their family of origin influenced who they are.
I also blended what is known as cognitive-behavior therapy into my approach as needed. Basically this helped the client to recognize and change their self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. Whether focused on behavioral change or not my approach to my clients was always informed by my understanding of psychodynamics.

I have discovered over many years that it's the personality of the therapist, their ability to listen, and the connection he or she makes with the client that dictates success or failure in therapy. I tend to be suspicious of any of the "therapy of the month" flavors of treatment often touted in best selling books and by their authors on talk shows.
Other online activities:

I was a weekly columnist for the website Capital Hill Blue for several years. I also had an online column called The Eclectic Digest which was publshed in two large daily papers south of Boston, The Brockton Enterprise and The Patriot Ledger. I have a Facebook page, pictured are my two Westies Mac and Duff:

Here are some more recent photos of me. They are small but you can click to enlarge them, although why you might want to do that is beyond me.

New: My essays from when I wrote a weekly politcal column for Capitol Hill Blue circa 2009. || Archive of Daily Kos articles || 

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