O'Connell, David F. 1953-
O'CONNELL, David F. 1953-
Born August 21, 1953, in York, PA; son of John V. and Anne M. (Pollard) O'Connell. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Temple University, Ph.D. (psychology), 1986. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Acting, vocalist with the Chaparones.
Home—26 Witman Rd., Womelsdorf, PA 19567. Office—West Lawn Professional Plaza, 25 Stevens Ave., West Lawn, PA 19609; Caron Foundation, Galen Hall Rd., P.O. Box 150, Wernersville, PA 19565-0150. E-mail—[email protected]
Psychologist and writer. In private practice of psychology, West Lawn, PA, 1989—. Caron Foundation, attending psychologist for Impaired Professionals Program, 1989—; St. Joseph Hospital, Reading, PA, attending psychologist, 1990—. Alvernia College, instructor in addictions studies, 1981-2000; public speaker on the topic of spiritual approaches to healing. Berks Counseling Center, past clinical director; Terraces, Ephrata, PA, past staff psychologist; Recovery Centers of America, past consulting psychologist; consultant to Reading Police Academy.
Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy (board member), Berks Area Psychological Society (president, 1998-2000).
(Editor and contributor) Managing the Dually Diagnosed Patient: Current Issues and Clinical Approaches, Haworth Press (Binghamton, NY), 1990, 2nd edition, with Eileen P. Beyer, 2003.
(Editor, with Charles N. Alexander, and contributor) Self-Recovery: Treating Addictions Using Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayur-Veda, Haworth Press (Binghamton, NY), 1994.
Dual Disorders: Essentials for Assessment and Treatment, Haworth Press (Binghamton, NY), 1998.
Awakening the Spirit: A Guide to Developing a Spiritual Program in Addictions Recovery, Publish America (Frederick, MD), 2003.
Contributor to books. Contributor to professional journals.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Managing Your Recovery; The Active Contemplative Reader (tentative title).
David F. O'Connell told CA: "I wrote my first book when I was ten years old. Titled The Lycanthrope, it was my take on the struggle of a man who became a werewolf. At that tender age, writing was an extension of play for me. As an adult I have written several books. I am an inspirational writer. A kind of pressure builds up inside me as I begin to accumulate knowledge and begin to integrate it, synthesize it, and look for a way to apply it or utilize it. I usually write in response to a need or to fill a void in an existing body of knowledge. I am a psychologist, and most of my writing has been psychologically oriented, directed at psychologists and other mental health practitioners. I also like writing for the general public. I particularly like to take obscure or arcane psychological concepts, bring them down to earth, and make them interesting and useful for people in their everyday lives.
"What is my primary motivation for writing? It is definitely a form of self-expression leading to self-actualization. The act of creation spurs me on. When I was younger, I got this experience mostly through acting, singing, and public speaking. It was sheer pleasure to create a character, interpret a song, or deliver a speech. Writing is a solitary pursuit. I live in the country alone, and in many ways writing is meditative. It is a much more personal, intimate experience of self-expression than singing or acting. Like a singer or actor, I am trying to change others, to alter their perceptions, to expand their awareness, open up their hearts, refine their perceptions.
"I favor direct, first-person writing, and I have been profoundly influenced by authors who have written in this style. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is one such writer. His book, The Science of Being and the Art of Living, and his interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita come to mind. I like the intimacy of this style of writing. When I have read Maharishi's books, I have felt in a privileged position, like I was in on a great secret or truth of how life and the universe work. I like the personal connection associated with this style of writing. I feel constricted by academic-style writing. It is too distant, too impersonal, too vapid.
"I also like a bit of trail blazing in writing. For example, my first book came out in 1990. It was an edited volume titled Managing the Dually Diagnosed Patient: Current Issues and Clinical Approaches. It was the first book on the scientific research of treating patients who have a coexisting mental and addictive disorder. I saw the need for the book, and I felt an intense urge to get experts in the field of dual diagnosis to write about diagnostic and treatment approaches for this population.
"In 1994 I coedited and contributed significantly to a book titled Self Recovery: Treating Addictions Using Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayur-Veda.This was an ambitious work: a combination of clinical case studies, essays on spirituality, consciousness and healing, personal accounts of the impact of meditation on addictive and criminal behavior, sophisticated scientific studies, and concrete practical advice, guidance, and direction from physicians treating addictive diseases with the ancient health care system of India known as Ayur-Veda. Again, this was one of the first books on complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of addictive disorders. I am probably most proud of this book.
"In 1998 I authored Dual Disorders: Essentials for Assessment and Treatment. This was my take on the clinical assessment and management of mentally ill addicted patients. It was based on the knowledge I had accumulated in clinical practice for over twenty years and my own personal thoughts on how to treat patients with unique needs. I felt proud that it was picked up by several graduate schools and other educational institutions as a text for addictions counselors and mental health counselors.
"In 2003 I did a second edition of Managing the Dually Diagnosed Patient, which was significantly different from the first book. It summarizes all the advancement in this field over the past decade. It includes important chapters on treating adolescents with psychiatric and drug problems, as well as the unique dynamics and clinical needs of female patients. I also published Awakening the Spirit: A Guide to Developing a Spiritual Program in Addictions Recovery. This is my best work thus far. It is based on my thirty years' experience in daily meditation and is the synthesis of every book, tape, or lecture I ever experienced on spirituality and spiritual growth. It is my first self-help book for recovering alcoholics and others who have chronic diseases who are interested in spiritual approaches to healing. I particularly like speaking on this topic, and I get energized doing talks, presentations, and training on spirituality and addictions recovery.
"I am working on Managing Your Recovery, a self-help workbook to assist executives, managers, doctors, lawyers, and other professional suffering from an addictive disease through negotiating the tasks and challenges of the first year of recovery. I have written several magazine articles on the topic of executive addiction, and I have been interviewed by the Associated Press and the New York Times regarding this important topic. The book was an outgrowth of my nearly six years' experience of running the executives and professionals health and recovery programs at the Caron Foundation, an inpatient addictions treatment facility near Reading, Pennsylvania.
"I am also working on a book that I have tentatively titled The Active Contemplative Reader. It is a series of quotations by great spiritual masters and my own interpretation of the meaning of their spiritual advice. It is written in the format of a daily meditation reader. I see it as a companion to Awakening the Spirit. It is a direct outgrowth of my own insights and intuitions brought on by daily meditation and spiritual practices and meets the need I have for sharing my enlightenment with others."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, August 19, 2002, review of Managing the Dually Diagnosed Patient: Current Issues and Clinical Approaches, p. 6.
Families in Society: Journal of Contemporary Human Services, April-June, 2003, Ellen B. Bogolub, review of Managing the Dually Diagnosed Patient, p. 296.