Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jerome F.X. Carroll (Psychology ‘68)
Hi Dr. Carroll! Tell me about your current position and what it involves.
Currently, I am “retired,” but voluntarily contribute my professional services to veterans with substance use disorders seeking recovery at the Brooklyn VA Hospital several days each week. As a veteran myself, I feel obligated to be of service to my fellow veterans and to put to good use my 47 years of experience in treating addicted men and women. Twice a week, I lead therapy groups as I did for more than a decade at the VA before “retiring.” I do this in two of the hospital’s programs. My focus is on recovery and what it requires and entails.
I continue to take an active part in my profession as it relates to addiction. I am an active participant in Columbia Univ.’s Drugs and Society Seminar group and stay abreast of the literature on addiction. I have recently published a book entitled: Straight Talk about Addiction, Treatment, Recovery, and Achieving A Better Quality of Life.
What path led you to this particular line of work?
Accepting a position as the Director of Psychology at Eagleville Hospital Rehabilitation Center on the advice of a friend who was also a Temple U. graduate. My graduate work at Temple in clinical and counseling psychology, at that time, did not focus on addiction, although my graduate education and training at Temple did qualify me to provide traditional psychological services. Once on the job, I learned quite a lot and quickly about addiction and recovery from the more experienced staff members at Eagleville. I really did not choose to specialize in addiction treatment, rather life circumstances for that calling chose me. You might say this was a very fortunate accident.
How do your studies in psychology, particularly your graduate training at Temple, inform your work?
Temple Univ’s Psychology Dept was at the leading edge of its field at the time I was a graduate student. “Experts” from everywhere came to our dept. to instruct and interact with our graduate students, sharing their unique perspectives on disorders and various interventions designed to address them (with the lone exception of addiction). I finished my graduate studies with a diverse understanding of psychopathology and how to address it, thanks to my studies at Temple, and this enabled me to find and accept my first professional job as the Director of Psychological Services at Eagleville Hospital. Without my education and training at Temple, I could not have gotten that position. My education at Temple has provided me with an intellectual and conceptual platform upon which I could layer new concepts and principles, and this has enabled me to be open to new concepts and information and thus to continue to learn and expand my knowledge and skills.
Do you have any advice for undergraduates considering graduate study in clinical psychology?
I do encourage graduate students to consider a career in addiction treatment and recovery. The number of Americans suffering and dying from addiction are staggering and our need for fully qualified, well trained, and informed professionals is great. Psychology students can and should be at the forefront of professions providing relief and support to the many men and women in need of professional help in their recovery. Of course, your graduate study program must offer competent instructions on addiction, and if it is not available, request your program director to include such instruction. At a minimum, any professional in private practice should at least be able to screen for possible substance use disorders even if not qualified to treat it. Left undetected or addressed, substance misuse will surely undermine the desired lasting effects of traditional psychotherapy.