Professional Experience

‘We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us.” – Rilke, The Dragon-Princess

Working with Children and Adolescents

Augustus Hawkins Mental Health Center

My first professional position was as staff psychologist in the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic at Augustus F. Hawkins Mental Health Center, located next to Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital. I started an internship program for psychology graduate students, taught psychiatric residents, and worked with an extremely traumatized population. Many of these kids had been physically and sexually abused and were living in foster homes. The neighborhoods were dangerous and the services were often inadequate to meet their needs.

Hathaway Residential Treatment Program

After three years at Augustus F. Hawkings, I accepted a position as a supervisory psychologist with the Hathaway Residential Treatment program. I was chief clinician for the children’s sub-acute unit and was responsible for treatment planning, program development, and intensive psychotherapy. I also supervised graduate psychology students in an American Psychological Association (APA)–approved clinical internship.

Reevaluating the Journey

The difficulty of working with these traumatized populations challenged many of the conceptions and principles about therapy that I had adopted in graduate school. I began to recognize how much my therapeutic efforts were misplaced in trying to measure up to the idealization of what I thought a psychoanalytic therapist should be. Far removed from the influence of my supervisors, I questioned the rigidity and orthodoxy that characterized traditional psychoanalytic practice, and I was critical of the constraints it placed on doing psychotherapy.

These experiences triggered a critical reevaluation of my beliefs and therapeutic techniques. I took the training wheels off and began to explore different theoretical orientations. I read about cognitive behavioral treatment, family systems theory, Buddhism, and contemporary philosophy.

In 1992 I decided to develop my private practice full time. This decision culminated a long process of slowly building a practice while working full time. A career takes many turns, most unforeseen. This part of my journey was marked by a series of personal crises.

In 1996 my younger sister died of leukemia after two years of painful struggle. Three years later, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and died six months after her diagnosis. During this period I had been sick with an undiagnosed illness, experiencing a persistent cough, tiredness, a low-grade fever, and night sweats. Within days of my mother’s death, I was diagnosed with endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart valve. I was hospitalized and underwent open-heart surgery and valve replacement.

These events changed the circumstances of my life. During my sister’s illness, I resumed my personal psychotherapy. Through all of this I continued to work, conscientiously seeing my clients. I didn’t realize how deeply affected I had been by these tragedies. Over time I had become tired, unmotivated, and depleted. After recovering from surgery, I slowed down out of necessity. I became more attentive to my personal and professional needs. I realized that I needed to reinvest in myself both personally and professionally.

Contemporary Psychoanalysis A New Path on the Journey

In the intervening years since I had completed my postdoctoral fellowship, Psychoanalysis had changed dramatically. The spirit of contemporary psychoanalysis is characterized by openness, warmth, collaboration, and experimentation. I decided to become a student in the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) in Pasadena. A small group of therapists met weekly with an analyst from the institute. We studied contemporary psychoanalytic theory, the relationship between psychoanalysis and literature, and the arts. In addition, we received weekly clinical supervision. I continued in this program for six years.

As I matured within the matrix of this incredibly supportive training program, my interests changed. The field of psychoanalysis had significantly changed over the years. This training brought an excitement back to my work and expanded the breadth of my practice. I shifted the focus of my practice to working with older adolescents, adults and couples.

drlarrybrooks

Larry Brooks, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist
License # PSY 8161

138 N. Brand #300
Glendale, CA 91203

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