Dr. Wilson is uniquely qualified to address addiction issues. His first contact with mental-health issues was training as an military clinical-psychology specialist from 1958 to 1961, an experience that confirmed his interest in studying human behavior. He received his PhD in personality and social psychology in 1972. His next step was a role as a tenured graduate faculty assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He completed a clinical internship at the Asklepion Therapeutic Community at the US penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. This experience piqued his interest in working with “hard-to-treat” populations. He obtained tenured graduate faculty status and was licensed to practice psychology by examination and was accorded drug-treatment-professional status. He left that position to become the first police psychologist for the Denver Police Department in Colorado. He obtained licensed psychologist status by examination in Colorado.
To better understand the physiological response to stress associated with interactions with law enforcement, he completed advanced training in biofeedback. After building it into a two-psychologist department, he left the police department in 1982 to study the physiological and psychological effects of the isolation tank at Float to Relax, Inc. The relaxation tank wasn’t widely accepted because of concerns about claustrophobia. When the company closed in 1985, he went into private practice.
In 1990 he discovered the Cenikor Therapeutic Community for the treatment of substance abusers. He worked half time as the clinical director and acquired his Certified Addiction Counselor III (CAC III) status. He stayed there until 1999, when he was asked to develop a clinical program to help the Stout Street Foundation, Inc. (SSF) meet state standards for a therapeutic community; SSF received its license in 1999. He was asked to take the position of clinical supervisor, and he relished the opportunity to create and supervise a truly clinically oriented program. Two years later, he became the assistant executive director/clinical director.
His tenure as a clinical supervisor provided him the opportunity to personally treat and direct the treatment of thousands of substance abusers. The position has required the training and supervision of numerous addiction counselors, many of whom are professionally quite successful in their own right. He retired from SSF in 2004, after which he served as a board member and clinical consultant. He served as board chair for three years. Today he is a consultant and board member. His experiences as a volunteer at the Salvation Army’s City of Hope CRP Program for substance abusers prompted this book.