Here I describe my own life in terms of the Hero's Journey. I do this so that you can have an
example of a real life Hero's Journey. Also, you can get to know what kind of person I am, what
experiences I've had, why I do the work I do, and whether we would work well together.
Young Adult Years
My first adult call to adventure happened during college when I married and had a daughter. To
support my family, I started a career in the corporate world (another call to adventure). After
about five years, my wife and I split up and I eventually married my current wife of over 30
years (more calls to adventure). Meanwhile, I spent over 20 years being a middle manager (a
Hero's Journey, for sure). In the beginning, I was a computer jock, all mind, some body, very
little soul. Over time, my roles became less technical and more people-oriented until that focus
was nearly 90% of my time. Employees, colleagues, and sometimes even bosses lined up at my
door wanting me to help them work out some issue.
Mid-Life Career Change (Call to Adventure)
This was all well and good, but people skills were only valued up to a point in that environment.
I saw that my real strengths involved listening to and helping people. I decided that I needed to
follow my heart, so to speak. In addition, my older brother (my only sibling), my mother, and my
father all passed away within a ten-year period. So, seeking more meaning in my life I saw a
career counselor to explore changing careers (meeting with the mentor after other calls to
adventure). She eventually said to me, “The typical corporate person is like this (pointing her
finger in one direction), and you, well, you are like that (pointing in the complete opposite
direction)." I suddenly realized why I had felt like a “stranger in a strange land” for the prior two
decades. Working with the counselor, I decided to go into psychology professionally. With that, I
left the corporate world for the adventure of “graduate school.”
Becoming a Psychologist (a Hero?)
I received a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree in clinical psychology and became a licensed
psychologist. Before this, I trained or worked in a range of environments, including a state
mental hospital, a university student counseling center, and private practice. For details, please
refer to my resume.*
Successful Private Practice
I had jumped through countless fiery hoops on my Hero’s Journey to become a licensed
psychologist and found myself in a pretty successful private practice (“successful” in the
traditional sense). But, even though I was working in the world of the “science of the soul” (the
original meaning of the word “psychology”), it was still all at the level of the mind and, to some
extent, the body. I established myself as a “trauma therapist” and, over time, attracted an
assortment of clients ranging from car accident victims to highly suicidal childhood abuse
victims to people with a couple dozen “multiple personalities.” I encountered a wide range of
human experience and found the people and the work fascinating.
My Latest Call to Adventure
Although work-wise I was going along very well for quite a while, I periodically succumbed to
bouts of anxiety and depression. This had occurred in my corporate days too. When I did
anything at all, I fought these off at the level of the body (medication, a refusal of the call) and,
occasionally, the mind (half-hearted attempts at therapy). But these problems seemed to get
worse each time. I spent an entire year working with a brilliant psychiatrist trying literally every
medication known to the pharmaceutical industry to get relief from what was now severe anxiety
and moderate depression. I was given the gift (I now see) of having none of the medications do
a single, darn thing to me, good or bad. The pills I put in my mouth were as effective as if I had
put nothing in my mouth. I was refusing the call big time!
Approaching the Threshold and Meeting the Mentors
OK, so working at the level of the body alone did not do anything. On to the mind, where I tried
three different therapists within a year. I also pursued other "non-traditional" means, including
shamanic healers, a medium, a psychic, and a New Age minister. All these people helped in
their own way and I was able to make some modest progress, but I still did not feel anywhere
The Approach, The Ordeal, and the Reward
The most significant benefit of my work with these mentors was that some of them inspired me
to move past the levels of the body and mind (although those were still important) and into the
level of the soul, or heart, if you prefer. With that in mind, I worked extensively on my own,
exploring things of the soul and spirit, such as yoga, poetry, mythology, something called the
"deep masculine," and various religious and spiritual traditions from both the east and west.
This, along with another try at anti-depressants, helped me slowly crawl out of the dark hole I
was in and find myself experiencing life in an entirely different, and yes, I’d say wonderful, way.
Returning with the Treasure
As I became ever stronger, I tried my new self out by giving some of my spare time to a local
hospice, the Hospice of the North Coast, where I serve as a Patient Care Volunteer, visiting
people with terminal illnesses and helping them to find their way home, so to speak. As I found
myself able to do more of that kind of work, I soon felt ready to work with clients on a whole
new dimension. I could still call it “psychology” or "psychotherapy,” but, as described in what to
expect along the way, I now work at all levels of body, mind, soul, spirit, and relationships,
depending on where my clients are at, and work to stay at the “soul level” myself as much as
possible. I like to attract people who are going through some of the same processes as I did,
which some call a “Dark Night of the Soul,” and help them gain the benefits that I gained by
doing so. While I would not wish that pain on anyone, I do wish on them the rewards it brings in
Other Rewards and Interests
I have been happily married for over 35 years and have an adult daughter who has two
daughters of her own. For recreation, I enjoy reading, writing, poetry, photography, jazz, hiking,
travel, collecting meaningful quotations, studying comparative religions, and continuous
learning. I have been told that I am an "Old Soul," if that means anything. Several years ago,
my wife and I adopted a senior "rescue dog" whom we named Petunia (see picture on the
right). Sadly, she recently traveled over the "Rainbow Bridge" on her way to her next adventure.
She was a mix of Shih-Tzu, Lhasa Apso, cat, and Ewok. We think she was about 20 years old.
We really enjoyed her mellow nature. I think she was an Old Soul too.
So, that’s my story. I hope it gives you a better sense of why I do what I do and whether we
would work well together. If you feel like getting started, please contact me at 760.354.9140.
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|Petunia, the world's cutest dog
What lies behind us and
what lies in front of us
are tiny matters compared to
what lies within us.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
We must let go of the life
so as to accept the one
that is waiting for us.
~ Joseph Campbell
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen
You can only get as high
as your therapist.
~ Ram Dass
If all you can do is crawl,
Ph: 760.354.9140 ■ 3150 El Camino Real, Suite C, Carlsbad, California 92008 ■ Contact Dr. Dan