Hello! I'm Dr. Robert Spiro

Psychologist in Boca Raton, FL

Bio

I received my B.A. from Hofstra University in 1966 and my Ph.D. from Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences in New York City in 1973. As a graduate student I was awarded a three-year Public Health Service Fellowship from the National Institute of Health. Following the completion of my course work, I did my Clinical Internship at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, Bronx New York from 1970-1971. Upon completion of my clinical internship I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neurophysiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, Bronx New York from 1971-1974. During my tenure as a Postdoctoral Fellow I was able to maintain a full clinical caseload to add to my previous experience. I recall at this time that a senior member of the department made a comment to the effect that it takes about ten years to make a good clinician. I took this to heart because it made sense to me and decided to pursue postdoctoral training in clinical psychology.

I applied to and was accepted as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Clinical Psychology at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts from 1974-1976. For those of you who might not know, the Austen Riggs Center was and remains one of the finest private mental health facilities in the country. What is unique to Austen Riggs is that it is a completely open psychiatric hospital. What this means is that patients dress in street clothes and come and go as they please without passes or permission. There are no locked units. It is as close to independent living under supervision (perhaps a bit of an oxymoron) as possible. Medications were used sparingly and only when deemed clinically necessary. Patients were seen 4 to 5 hours weekly in a caseload could be as high as five inpatients. The work was intense and the learning curve steep. Unlike other psychiatric institutions, we lacked the physical restraints and intimidations that could force compliance so you really had to learn how to talk and to listen. At the completion of my two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology I applied for a two-year Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology from 1976 – 1978.

Following the completion of my Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology I joined the staff at the Austen Riggs Center from 1978 – 1982.  From 1981 to 1982 I served as Co-Director of Admissions at the Center. During my tenure at Austen Riggs I was able to extend my professional experiences into new areas. I expanded a small private practice during my time at Austen Riggs so I would be able to broaden my clinical experience beyond psychiatric inpatients and have continued to be in private practice to this day. From 1974-1975 I served as a consultant to the Continuing Service Education Program, Pediatrics Unit of the Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield MA.

I was appointed to the position of Lecturer in Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven CT from 1978-1982. I continued to explore my interest in teaching on the graduate level and from 1983-1985 I was appointed as the Director of Assessment, Psychological Services Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA.  For two years I taught all of the projective and psychological testing practica and supervised the psychological testing for all of the graduate Ph.D. students at the University of Massachusetts Psychological Services Center. In 1985 I left my role as graduate teacher and supervisor at the University of Massachusetts to devote a significant amount of time as Clinical Consultant to the Berkshire Learning Center in Pittsfield MA. The Berkshire learning Center was a residential treatment facility for about thirty adolescent boys aged approximately thirteen through their early twenties. Most were referred by their school districts for behavioral problems and all had meaningful psychiatric diagnoses. Every student was given a full battery of psychological and projective tests by me upon admission and sometimes they were re-tested (similar to the model employed at Austen Riggs) if they were in residence for a significant amount of time. In addition to doing the testing I would attend all clinical conferences, treatment planning and consult with therapists so the results of psychological testing could achieve maximum impact upon on the student’s course of treatment.

While being Clinical Consultant at the Berkshire Learning Center I decided to extend my clinical work to a different population and was appointed Clinical Consultant at the Counseling Center of Bennington College, Bennington VT. From 1988-1991 I supervised the therapists who provided psychotherapy to the students and became familiar with myriad issues confronting student’s life on a college campus with a vibrant, smart and engaged student body. In 1993 I was promoted from Clinical Consultant to Clinical Director of the Berkshire Learning Center and remained in that position until 1997 when the Center had to close due to financial concerns. During my time as Clinical Director I was able to extend my responsibilities to supervising and overseeing all clinical services including psychotherapy and psychological testing and learned many administrative aspects of running a decent size institution employing approximately fifty people.

After the close of the Berkshire Learning Center I decided to devote full time to my private practice. At this time I was practicing in Williamstown, MA where I maintained a full time private practice until I moved to Florida in November 2017.

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