Points of Pride

Psychology Program Director Specializes in Addiction Issues

Posted on Mon, Apr 06, 2009

By Marilyn Freimuth, PhD, Program Director, School of Psychology

After many years in private practice, I discovered that I had been overlooking addiction issues in my psychotherapy patients. Subsequent research revealed I was not alone. I have since published two books. Hidden Addictions: Assessment Practices for PsychotherapisMarilyn Freimuthts, Counselors, and Health Care Providers helps health care providers become more adept at recognizing substance and behavioral addictions. Addicted? Recognizing Destructive Behavior Before It’s Too Late is written for professional and lay audiences and explores addiction as a continuum rather than a disease you either have or you do not. I also provide trainings to psychologists and other health care professionals and maintain a private practice.

At Fielding, I chair the School of Psychology and run the Addiction Study Group for students doing research on this topic. Six members of this group co-authored an article on co-addictions, while other members are studying the effect of client characteristics on psychotherapists’ ability to recognize substance use disorders.


After receiving my doctorate, I taught undergraduates at a school that valued individual mentoring, self development, and their relationship. The work was rewarding but difficult because undergraduates had so little background or life experience. Fielding follows a similar educational model, but students have experience and knowledge, so interactions are more collegial and rewarding. I also like Fielding’s openness to the full range of perspectives, compared to other programs that adhere to a specific theoretical orientation.


Prospective students are excited to be in an adult learner environment, but nearly all underestimate the self-discipline needed to balance the demands of life and school in a program that does not require them to show up weekly in a classroom. Yet when students endure, Fielding supports them in becoming scholars and practitioners who think from different approaches. Our students learn that there are no right answers, only great questions and explorations.

Tags: mental health services APA, psychology, clinical psychology