Psychology Graduate Alum Spotlight: David Jacobowitz ’93
David Jacobowitz, BS, MA, CGP, CTTS, followed his Master’s degree at SUNY Brockport with a career in clinical practice as a master’s prepared psychologist and substance abuse treatment specialist, then a second career in research administration. A published author in forensic psychology, a member of a team developing a new best practice for the treatment of individuals with severe mental disorders and substance abuse issues (Forensic Assertive Community Treatment), an award-winning research administrator, a teacher and role model for students, and a long-time contributor to excellence in dementia care through the Finger Lakes Center for Excellence in Alzheimer’s and other dementias, David has made the most of his graduate experience at SUNY Brockport. His career demonstrates the value of the clinician-scientist model promoted at SUNY Brockport and the path it suggests to a fulfilling clinical and research career in clinical psychology.
Please describe your path from SUNY Brockport to your current position.
I graduated with my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 1993. I took a position as a therapist at a continuing day treatment program, working with adults with developmental disabilities and/or serious and persistent mental illness and/or severe personality disorders. I was an office-based clinician for about 7 years, then a mobile substance abuse treatment specialist on an assertive community treatment team, then finally moved into clinical research and administration, where I have been since and to date.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned while at SUNY Brockport?
The scientific approach to clinical practice. The importance of never losing track of the evidence base in your interventions. The clinician-researcher model, promoted at Brockport, has always stayed with me in the 28 years or so since graduation.
What is your favorite memory from your time at SUNY Brockport?
Learning from interesting faculty who were, to a person, great teachers.
What advice would you give to current SUNY Brockport students? Any special advice for our psychology majors?
Your learning does not end when you get your degree, in fact, it is just beginning. SUNY Brockport psychology teaches you everything you need to know, but you have to take on training to build clinical practice tools that you need to perform in the world of clinical care.
What learned skills and/or experiences from your time at SUNY Brockport were the most transferable or useful in your current position?
As noted, the idea that, to be a good clinician, you have to also be a scientist/researcher.
Please describe any challenges/obstacles you have faced since leaving SUNY Brockport and how you overcame/dealt with them.
The need to actively seek out and engage in training related to the ‘craft’ of psychology has been challenging. I learned DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Integrated Dual Disorder treatment, tobacco dependence treatment approaches, group interventions (I sat for my certified group practitioner certification), and other skills related to being a research administrator. The other challenge, in the modern health care practice reimbursement world, is that you will not be able to sit for any licensure in New York state without considerable additional time spent.