Stephen J. Cummings, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

I was raised in the Fifties in the Boston area and wanted to be a mathematician or major league baseball announcer. These dreams became secondary when I first worked with children in the Sixties at summer camp and then at a residential center for disturbed children in Cleveland, Ohio. Under the tutelage of Dr. Fritz Mayer, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, I was encouraged to pursue my natural talent and compassion as a career. I subsequently obtained a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1967 and continued straight through graduate school at the University of Colorado, where I got my doctorate in clinical psychology in 1972. During the Boulder years, I became fascinated with sleep and dream research, paranoia, and restricted environmental stimulation. In those days, I also did extensive reading about total institutions and became sensitive to the good and harm that could be done in the name of mental health.

I was fortunate to secure a position as an Assistant Professor of Psychology and teach a wide variety of clinical courses to incredibly creative students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sadly, a student strike closed down the campus in 1974, resulting in drastic faculty cutbacks, so I moved west to Berkeley, California to pursue yet another interest in neo-Reichian body therapy. Living in the Bay Area in the Seventies provided exposure to Rolfing, EST, rebirthing, and an assortment of cults. Jobs were very hard to find so I briefly celebrated obtaining a job at Napa State Hospital with autistic children and young “schizophrenic” adults. I learned first hand why my anti-institutional bias was so well founded in those days.

I jumped at a chance to move up to Alaska and become the supervisor of a Children’s Unit at a new mental health center in Anchorage. My six years in that post provided a veritable trial by fire, as mental health professionals encountered an explosion of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in a frontier state flush with money from the oil pipeline. Aside from doing play therapy with children, I began doing couples and family therapy, psychological evaluations, and consultation with drug abuse clinics. In 1983, I decided to open up my own practice, became licensed in the State of Washington, and did intensive work with the developmentally disabled population, e.g., retarded, autistic, and Asperger’s. I also had the opportunity to serve the chronically mentally ill as a group therapist.

By 1985, my wife and I had two young children and decided to relocate to Seattle where I have been in private practice ever since. In the ensuing years, I have continued to work with a diverse population of troubled and troublesome people. I see a thirst for unnecessary goods, the advent of screen addiction, the loss of community and family connectedness as primary sources of alienation in transient 21st century urban American life. My psychotherapy practice began to focus primarily upon adults, couples, and preadolescent children. I began to do custody evaluations in the Nineties and increasingly worked with defense attorneys in doing forensic evaluations.

I am a devoted lifetime baseball fan. The greatest thrill I ever experienced was seeing Game #5 against the Yankees when Edgar doubled home Griffey for the winning run in the 1995 playoffs. I enjoy international travel, jazz, reading, antiques, and ethnic cuisine.
 

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