Alan R. Wachtel, PhD

Alan Wachtel

Title: Clinical Psychologist (Retired)
Location: Montrose, New York, United States

Alan Wachtel, Clinical Psychologist, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Health Care Professionals for dedication, achievements, and leadership in psychology.

Dr. Wachtel is a clinical psychologist with more than 50 years of service in his field. He became interested in the field while in college and followed in his older brother’s footsteps in the pursuit of a career in clinical psychology. He attended Adelphi University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and pre-med in 1966 before proceeding to earn a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University in 1968. Dr. Wachtel continued his academic pursuits at the University of Montana and received a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology in 1973. While at the University of Montana, Dr. Wachtel was a teaching assistant from 1969 to 1972. His doctoral dissertation was on the effects of Incidental Stimulation on Focal tasks, which demonstrated an objective way of studying the validity of psychodynamic concepts. He chose the program at the University of Montana at that time because of its focus on multiple theoretical positions instead of a single theoretical focus found at other Universities. This led him to a prescriptive approach to psychotherapy. Dr. Wachtel’s Clinical Psychology Internship was at New York University Medical Center from 1972 to 1973. He credits Dr. John G. Watkins at the University of Montana, who provided him with training in Hypnotherapy and was the Director of his doctoral training program. Furthermore, Dr. Bert R. Sappenfield, his dissertation supervisor, and Dr. John M. Atthowe, Jr. are also early mentors in his career.

Following his graduation, Dr. Wachtel started working as a behavioral specialist at Occupations, Inc., of Middletown, NY in 1973. In 1974, Dr. Wachtel joined the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Hospital with the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System in Montrose, NY. During the four decades of his career there, he began an early Alcohol Use Disorder Unit, a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and helped develop a MICA program there (for co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders) while looking into how each affected the other for more accurate integrated treatment. He later worked with that same population when they were outpatients. He served as a clinical Team Leader in the Outpatient Program and as a senior member of the Psychiatric Emergency Code Team at that facility for more than 30 years. It was during this time, he was a first responder for patients who were potentially violent toward others or suicidal. He, at one time, received a phone call from police in Buffalo, NY saying that one of his former patients was on a roof with a rifle threatening to shoot people below. The patient reported that he would only talk with Dr. Wachtel, and Dr. Wachtel was successful in talking him into surrendering his weapon and turning himself in for help. He also helped prevent a tragedy in Peekskill, NY when a patient threatened to harm his son. Dr. Wachtel and his colleagues contacted the police with the patient’s location while he kept the patient engaged in the conversation until the patient was secured.

During his career, Dr. Wachtel worked with a variety of evidence-based treatment techniques and has been able to integrate them into new prescriptive techniques. Currently, he is focusing on writing and publishing a book regarding some of his new prescriptive techniques. In his career, he has worked with police, firemen, nurses, and psychiatrists to calm threatening situations without escalating violence. He feels this work is especially important given the current affairs with police and community relations.

He received an honorable mention GEICO Public Service Award in 1984 for his work in alcoholism treatment. He retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017. Dr. Wachtel has engaged in his own part-time private practice as a clinical psychologist since 1978. He is a licensed psychologist in the state of New York, and is proud to have been able to evaluate and refer for help some of the 911 first responders. Dr. Wachtel is a member of both the New York State Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association.

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