Alan R. Wachtel, PhD

Alan Wachtel

Title: Clinical Psychologist
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 to 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 1966 before proceeding to earn a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University in 1968. Dr. Wachtel went on for his doctorate in the field at the University of Montana and received his PhD 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, who provided him with training in Hypnotherapy and was the Director of his doctoral training program, Dr. Bert R. Sappenfield, his dissertation supervisor, and Dr. John M. Atthowe, Jr. as 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 Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Montrose, NY and began on an early Alcohol Use Disorder Unit.  He went on at that facility to work on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), 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 and he later worked with that same population when they were outpatients. He was a clinical Team Leader in the Outpatient Program. He served as a senior member of the Psychiatric Emergency Code Team at that facility for more than 30 years where he was a first responder for patients who were potentially violent toward others or suicidal. He, at one time, received a phone call from the police in Buffalo, New York 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 about it and Dr. Wachtel successfully talked him into surrendering his weapon and turning himself in for help. He also helped prevent a tragedy in Peekskill, New York when a patient threatened to harm his son and Dr. Wachtel was able to get colleagues to contact the police with the patient’s location while he kept the patient engaged in the conversation and eventually turn himself into the police who brought him to the hospital.

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.

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 9/11 first responders. Dr. Wachtel is a member of both the New York State Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association.

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