Dr. Joseph Luciani

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Joe Luciani has been a practicing clinical psychologist for more than thirty years and he specializes in self-coaching.

Dr. Luciani earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and has worked as a special education teacher for the Newark Department of Education, Director of Guidance at Englewood Cliffs College.

He’s also the internationally best-selling author of the Self-Coaching series of books and he’s written articles and been featured in numerous national magazines and newspapers, including Cosmopolitan, O, The Oprah Magazine, and USA Today.

How did you get involved in psychology in the first place, was there a seminal moment in your life or did it just kind of happen gradually?

I had always, throughout my life, been intuitively inclined to help people with problems. Understanding human nature always seemed natural to me. It was this intuition that always made psychological problems seem transparent.

How did you get involved specifically in clinical psychology?

Psychology was always a passion. I knew I could help people, I needed more tools.

How would you describe clinical psychology to someone who wouldn’t know the first thing about what that means?

Clinical psychology is a real-life experience that can assist you in understanding what is causing the frictions and struggles of your life. By understanding and reshaping how you think and behave, you can neutralize destructive habits that have been ruling and ruining your life.

Can you describe an average day of work in the field of clinical Psychology, kind of your 9-5 schedule?

I work three full-time, long days. My four days off are used for responding to questions in the forum section of my website, paperwork, phone calls, and writing. I'm also involved in www.m3lifestyle.com, a psychology-based fitness program that has just been launched. It's a good life that has evolved to satisfy all my professional needs and interests.

If someone wanted to become a clinical psychologist, what would be the optimal education path?

I'm a strong proponent of the professional schools of psychology. The education is specific to clinical psychology and the experiences are invaluable.

What are some of your favorite things about your job?

I'm a psychologist/author. I love to continue (after 35 years) to improve my ability to alleviate pain and suffering. I look forward to taking my notes and writing self-help books in order to reach people all over the world (I've written five books, translated into 9 languages).

Could you describe anything about your job that has been difficult or a hardship for you, Something that students should be prepared for when entering this career field ?

Yes, I would say stamina. It can be grueling to see 8, 9, or 10 clients a day. In order to be there for every person who sits in front of you expecting your full attention and dedication, you must take care of your physical health. I start my day at 11:00 AM. I do this in order to jog every morning, take a yoga class once a week and do some meditation. Just as the yoga postures were designed to enhance the ability to sit quietly and meditate for long hours, so too must a psychologist prepare him/herself for the long periods of sitting while maintaining optimum alertness.

Do you have any Advice for those interested in a career in clinical psychology?

Be sure that you have adequately worked through your own struggles. Personal therapy is a wonderful experience that will invariably help your perspective when dealing with clients. You will only be marginally effective--at best-- if you are hounded by neurotic conflict.

Do you see the field of clinical Psychology changing, and what should we expect in the future?

I think the Internet will open up a private practice to the world. Psychologists will become more involved in online promotions and Skype sessions. Blogging, podcasts, etc. are the advent of this future.

Can you tell me about your work on self coaching, and how that has shaped your career?

Self-Coaching is a blend of cognitive/behavioral psychology combined with a motivational form coaching. I developed a unique theory that I coined, Self-Coaching because sometimes therapy alone just isn't enough. Especially traditional, reflective, passive therapy. Sometimes you need to provide the energy for someone to be willing to fight-the-good-fight.

I would love for you to visit www.self-coaching.net the paragraph on the home page is quite instructive.

We were wondering if you would be able to generally describe a case that you have worked that really inspired you, that would possibly inspire students.

I worked with a man who could no longer work. He sat in his chair every morning and trembled with chronic panic and anxiety. He had been to numerous psychiatrists and psychologists. When I began with him, he had a lengthy history of psychiatric medications. He required coaching, motivation, as well as solid cognitive advice to break the habits of needless destructive thinking. This was the seed experience for my Self-Coaching formulation. This man is currently retired, living the life of leisure in Florida. Has been medication and therapy free for ten years. He sends me a card every year thanking me for saving his life, his family, and his belief in life. It doesn't get any better than that!

Do you have anything else you would like to add that would help Students with their understanding of this career field?

If you love people. If you truly want to make a difference. Don't let anything stop you. Your attitude has to be "Whatever it takes!" Programs are difficult to get into, but in life, understand that there's more than just a front door...there's often a side door, back door, basement...Whatever it takes!

For more information about what exactly a Clinical psychologist does and how to become one, please feel free to visit our section on becoming a Clinical Psychologist, in the careers section of our website.