James Hannon

I was a professor for twenty years at several colleges and universities in New England, including Clark University, Dartmouth College and Harvard University.  In 1997-98, I was a Zinberg Clinical Fellow in the Addictions at Harvard Medical School.  In the following years I worked as a clinician and clinical supervisor in hospitals, outpatient clinics, methadone clinics, a prison and a halfway house.  I started a part-time private practice in 1999; that practice has grown and is now my full-time focus.

Typically, half of my patients are recovering from addictions.  Many of them and many of my other patients have mood disorders (anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder).  I also work with individuals and families who are struggling with problems in work and career, marriage and similar relationships, and what are often described as existential or spiritual crises—the lack of a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

My years as a professor assist my work with another group of patients–adolescents and young adults who face challenging life crises including academic problems, social anxiety, dating and relationships, and decisions about drug and alcohol use.

I involve families in the therapy process whenever possible.  People don’t live and learn as isolated individuals.  The involvement of family and friends in therapy sheds light on the patient’s situation and facilitates change within the family.

I believe that there are three important dimensions to therapy.  The first is a safe, holding environment that allows patients to relax and explore their personal histories and current situations.  The second is improved communications, between internal systems within the patient (example—the unconscious and conscious mind) and between the patient and the people in her life.  The third dimension is behavior change, which requires practice and self-awareness.  Humor is helpful in all three stages.

I am a directive therapist—I am not here just to listen and nod my head.  I make suggestions as well as observations and I do a lot of teaching about the issues central to the patient’s current problems.  The goals of therapy are understanding and change.  Each can take time but I try to reach agreement with patients on goals and encourage them to work to make the changes once they feel they understand their situation.  I am willing to work for years with patients but I am also comfortable with short-term therapy that focuses on behavior change in a narrowly focused area.

I accept insurance payments from all major insurance plans but out-of-network coverage is required.  For those without this coverage I offer a sliding scale.

Selected Publications:

Understanding Adolescent Substance Abuse, Conference on Adolescent Self-Destruction, Harvard Medical School, 2005.

Developmental Challenges for Adolescents and Young Adults


B.S. Georgetown University
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison