Dr. Daniel T. Moore is a licensed psychologist in Mississippi. In this podcast, I learned that Dr. Moore is unique in a number of ways, and he shared some of his experiences in hopes that those interested in the field of psychology can apply what he has learned to their own academic and professional journey. Dr. Moore didn’t immediately continue working on his education after completing his undergraduate work. Instead, he went on a church mission for two years in Argentina. When he returned, he applied to graduate schools and found that it was competitive, but he was able to attend the University of Arizona where he received his master’s degree in Child Development and Family Relations. He then applied to graduate schools again and this time he was accepted into the Industrial Organizational Psychology program at Purdue University where he received his second master’s degree. When he applied to doctoral programs, he found a home with Ball State University where he received his PhD in Counseling Psychology.
In this podcast, Dr. Daniel T. Moore shares more about his academic and professional journey and discusses where he received most of his practical experience. He also worked in the Military (Navy and Army) as a psychologist and admits this gave him more experience that he could apply to his clients when he opened his own private practice in Petal, MS. Your Family Clinic, LLC is a private practice where independent psychologists work and take a Holistic approach to psychology. Indeed, the website for Your Family Clinic, LLC is a collection of materials and information related to Holistic Psychology (a.k.a., Integrative Psychology or Functional Medicine). The goal of the website is to “provide the world with helpful information related to Holistic Psychology” which will “lead to an individual’s empowerment and functionality” as it relates to mental health and well-being.
Dr. Moore shares more about his professional journey and provides advice to those interested in psychology, neuropsychology, and those wanting to start their own practice. He also provides information on future goals for the website including developing applications and other resources for parents who have children struggling with neurodevelopmental issues such as the sequential memory needed to learn algebra. He is also working with functional medical doctors and nutritionists to help individuals with autism. You can learn more about his future plans around 15 minutes into our conversation.
Interests and Specializations
Dr. Daniel Moore is trained in several types of psychotherapy including EMDR, hypnosis, psychological testing, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has experience working with Military personnel, families, couples, and individuals and works with a variety of concerns such as people struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Autism, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Bachelor of Science (BS), Psychology (1979); University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
Master of Science (MS), Child Development and Family Relations (1984); University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
Master of Science (MS), Industrial Organizational Psychology (1985); Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Counseling Psychology (1993); Ball State University, Muncie, IN.
Welcome to the Master’s in Psychology podcast where psychology students can learn from psychologists, educators, and practitioners to better understand what they do, how they got there, and hear the advice they have for those interested in getting a graduate degree in psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher, and today we welcome Dr. Dan Moore to the show. Dr. Moore received his doctorate from Ball State University and has been a licensed psychologist in Mississippi since 1995. He has experience in counseling and clinical psychology and is interested in neurodevelopment to help resolve issues in autism, learning disorders, and brain injury. Today, we will learn more about his academic and professional journey and discuss his experiences as a psychologist in the armed forces as well as his private practice, Your Family Clinic, which focuses on holistic psychology. Dan, welcome to our podcast.
Thank you, great to be here.
Well, I’m glad that you’re taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. I usually start by asking just a generic question. I know you started your undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona, but what literally started you down the path of psychology?
Well, I was in pre-Med and then for some reason my brain just did not get calculus. No matter what I did it just could not get calculus. So, I decided I needed to do something else. So, I decided to, to go into, well I, I asked myself what was my favorite classes that I was taking, and the answer was psychology. I was really interested in psychology and so I decided to change my major to psychology.
OK, so while you were going through your undergrad at University of Arizona, you changed your major. Did you end up receiving a BA or a BS?
OK, and then do you remember why you originally chose University of Arizona?
Well, because it had a Med school there.
OK, and then you slowly realized that you have more of a passion for psychology instead of the medical route. After you finished your undergraduate in University of Arizona, what did you do then? I, I did see that you went to Ball State University for your doctorate, but in between the two, I didn’t really see much what you did in between the two? So, tell us what did you do right after you finished or your undergraduate?
OK so I went on a church mission for two years. Ah, I was able to go to Argentina and then, uh, I decided to apply for a masters, uh, a PhD program in clinical psychology and I applied for about, about 20 universities and received rejection notices from all of them, except for a master’s program at, um, at Purdue University at Indianapolis, and it was an industrial organizational psychology master’s. So, I went up there to complete a master’s program. Well, that was, I’m sorry, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I got first before I did all that. I got a master’s degree at the at University of Arizona in Child Development and Family Relations.
And after applying everywhere and then I did the same thing again, and the only place I got accepted was at the IO program in Indianapolis. And then I finished that program, and I was able to get all A’s in all these programs. And then I applied to Ball State University. And I only applied just that one place. That’s all I applied, and when I did my interview they said, wow, you’re our best candidate. Why didn’t you apply sooner? So anyway, it was a good fit between them and, and myself, and so that’s why I got my PhD.
OK, and if you recall what was the reason why you only applied at Ball State versus some other universities?
Well, I was working as a family therapist in a chemical dependency program and so I had two young children and a family and stuff like that and so Ball State was real close to where I was living. So that’s the reason I applied there.
OK, so if you had any advice for those who were seeking a graduate degree in psychology, what would you offer?
Well, the best way to get in is to get into a PhD program is immediately after you finish your bachelors. But if you can’t and you’re really interested in being a psychologist, then well keep trying and, and until finally you get in. It’s hard to do but, to me, it was worth it. Now, I wouldn’t recommend the way I went to anybody.
Well, you know if you look back that gave, you know, that gives you that experience and that gives you that knowledge. And it’s funny that they said, oh, you’re our best candidate, how come you didn’t apply earlier? So that’s, that’s a funny little story. I know that you did your postdoctoral internship at the Preferred Family Clinic in Provo, UT.
Preferred Family Clinic, yes.
Oh, OK, and what was, what really stood out, if you think back on this experience, what really stood out for you and what did you learn during your postdoctoral internship at that clinic?
Well, I learned a lot about being a psychologist at a, at a private clinic, and the different insurance plans and, and helping people from a wide spectrum from people living in poverty to wealthy people, so we got a whole wide range and a lot of different types of situations and disorders. So, it really was I was able to get a lot of experience really quick. So, and it was all supervised, so it was, is when I had a question or, or anything, there was great people to help me out there.
And then I know that you worked at the Pine Belt Mental Health Care Resources, and I don’t know if I’m going to pronounce this correctly, Hattiesburg, MS?
I tried. And you, you were there as a psychologist, and you actually were there for about 14 years. Uhm, anything that you can recall that was memorable while you were working at that, uh, that organization?
Well, when I was in at Pine Belt, I really got an interest in neurodevelopment, and I noticed that a lot of especially with learning disorders and dyslexia and stuff that that what they were doing at school just really wasn’t helping them and would lead to things like depression and anxiety in these children, so that’s when I learned about the structure of intellect and other neurodevelopmental models to help them to get the skills so that they could learn how to read and to progress in school. So that’s probably the main thing I got a lot of good training when I was there and they treated me really well and I don’t have a real good reason why I quit, I just did.
Well, maybe you, you wanted a, a next chapter in your experience, maybe that’s what you were thinking at the time or feeling at the time. But it does seem like you had the 14 years and then however long your postdoctoral internship was uh, you know, 15-16 years’ worth of a good variety and you, you mentioned more of the neuropsychology aspect as well. You then accepted a position as a psychologist for the Naval Air Station in Meridian, MS. I also saw that you were a psychologist for the Army as well. So how was your experience different from, um, you know, maybe treating the general public? Is there anything unique or was there anything kind of unique to that kind of setting in the armed forces?
There was a lot. Um, one of the things that I did in my, uh, Graduate School was I got a lot of experience in employee assistance programs. So while I was in Utah, I also was working for an agency that did employee assistance and at Pine Belt they restricted me to children and families, that’s all. So, it was a nice to get back into working with adults. And the Navy and the Army were great. Uh, it’s just a great place for psychologists to work. It’s low stress and, and they, they really appreciate psychologists and the work that you do so it was a nice environment to work for.
Did you find, and this is just off the cuff but while you were talking, I was trying to put myself in, you know, that position. Were, were some of your clients kind of forced to go into therapy with you, or was it on a volunteer basis? Tell me a little bit more about that. I’m showing my ignorance here, but I you know I would assume maybe all of them are forced or it’s required or, or tell me a little bit more about that.
Most are, are volunteer. There’s a few instances where they are forced, like if there’s been some domestic violence or something, or if there’s been a drug and alcohol use then they’ll force them in, but most of its volunteer.
It’s uh, related to stress from, you know we saw pilots at the Naval Air Station and they, they had a lot of stress they had to deal with and stuff, so they needed a psychologist there for that so but most of it was volunteer.
OK, alright. Thank you for sharing. I wasn’t sure how that how that worked. I know after you, uh, served as a psychologist both in the Naval Air Station and then a little bit in the Army as well you for a while and we talked about this before we started the discussion today. You, you had to travel between Petal, MS and Meridian, MS and I want to say it’s 85-90 miles each way. So, it’s basically an hour and a half each way, then you decided to go into private practice. What were some of the biggest challenges you experienced when starting your own practice?
Well, private practice is, is really difficult, especially for psychologists because you spend your time with a client, but you spend equal amount of time with setting up for the client and doing the billing. The billing is the hardest part about being in private practice. But I got lucky that fortunately my wife says, well, why don’t you just go in private practice, and you don’t have to travel and be gone all this time. And then I said, well, who will do the billing and who will do the, the setting up the clients. And she said I’ll do that. So that’s that really works out for me so I can see a lot more clients in private practice because she’s willing to do the, the billing and to the and setting up the appointments.
Well, that’s nice, uh, it’s a nice and I know you’ve been doing it. Uh, I think you’ve been there for a little over 10 years now, is that right?
OK, so let’s talk a little bit more about Your Family Clinic, LLC and I believe it’s located in Petal, MS.
And I’ll share my screen and show the home page here, but tell us a little bit more about how, how and why you started this and then how it’s evolved over the 10 years just to get us started.
OK, so. So, there’s in, in my mind there’s a big difference between the website and our actual clinic. There’s little information about our clinic on the website. Uh, but the, the clinic is a place where we see people face to face and we, uh, we do, since I’m in private practice, I see all kinds of types of clients, from children to teenagers to adults, so I get to see a wide range. And we’ve been really fortunate that we’ve haven’t had to do marketing. We’re just so I’ve been really blessed in that. And so, I get to pick my own hours and, and I and you know when I was working for some agency that I couldn’t work past a certain time and a lot of clients, that’s the only time they could come in when I was closed, so, so I was able to adjust my time so that I on two nights I worked later on in the evening. But I work around my house or do gardening or whatever in the morning and then go into work at night. So it’s been a really a good thing for me.
So, tell us a little bit more about the website then and, and what would you like to highlight on the website. A lot of good information, as I mentioned to you before we started recording here, but tell us a little bit more about the website.
So, the website’s been around for decades, and I’ve just been interested in a holistic approach to mental health as opposed to just psychology. So, I, I feel like if you treat the body as a whole, you just get a lot more, uh, functionality out of it and looking at the effects of nutrition and exercise and good sleep and, and so I have a section on psychology that talks about different disorders and then a section on nutrition but the, the thing I guess I’m most proud of is a neurodevelopmental section and pretty much it covers things, no matter what kind of disability you might have, there’s going to be something there that’s going to be useful to help develop the skills in order to be able to learn at school. So, you know, some people think that, uh, you do the same thing to all kids, and they’ll get all the same outcomes, but some kids do not have the skills to in some areas that they need to in order to learn, and so this kind of helps sort that out and gives some exercises that they can develop those skills. And once you develop the brain, it’s sort of like a permanent fix. You don’t have to redo it or, or accommodate for this or that because the brain’s been developed to be able to perform naturally.
And I do see on the side here you have different sections on, as you already mentioned, psychology and then Wellness and nutrition as well. You even get into kind of the spiritual aspect as well as parenting, and then the neurodevelopment, of course, you have a lot of information here as well. So, uhm, what, what are some of the goals for the future of the, of the website? I know that you have a lot of different areas and, and I know that you offer some products as well. So, what are some other future goals that you have for the website?
I’d like to be able to give a lot more direction for parents and when they’re having these issues with their kids, what to do that they could go to resources and resource and to share what would help be helpful to them what or what they’ve learned that would be helpful to other parents as well that’s struggling in the in these areas. So, we’ve got a couple of apps that we’re developing. One is related to sequential memory, which is necessary to learn algebra. A lot of kids, they get stuck with algebra and can’t even graduate from high school because they don’t have that sequential memory to, to be able to learn the steps involved in algebra. So, we have we’re going to develop an app that they can use on their phone and, and develop that skill. We’re also using developing an app on, uh, for attention skills for it’s called self-monitoring, so ask it ask them how are they are they being on task or not and then they can click on their phone if they are or not and then and then over time be able to monitor their own ability to stay focused and concentrate. So that’s, we’re looking forward to those apps to be developed. They’re almost ready. They’re almost ready to come out, so we’re excited about that.
That does sound exciting. It sounds very, you know, needed in in the field for those people, as you mentioned, who don’t have those sequential skills or memory. I, I did kind of look at some of your website here, memory, mathematics and then even some of the sensory integration and processing as well, and you have some good information on each of those pages.
Now, on our autism section, we’ve involved some input from functional medical doctors and nutritionists and working with, uh, individuals that have autism so, we’re kind of, we kind of like that section as well.
It looks like you have a support group in here as well and your blog. Uh, you know those people who don’t have children with autism or any, any place on the spectrum may not be able to relate to others who don’t have children on the spectrum and so they can’t really share and, and empathize with each other, unless they experience that, so it looks like you have some books and products and other articles to help those families with autism or other spectrum disorders on here as well. So, tell us a little bit more about, you know I know that you were talking about, you know the practice a little bit and I, I can’t leave without asking you this. If you were in therapy, could you describe your ideal therapist?
I guess the ideal therapist would be one that listens well, that’s sympathetic but also can give some pointers and directions on where to go next and stuff instead of waiting for that to unfold.
Well, that sounds good. You have to be a good listener that has to be a given and then be able to empathize and then also, the flexibility, I’ve had other guests on the on the show saying you, you mentioned it earlier in our discussion is you can’t, it’s not a one fits all kind of situation. You have to definitely listen and then customize your approach and your therapy depending on, uh, on any of the presenting, you know, orders of disorders based on your client. What advice would you give someone trying to break into the field of psychology, especially those who want to start their own practice? Or as you’re doing, in addition to the practice, having the website full of all of this information and all of the you know, supporting material and products as well. Any other advice for those who want to start their own practice? Or start a website similar to yours?
Well, I, I really enjoy techniques and so I just learn all I can about different techniques and if you do that, you’ll probably learn a lot more out of school than you will in school, and so, uh. And then, uh, I just enjoy learning different aspects of psychology. I’m just really into psychology and, and I, uh, I, you know, to me there’s I could talk for hours on psychology and different theories and different, but I guess individuals have to find what works for them, what works for their clients and, and go with that. And, and no two psychologists are going to be exactly the same.
What’s the most challenging part of your job and incorporate you know the website into your job as well as your practice? What’s the most challenging aspect of your job right now?
Guess, uh, as far as the job goes, the, the, the clients that are most frustrating are those adolescents that don’t really want to change. They just want to get high and just can and let people leave them alone. So that’s, that’s very difficult, but, uh, I like Milton Erickson’s approach to, to and the brief solution orientation. Solutions for those kind of, kind of challenges and so, but implementing them and getting some traction with that is, is often can be challenging and stuff. And of course, with the website the most challenging is getting enough people to come in and viewing it and knowing what it’s about and taking advantage of the, the resources that are there.
Well, I agree with you and that’s the biggest challenge of getting your, your presence out there on the web is bringing people to the website and you know part of our goal here at Master’s in Psychology, especially the podcast, is to help, you know, increase awareness of, and interest in, the field of psychology. And so, when we saw your website that was part of the reason why we wanted to invite you on ’cause we do have a lot of good supporting documents and articles and, and references and a lot of information for people to look at, especially those who have some children, you know going through any, as we talked about, ADHD, autism, bipolar, any of the learning disorders, trauma, anything that you’re, you’re dealing with. So, if you had to select one area of psychology that is your favorite, what would you say?
Let’s say neurodevelopment and I, and I, I feel bad that neurodevelopment isn’t more accepted in psychology and with insurance companies and stuff it’s like a dirty word or something like that. As they, and to me it shouldn’t be that way at all. It’s a normal kind of thing. You know we get balanced we, we could ride a bike we that we used to. We needed training wheels and all that is neurodevelopment. And even, even on our old age, we’re still doing neurodevelopment, and so I just wish they’d get more attention on that.
Yeah, I, I, I agree with you. A lot of the time, as soon as you hear somebody on the spectrum you don’t know how to talk, interact with them, anything and understanding that is the first step and then moving forward. So, I agree with you. I was going to ask you, you know, I asked you what was the most challenging part of your job? What do you like most about you?
I like seeing people change and accomplishing the goals that they set out, not the goals that I want for them, but the goals that they want for themselves. And then when they get that, that’s very rewarding.
OK, we have a few fun questions that we usually ask our guests at the end here and the first one is what is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?
Well, I I’m fascinated about Milton Erickson and if you ever learned anything about Milton Erickson, he was just fascinating and he did different things that are just amazing. But it’s all. Explains about psychology and how people behave and why they behave that way. So that’s what I, I really find enjoyable.
OK, and what was he mostly known for? Milton Erickson. If you can kind of give us a high-level summary. I brought him up on Wikipedia here real quick. While you were talking, but can you remember what uh?
I would say he would be considered like the father of strategic therapies of solution-based therapy because it’s a lot of his students. They went on to develop those theories and, and, and protocols for therapy. He’s also known for his hypnosis, but he also worked with indirect hypnosis, as opposed to direct hypnosis, he could do both, but he was great at indirect hypnosis so that people would, uh, benefit from trance without realizing that they were in trance.
OK, that’s interesting. We’ll definitely include that when we post this live for you. What is something new that you have learned recently? Inside or outside of your job, what is something new that you have learned recently?
Well, what I’m really excited about is the computer advances on assessment, like there’s a now an ADHD online for to diagnose ADHD disorders and then Cambridge Brain Sciences, which has a lot of some, uh, just measures cognitive functioning in a, in a, in a bunch and in several areas, and so I’m really excited about those developments.
Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of psychology?
I guess if you get discouraged, uh, it’s better to be the tortoise than the hare. Just keep with it and, and don’t give up and don’t take something that don’t settle for something that isn’t going to be as fulfilling as what you really want.
That’s good advice, that’s a good analogy as well. If you have the time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?
Ooh, I’d probably go back to Italy or Argentina and enjoy the people and the culture there.
That sounds fun. That sounds fun. Is there anything else that you’d like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?
Can’t think of anything.
I appreciate being here.
No Dan, I, I was just going to say I appreciate your time and willingness to share your thoughts and experiences. I, I love hearing about our guest’s story and, and their advice as well. We will definitely put up your website when we go live as well and again, thank you for sharing your story and advice with us Dan.