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FAQ > MORE ABOUT ME > Why did you become psychologist?

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DID I MENTION I WANTED TO BE BOB NEWHART WHEN I GREW UP? 

It's true.

(Here's something personal you probably didn't expect). 

I used to watch The Bob Newhart Show growing up and I knew I wanted to be a wise-cracking psychologist just like the main character, Dr. Robert Hartley.  Ever the realists, my parents told me I must want to be a comedian -- that's what he really was.  But, I could never see myself staring out into a smoke-filled room after my joke flopped, tapping a microphone and asking, "Is this thing on?" 

I now know I just recognized my career path early on -- I would even read my mother's psychology text books "for fun" while I was still in elementary school.  One of the biggest thrills of my high school life was taking a psychology class elective from a real psychologist. (Really).

But my parents weren't altogether wrong, humor did become a big part of my life as well.  I even worked as a wise-cracking tour guide on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland where I would dump the canned spiel and recount personal vignettes to unsuspecting trourists.  I still feel slightly guilty that people would come from around the world only to hear about my identification with various Brady children or to see me renact Lily Tomlin routines ("Why is it that when we talk to God we're said to be praying, but when God talks to us we're schizophrenic?").

It really wasn't until I was well into my Master's degree that I began to  slowly realize that the biggest influence on my becoming a psychologist was having an older brother who is has a severe developmental disability.  There is no way for me to summarize the deep impact it had on me.  Words seem inadequate.  But, my hunger for understanding of why we are the way we are and my strong desire to help others have deeper, fuller, and more enriching lives is something that goes to my very core.

FYI - Here is one of my favorite pictures of my brother carrying the Special Olympics Torch.  He has participated in the Special Olympics for years and it has always been one of his true joys. (And don't be thrown by the law enforcement officer, he is both assisting my brother in holding up the torch and trying to duck out the picture - very thoughtful).

Last updated on April 14, 2012 by Gregory L. Cason, Ph.D.