Thomas Nowak, Ph.D.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist who received a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a Masters Degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas. I have spent my 30 year career working with adolescents and their families in a variety of settings. My clinical specialties include ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, and parenting styles.
I arrived on the Valley View campus in 1987. I was impressed right from the start by the outstanding therapeutic milieu and the seamless design that promoted the healthy growth of the students. I was so impressed with this exceptional institution, that I proceeded to spend 30 years of my career contributing to its mission. I provided psychotherapeutic and consultative services to several generations of Valley View students. The staff is remarkable in their ability to develop solid, positive relationships with even the most withdrawn or disaffected boys. Acting out is contained firmly and without drama. Personal dynamics are explored such that boys can connect the dots of their experience in meaningful and beneficial ways. Many avenues of healthy expression are provided. The end result is students with greater self control, more self awareness, and the development of a positive sense of identity.
Prior to being named Executive Director of Valley View School, my professional life had three main components. I had a private practice in Worcester, MA, where I treated adolescents and adults. A portion of my practice involved providing psycho-diagnostic assessments and consultation for an inpatient psychiatric unit at UMASS Memorial Hospital. The second part of my career consisted of evaluating and treating patients within a large primary care clinic affiliated with the UMASS Medical Center system. My position was embedded within the medical treatment system, which afforded me a great opportunity to collaborate with physicians in the provision of holistic and integrative care for a host of medical and psychiatric disorders. The third segment of my career has been providing psychotherapeutic and consultation services at Valley View School.
It is a great honor and privilege to have been named the Executive Director of Valley View School. Valley View is a remarkable school with a storied past. The therapeutic milieu that impressed me 30 years ago continues to be the foundation of our program. However, the fields of adolescent psychology, neuroscience, and diagnostic and therapeutic techniques have exploded in the last few decades. We are committed to using these insights to provide even better outcomes for our students and their families. In this regard, we have launched initiatives to enhance our family therapy services, group therapy options, and wellness/ mindfulness programming. We recognize that each student has a unique learning style and thus we have adapted our academic program to meet these individualized needs. Combined with our team of outstanding doctoral level clinicians, psychiatric services, ever widening array of activities, and our beautiful 200+ acre campus, Valley View School constitutes a first-class therapeutic and educational facility.
On a personal note, I have a wide range of interests that includes hiking, travel, playing guitar, and taking on-line educational courses. I have always kept physically active and enjoy weight training, football and basketball. I am pleased to note that I can still get up and down the basketball court with our students. Having raised three children, and being on the verge of sending our youngest off to college, I understand the joys and challenges of parenting a teenager in today’s world. I have great empathy for both teens and their parents who find themselves stuck in a negative spiral. I am pleased that we at Valley View School can offer a path out of this painful struggle, and give our students skills that will be essential in all aspects of life.
This is truly an exciting time for Valley View School. I look forward to providing leadership as we continue our mission to empower our students with the tools they need to become healthy, engaged young men.