How It Paid Off: From Police Officer to Psychologist

An alumnus explains how his PhD opened the doors to two rewarding careers.

Posted on January 1, 2014

By Amy DerBedrosian
January 2014

Dr. Timothy Barclay
Dr. Timothy Barclay.

NAME: Dr. Timothy Barclay ’10

DEGREE: PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Clinical Psychology

JOB BEFORE MY DEGREE: Detective sergeant in the New Castle Police Department in Pennsylvania

JOB AFTER MY DEGREE: Licensed clinical psychologist at Wyndhurst Counseling Center in Lynchburg, Va., and associate professor at Liberty University

HOW MY DEGREE HELPS ME MAKE A LARGER IMPACT: As a police officer, I was disheartened by the quality of care that was available. As I was nearing retirement, I realized police work had sparked my interest in psychology. As an officer, I saw people in my community at their worst—often requiring the help of local mental health agencies. My Ph.D. gave me the knowledge and ability to help others as a psychologist so they can achieve their goals. Police work also piqued my interest in human behavior, and the courses at Walden really increased my interest in research. My research has revealed four traits that create a state of well-being and resilience: hope, commitment, accountability, and passion. I’m currently writing a textbook on the clinical use of the model.

BIGGEST BENEFIT OF EARNING A DEGREE AT WALDEN: As I was finishing my dissertation, I became a professor at Liberty University—my ultimate career goal. I’ve used the framework I experienced at Walden to develop my own teaching style and assignments for my students. I use everything I learned at Walden on a regular basis, whether in my teaching, research, or clinical practice. My Ph.D. was the linchpin that allowed me to do what I do now.

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