Hello. My name is Oliver J. “Ollie” Morgan and I am a tenured Professor of Counseling and Human Services at the University of Scranton in Scranton, PA. This is my thirtieth year of teaching at the University. During that time I have been privileged to pursue scholarly and clinical interests in addiction, family therapy, medical family therapy, and spirituality. With over 25 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and five edited books, I believe that I offer a unique and needed perspective in my teaching and writing.
I have spent much of my life learning and sharing what I know with others. As a teacher, counselor, and supervisor, my goal has been to enhance the quality of my encounters with persons from all walks of life and share what I have come to know and believe. Through this website I hope to do the same. If you have come here to learn more about addiction, recovery, counseling and spirituality, you’ve come to the right place.
Over a number of years I have been privileged to teach many students who go on to work in the addiction and recovery profession. Many of my graduate and undergraduate students have been “turned on” to the field of Addiction Studies and, after successful internships, now work at such prestigious treatment centers as Marworth Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Waverly, PA, Clearbrook Treatment Centers located in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Brookdale Premier Addiction Recovery in the Pocono Mountains, and The Caron Foundation with regional centers in PA, NY, New England, and Washington, DC. I take great pride in their accomplishments and commitment.
“You were an integral part of my career path. It was your class that sparked an interest in addictions for me and I have been in the field since graduation.
Thank you for doing what you do; your inspiration and excitement about the field inspired me and I have had a very happy and rewarding career in addictions.”
Recent message from a former student
My Clinical & Scholarly Interests
While I continue to teach and publish in the field of Addiction Studies, I also began branching out some years ago into another exciting field of endeavor. After additional training and supervision in Medical Family Therapy, under the mentorship of Dr. Susan McDaniel at the University of Rochester, I accepted the invitation of a group medical practice in oncology and hematology. Over 12 years ago, I helped to establish a practice in psychosocial oncology, co-located with the medical group, at Hematology and Oncology Associates of Northeastern Pennsylvania. For ten years my colleagues and I worked with hundreds of cancer patients, caregivers and family members, as they struggle with this serious chronic illness.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention my evolution into another new field of study and clinical work in childhood adversity, trauma, and toxic stress. A little more than ten years ago, I had the privilege of meeting and working briefly with Dr. Robert Anda, MD, one of the originators of the Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE, studies. Exposure to these landmark studies, emerging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Kaiser Permanente health system, convinced me of the need to reorient the ways in which clinical providers think about our patients and their histories.
The two most underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed problems we confront as clinical providers are addiction and trauma.
Importantly, these problems often co-occur in the lives of people we see in counseling. In fact, this co-occurrence is so common that, as my friend & colleague Robert Grant says, they can be considered “brother and sister” maladies. And as we are learning, adversity and chronic illness also co-occur with great frequency.
So, my three areas of clinical expertise – addiction, attachment & adversity, and chronic illness – have finally joined hands. This captures so much of my evolution as a professor and clinical provider! One small example of this is my commitment to assessing every cancer patient for histories of trauma and substance abuse. My informal survey and chart review of my own cancer patients confirms the ACE Study data: A high percentage have a history of trauma, which they have lived with for a long time and never discussed with anyone.
Most Recent Development
All this work has resulted in my most recent, award-winning book: Addiction, Attachment, Trauma, and Recovery: The Power of Connection (2019, W.W. Norton). It garnered acclaim as the 2020 Winner of the Independent Press Awards in the category of Addiction & Recovery. It is a recent addition to the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology.
This new book is a fresh take on addiction and recovery, presenting a more inclusive framework than traditional understandings. Cutting-edge work in attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, and trauma is integrated with ecological-systems thinking to provide a consilient and comprehensive picture of addiction.
I’ve just turned 70 years old and am eager to continue this work. There will be more to come.