Patricia Hamilton Shook, PhD, MA, BA, is a writer and clinical psychologist with more than three decades of expertise working with and on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. She has spent much of her career as a psychologist for the Department of Developmental Services, where she administers programming and assesses applications for services and court proceedings for appeals. Her work with the Department of Developmental Services extends to working directly with clients to administer IQ tests and other clinical evaluations as well as provide cognitive behavioral therapy sessions and create treatment plans. Dr. Shook’s initial interest in psychology was driven by her teenage experiences with clinical depression, inspiring her drive to understand the human brain and find a way to help others experiencing the same challenges.
Dr. Shook earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from San Francisco State University and returned to continue postgraduate study, earning a Master of Arts in developmental psychology in 1981. During her master’s studies, she had begun working in institutional treatment facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, and the field was undergoing a period of reinvention to focus more on outpatient treatments and more patient-centered options. Her passion for working with these kinds of patient populations had already been solidified, and she decided to pursue a doctoral program at Northeastern University to continue her work in the field. Dr. Shook recalls feeling that she “beat the odds” being accepted to the program, and though the 1990s were a time of personal loss and financial challenges, she completed a Doctor of Philosophy in counseling psychology in 2000, an accomplishment she regards as a career highlight.
After almost 15 years in her current role with the Department of Developmental Services, Dr. Shook is beginning to plan her exit from professional counseling to focus on her second career as a fiction writer. Despite early recognition of her talent for writing, including encouragement from mentors and college professors, her interest in psychology took precedent for much of her life. She self-published her first novel, “Seeking Glory: A Novel About Relationships, Loss, and Finding Your Way Home,” in 2018, and is currently working on a follow-up.
Dr. Shook’s style has been described as mystery with a deep empathy for her characters and an emphasis on identity, family ties, and the complexity of personal growth underscored by her professional background. “Seeking Glory” was the winner of the 2019 EVVY Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, and holds dozens of five-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Dr. Shook credits her success to her tenacity and perseverance, and looks forward to the completion and publication of her next work-in-progress. When she is not writing, Dr. Shook enjoys genealogy, reading, and studying languages.