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4/5/2017 » 4/8/2017
2017 Annual Convention

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:     Andrew Kane, PhD    

Fortunately for us, Andy Kane never made it to the Twin Cities to start a private practice, as he had intended. Instead, his life trajectory has been shaped by his deep commitment to social justice and human betterment and a penchant for taking personal risks to serve his community, particularly those in need.

In 1970 before completing his doctorate at UW Milwaukee, Andy volunteered at the Underground Switchboard, a hotline that helped callers with issues in their personal lives, including drugs of all sorts, and led a teen rap group. Before long, he helped establish the Underground Switchboard Free Medical Clinic, where he volunteered his psychological services for people identified by clinic staff. In a few months, demand for competent mental health services grew to require development of The Counseling Center of Milwaukee (TCCM). Andy founded TCCM and was its executive director from 1970-1978.

Upon graduation from UWM in 1971, Dr. Kane had already established himself as a purveyor of mental health care for the city’s poor and underserved. The formation of TCCM and his reputation in the community brought further opportunities. In 1974, the Board of Directors of Pathfinders for Runaways, an outpatient counseling and brief residential program for youth, requested that Pathfinders become part of TCCM.

His commitment exacted considerable demand at a personal level. In his early years, he worked 70-100 hours a week, with limited grant funding covering about two dozen staff at TCCM and Pathfinders. All services, however, were done gratis. By 1978, he established his private practice, allowing him to take a very active role in raising his two children (born in 1977 & 1980). Rather than rent an office, he located his practice in the coach house behind his house on Milwaukee’s East Side.

Over 40-plus years of professional life, Dr. Kane has developed a broad range of expertise, including crisis intervention, substance abuse and dependence, and forensic psychology (involuntary civil commitment, guardianship, personal injury, and child custody) to name a few. He has held adjunct positions in the UWM Psychology Department and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, as well as court appointments and/or attorney retainers. His forensic work resulted in books on child custody (co-authored 6 to date) and evaluations for personal injury (co-authored 4 to date) and over 60 articles and chapters dedicated to improving forensic psychological assessments. He was made a Diplomate of the American Board of Assessment Psychology in 1993. 

Dr. Kane is also committed to improving psychology itself. In 1978, he helped create the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology, where he offered a course in community psychology for 26 years and currently offers an elective in personal injury forensic psychology. He is a dedicated member of WPA (president, 1983-84; ethics committee, 1993-2003; legislative proposal review team, current). He was Milwaukee Area Psychological Association president in 1982. In 1984, Dr. Kane established a WPA task force to address sexual abuse perpetrated by therapists. The task force grew to include other professions and resulted in formation of the Wisconsin Coalition on Sexual Misconduct by Psychotherapists and Counselors, which he chaired until 1989. In 1989, he was elected the first president of the WPA Division of Forensic and Correctional Psychologists.

In recent years, Dr. Kane has thought of himself as a “minister without portfolio”. He remains a vital force in mental health and psychology, making regular contributions to professional and consumer group listservs on treatment, practice and funding. Most recently, he is an advisor to one of three “crisis respite houses” under development through state funding.

Dr. Kane describes his motivation as consistently organized around social justice and professional betterment. While he has been “cutting back” to only full time status, he remains busy with practice and immerses himself in all things psychology. He finds joy in the life experience and accomplishments of his two children, two stepchildren and his wife -- and is entertained daily by his five cats.

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