Joseph Nowinski, PhD

Joseph Nowinski, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who is currently Supervising Psychologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He has held positions as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco and Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Nowinski is internationally recognized for his work in substance abuse treatment. He has a private practice in Tolland, Connecticut. Dr. Nowinski is the author of many books including Saying Goodbye: How Families Can Find Renewal Through Loss, which was published in 2011 by Harvard Health Publications. Dr. Nowinski has been interviewed hundreds of times throughout his career and his books have been featured in The New York Times, Psychotherapy Networker, NPR, and many other media outlets. He blogs regularly for and You can learn more about his work at


Also by Joe Nowinski from Harvard Health Publications

Saying Goodbye book cover

Q&A with Dr. Nowinski

  • Why did you go into psychology?

    I worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry before deciding that I was much more interested in how people worked than I was interested in how jet planes worked. I decided to take some night courses in psychology, and soon I was hooked. Two years later, I left my engineering job to go to graduate school in clinical psychology, first at Syracuse University and then at the University of Connecticut.
  • What is one of your most memorable experiences during your PhD program?

    I spent a year working as a graduate assistant in a “Psychoeducational Clinic” at Syracuse University. It was a clinic that did comprehensive assessments and provided treatment services for some of the most mentally ill children in the area. The staff was incredible and the children were—to say the least—challenging, but lovable nonetheless.
  • Why did you write Almost Alcoholic?

    I jumped at the opportunity to write Almost Alcoholic because of experience I had developing one of three treatments that were used in Project MATCH, the largest psychotherapy outcome study ever completed. The one result of that study that always stuck in my mind was that people who were not yet true alcoholics benefited from treatment, just as the true alcoholics did. So, I naturally wondered why treatment was always being directed at alcoholics, while those who were “almost” alcoholic were largely ignored, even though they (and their loved ones) were also suffering.
  • What do you hope readers will get out of reading Almost Alcoholic?

    I hope readers get two things out of the book:

    • Understanding that drinking behavior lies on a spectrum that runs from normal social drinking to alcoholism, and that those who are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum may need help, and
    • That solutions are available for those who are in that middle ground and who want to move back out of it.
  • What are your plans for next year?

    I have done consulting in the area of substance abuse treatment for many years, and I am looking forward to including the concept of almost alcoholic and the solutions we offer in those opportunities to train professionals.
  • What do you like to do outside of work?

    I have an 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son whose activities keep me quite busy in my “free” time!