Executive Corner – Stephen Dansiger

November 12, 2019

The Executive Corner is a new weekly feature of the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin. We send our participants forty questions and ask them to choose twenty they would like to answer. It includes a short profile and a link to their website. We hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin or its staff.



Stephen Dansiger, PsyD, MFT

Dr. Steve played CBGB and Max’s Kansas City in the late 70s; drank, played drums in a toy rock band and then got sober in the late 80s; became an international educator and rocker again in the 90s; and is now a sought after clinician, writer and meditation teacher. Dr. Steve has attempted to cure Marc Maron on his world renowned WTF Podcast, become a master EMDR therapist and provider of EMDR Training and Advanced Topics Courses with the Institute for Creative Mindfulness, and is a pioneer in the Buddhist recovery field. He is the creator and founder of the MET(T)A Protocol (Mindfulness and EMDR Treatment Template for Agencies) which utilizes both Buddhist psychology and EMDR therapy to create an agency’s primary clinical practice system. He is the author of Clinical Dharma: A Path for Healers and Helpers, EMDR Therapy and Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care (coauthored with Jamie Marich), and Mindfulness for Anger Management. He avidly blogs and podcasts on topics related to mental health, recovery, and mindfulness. Besides maintaining a private practice in Los Angeles, he travels internationally speaking and teaching on Buddhist mindfulness, EMDR therapy, the MET(T)A Protocol, trauma, Buddhist approaches to treating mental health issues, and clinician self-care. He has been practicing Buddhist mindfulness for almost 30 years (including a one year residency at a Zen monastery), and teaches dharma classes regularly in Los Angeles and other centers internationally.


Q. If you are in recovery, what was your Drug of Choice and when did you discontinue its use?
A. Alcohol with a side order of anything else I could ingest, 1989. 

Q. At which of the schools you attended did you learn the most?
A. All of them: SUNY Empire State, Jersey City State College, NYU, California Southern University, University of Pennsylvania 

Q. Do you believe leaders are made or born?
A. I think it’s a combination. Those that are born can squander it, and those that are not born with it can develop it. 

Q. Which film have you watched the most?
A. Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders. 

Q. Who is your favorite celebrity in recovery?
A. Elton John. 

Q. If you ever retire, would you prefer to live by the ocean, lake, river, or mountaintop, or penthouse?
A. River, with easy access to the mountains. 

What is your favorite hotel or resort?
A. Madonna Inn. I love kitsch. 

Q. Where do you go to “get away”?
A. My meditation cushion. 

Q. What is your biggest or littlest pet peeve?
A. Ignorance and hatred. 

Q. How do you measure success?
A. I measure success by whether I have alleviated some suffering that day. 

Q. If you had an extra million dollars, which charity would you donate it to?
A. EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program. 

Q. Who was your biggest influence throughout your life?
A. My mom and dad. 

Q. What is your current hobby?
A. Playing the drums. 

Q. What prominent fe/male figure would you most like to date?
A. Ask my wife that question. 

Q. If you were giving a dinner party for your 3 favorite authors, Living or dead, who would they be? 
A. (choose 4 if you think one might be too drunk or stoned to attend.) A. Shakespeare, Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Radio show, news show, podcast?
A. WTF with Marc Maron 

Q. What is your FAVORITE APP?
A. Genius scan. I no longer lose stuff. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE TV/cable/digital series?
A. I don’t have much time for TV, the last one I watched was Chernobyl. 

Q. Who is your FAVORITE Director?
A. Jim Jarmusch. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Museum?
A. Norton Simon, its close by and has a whole lotta Buddhas. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Band/composer/musical artist?
A. So many, but for now I will say it is still The Clash. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Broadway musical/play?
A. The ones I saw on Broadway as a kid: Annie, The Wiz, Grease. 

Q. Who is your FAVORITE Psychologist or what school of thought as related to psychology?
A. Francine Shapiro and EMDR therapy; Pierre Janet 3 Stage Model of Trauma Treatment, Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths and 8 Fold Path 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Sport to watch? To play?
A. I love watching baseball, I love playing tennis. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Snack?
A. Nuts and berries. 

Q. What books are you reading now?
A. Reinventing American Healthcare by Zeke Emanuel. Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron. The First Cell by Azra Raza 

Q. Do you take work home with you?
A. I run my life the same way I run my company, as 9 to 5 as possible … I am in grad school again (University of Pennsylvania Masters in Health Care Innovation) so that is where I am working overtime… 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Cuisine? Food.
A. Ok, Sushi. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE Restaurant?
A. Any decent diner in NYC. 

Q. What is your FAVORITE City?
A. Brooklyn, the land of my birth, still holds my heart. 

Q. Have you ever been arrested and, if so, what for?
A. Arrested, but then let go, for distributing clean needles and condoms way back in the ’80s. 

Q. Do you have any children?
A. I have a daughter, Sadie, she just turned 10. 

Q. Do you think the U.S. should adopt the Portuguese?
A. Decriminalization Model? Anything that will bring us closer to treatment over incarceration is a step in the right direction. 

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. “You can do anything you want except beat yourself up.” – My therapist, Simon 


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