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Dr. Linda Hamilton Ph.D. ’89: A Delicate Dance

Alumni, Professionals


 

Published:

April 6, 2012
Tagged: Derner School of Psychology, Garden City
 

Dr. Linda Hamilton Ph.D. ’89: A Delicate Dance

Alumni, Professionals


 

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Psychologist in Private Practice
Former Dancer, New York City Ballet

Special Professor: George Stricker- “He was a clinician who valued research, and instilled that passion in his students.”

Advice for Adelphi students: “Attend professional conferences, I have attended the annual American Psychological Association conference, and presented, every year since 1988. It really helps you meet interesting and important people.” 

A Delicate Dance

A psychologist isn’t the first person you’d expect to be concerned with the number of workers compensation claims filed by the dancers of the New York City Ballet.

But Linda Hamilton, a former member of the company and a professional dancer for 19 years, is no ordinary psychologist.

Together with her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Hamilton borrowed from their collective years of experience working with performing artists, from her own dance training, and from her research on occupational stress to create a comprehensive mental and physical wellness program that reduced injury claims by half.

The daughter of a violinist and a painter, Dr. Hamilton is no stranger to the stresses faced by performing artists. “I think it’s tough to be in an industry where you are constantly judged,” she says. “You always have to prove yourself.”

In her private practice, she works with performing artists in all fields. She is currently working on her third book, a self-help guide for dancers based on New York City Ballet’s wellness program.  It’s a process she lightheartedly compares to giving birth to an elephant.

Dr. Hamilton’s first book, The Person Behind the Mask, was an academic text for university students in the performing arts and psychologists interested in working in this domain.  Her second book, Advice for Dancers, was compiled from her popular advice column in Dance Magazine.

For 12 years, she has responded to letters concerning physical, emotional, and mental challenges faced by dancers throughout their career. Her work with performers is featured in the documentary A Vision to Heal.

Dr. Hamilton has also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, the Fox News Channeland National Public Radio as an expert on eating disorders. Although she did see dancers struggle with these conditions, she was drawn to this field as an undergraduate, and expanded it as a graduate researcher in Adelphi’s Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies.

She worked with Michelle Warren, M.D. and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D. who were studying eating disorders and dancers. She published the first six of her 45 research and popular articles with them, including one in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Hamilton was drawn to the Derner Institute for its emphasis on clinical practice and research, and its freedom of spirit. “There was no cookie cutter model at Derner. Everyone was working to develop their own interests in psychology.” She commuted to Adelphi for classes, and returned to Manhattan to perform with the New York City Ballet at night.

Dr. Hamilton has lived in New York City all her life. In her free time, she enjoys the artistic and cultural offerings of the city, and is an avid reader. She and her husband, Bill, also enjoy escaping to their quiet cabin in the Adirondack mountains with their two pets.

 
Tagged: Derner School of Psychology, Garden City
 
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