Dan Thorne has unique perspectives on the field of mental health. As a clinician, he has had over 40 years of experience working with clients in the Southern California area. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Irvine, he got his first real taste of working with children in the Orange County Juvenile Hall, where he honed his earliest techniques on at-risk children. After that, he obtained his Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton. In the 1980’s, he was in private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Orange County. He also worked for an employee assistance company, worker’s compensation firm, weight loss clinic, and traveled California as a developer and teacher of seminars in leadership and stress management.
In the 1990’s, Dan turned his attention to the clinical and administrative side of behavioral health organizations. For three years, he was the Clinical Director and Assistant Administrator of Starting Point, a residential and outpatient chemical dependency facility in Costa Mesa, CA. He created the levels of care programs for them and helped improve the number of patients who successfully completed treatment. Dan then went to La Palma Intercommunity Hospital, where he worked as the Administrative Director of their Behavioral Health department. He grew their program from only an inpatient unit to a partial hospitalization for mental health and outpatient chemical dependency program. He also was the developer of a psychiatric independent practice association which managed the behavioral health of over 150,000 members.
Dan’s next journey led him to Newport Psychiatric Care, where he managed the behavioral health of over 250,000 members. In 2001, he took an opportunity to be the Director of Harbor View Community Services Center in Long Beach. When he arrived, the Center had only 80 clients and 13 staff; when he left, there were over 400 clients and 75 staff. Dan was the developer of several of their outpatient programs as part of their contract with the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health and Child and Family Services. Under his guidance, Harbor View became one of the leading providers of children’s services in Los Angeles County.
While thinking of ways to better help the parents of the children who were clients at the Center, Dan reflected on his experiences as a parent. His children themselves had special needs such as mental and intellectual challenges, and Dan saw firsthand the toll it takes on the parent. He realized that, in order to help the child, the parent has to be healthy. From this concept, he created his parenting program. After years of refining it, teaching it to his staff at the Center, and then taking the results and comments from these efforts, he became the developer of the current PRAXES program. It is a culmination of Dan’s personal trials and tribulations as a parent along with empirical results and research of over 40 parenting programs.
The PRAXES program is now available for programs and agencies to use throughout California.
Dan lives in Westminster, California with his wife Sheila and his two Cockapoos, Bella Rose and Gracie. His five grown children and four grandchildren also live close by. When not working on PRAXES, he loves to write fiction novels, draw, walk with the dogs, and spoil his grandchildren.