Steven Berglas, Ph.D., has worn a number of professional hats during various phases of a career that has been devoted to understanding the negative psychological consequences of work and success, including research scientist, psychotherapist, consultant, executive coach, and author. Berglas’ professional career began at Harvard Medical School when he was awarded two successive NIH Career Scientist Development Awards to develop his model of success-induced alcoholism. At McLean Hospital, he specialized in studying and treating narcissistic personality disorders. During almost 30 years at Harvard Medical School he also maintained a private psychotherapy practice.
Dr. Berglas’ work with victims of burnout—most of them money managers of various stripes (hedge fund managers, private equity firm principals)—began in 1986 when a front-page story in The New York Times business section1 described his academic research and clinical specialty: “People who hit bottom when they reach the top.” In 2000, he moved to Los Angeles to study success among business leaders, first as Instructor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management then as Adjunct Professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business, where his academic foci were success-induced burnout, burnout prevention, hubris, and entrepreneurial psychology.
Since then, Dr. Berglas’ professional focus has shifted from psychotherapy to executive coaching, applying knowledge of behavioral and psychodynamic psychiatry to creating interventions designed to foster the success of high level executives who are at risk of, or are in the process of, derailing.
In addition to C-level executives and money managers, Berglas has worked with scores of attorneys, mostly managing partners of large firms—the legal system’s equivalent of a CEO—and also a number of senor litigators. He also works with many men and women in the TV and music industries, as well as professional athletes.
Dr. Berglas has authored four books that examine how the changes brought about by career success cause vocational, interpersonal, and psychological problems:
The Success Syndrome: Hitting Bottom When You Reach The Top (Plenum, 1986)
Self-Handicapping (Plenum, 1991),
Your Own Worst Enemy: Understanding the Paradox of Self-Defeating Behavior (Basic Books, 1993) and
Reclaiming the Fire: How Successful People Overcome Burnout (Random House, 2001), named by Fortune Magazine to its list of the 75 Smartest Business Books ever written.
Dr. Berglas has also published over 70 articles and journal reports on the causes and cures of self-defeating behavior, the factors that cause executives to fail, and how to prevent white-collar crime.
Berglas holds a Ph.D. from Duke University and did post-doctoral training in social psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Harvard Medical School.