Passings: Long-time clinical psychology instructor Harvey Brooker dies

Harvey Brooker, a long-time clinical psychology instructor at York University, died peacefully in his home at the age of 85 on Oct. 24.

Harvey Brooker

Brooker was an adjunct professor in York’s Department of Psychology, and was a long-time clinical teacher and mentor in clinical psychology.

“He was an instructor for our Ethics course and Psychodiagnostics courses for decades, a psychologist’s psychologist, someone we turned to for counsel and advice,” said Joel Goldberg, chair and associate professor of the Department of Psychology. “He was deeply serious about supervision (yet still funny), truly perceptive and insightful about his students and their work.”

For many years, Brooker was head of the Outpatient Psychology Department at the former Clarke Institute (now part of CAMH) where the weekly case rounds he led were an incredible model for the kind of learning and critical appraisal that goes beyond the surface symptom to understanding the person.

In addition to serving as a site visitor for the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) accreditation bodies, Brooker taught two PhD courses in psychology for many years, contributed to the development of items for the jurisprudence and ethics provincial College of Psychologists exam, and contributed on many formal dissertation committees as a supervisor and as a committee member. He also served as a regular examiner over a period of decades on the York University clinical area competency exams.

His lifetime work was recognized with the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology (2013) and indeed, quite fittingly, the Ontario Psychological Association Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching is named in his honour.

Known both nationally and internationally for his training expertise, Brooker was a valued site visitor for both the APA and the CPA for training programs and internships.

He is survived by his wife Grace, who was a true partner; he worked alongside her for years as she staffed the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA), which was almost literally born in their home. He is also survived by their two children, Dena and Michael.