About Dr. Stanton Peele - Addiction Expert

Stanton Peele is a psychologist who has changed the addiction field.

Stanton Peele

He is a world-renowned addiction expert, author and therapist, who has remained prominently at the forefront of the addiction field for four decades, challenging and changing the way people understand addiction and recovery.

He has pioneered, among other things, the idea that addiction occurs with a range of experiences, recognition of natural recovery from addiction, and the harm reduction approach to addiction.

“Stanton Peele is a true pioneer of addiction research and theory. His ideas must be reckoned with by anyone who is serious about understanding addiction—and they offer hope to the many millions for whom current approaches are not effective or who simply prefer evidence-based alternatives.”

Maia Szalavitz, author of Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction

“Few figures in the recovery world have been as controversial as Stanton Peele. While his arguments have been vehemently challenged by many AA stalwarts, Peele, who has authored countless books and treatises on the subject, remained staunchly committed to his thesis that AA is not the only way to treat addiction, and that alcoholism is not a chronic and progressive disease.”

"10 People Revolutionizing How We Study Addiction and Recovery,” The Atlantic

“Stanton Peele is a champion of the power people have to change, and has long been a pioneer in rejecting the deterministic belief that addiction is a disease that one has forever and that addicts are powerless in the face of their cravings. He has shown instead that cognitive and life skills are keys to kicking addictions.”

Hara Estroff Marano, Editor at Large, Psychology Today

Stanton Peele’s is a revolutionary approach to the treatment of addictions. This should be of enormous help to people struggling with them.”

Aaron T. Beck, M.D., Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania; creator of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

“Stanton Peele was the real pioneer. Diseasing of America provided (and still provides) the foundation of the current revolt against the disease model of addiction. It opened my eyes when I read it.”

Marc Lewis, Ph.D., author of The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease

“Peele offers mindful alternatives to those suffering from addictions and to professionals seeking to help them.”

Ellen Langer, Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University; author of Mindfulness and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility



  • Rutgers University Law School – J.D., May 1997.
  • University of Michigan – Ph.D., social psychology, May 1973.
  • Woodrow Wilson, U.S. Public Health, and Ford Foundation Fellowships.
  • University of Pennsylvania – B.A., Political Science, May 1967. Mayor’s and State Scholarships, cum laude graduate with distinction in major field, best dissertation in the social sciences.


  • Best Chemical Health Career, 2014, Muscala Chemical Health, Minneapolis, MN.
  • One of ten most influential addiction experts in America, 2011, The Fix.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006, International Network on Personal Meaning, Vancouver.
  • The Creation of the Annual Stanton Peele Lecture, 1998, by the Addiction Studies Program, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Alfred Lindesmith Award, 1994, from the Drug Policy Foundation (now Alliance), Washington, DC/New York.
  • Mark Keller Award, 1989, from the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, New Brunswick, NJ.

Current and Recent Positions

  • Development of on-line Life Process Program, 2012-present.
  • Developed Life Process Program, the basis for residential treatment at St Gregory Retreat Center. May 2008-2011.
  • Blogger for Psychology Today and Huffington Post. March 2008-present.
  • Forensic psychologist. Criminal responsibility, psychiatric and chemical dependence diagnoses and treatment abuses. 1987-present.
  • Advisor, American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV-TR section on substance abuse.
  • Adjunct Professor, New School University. 2004-present. Series of workshops on addiction topics, including “The Meaning of Addiction,” “Evidence-Based Therapies or Addiction,” “Harm-Reduction Treatment,” etc.
  • Adjunct Clinical Professor, New York University School of Social Work. 2003-2007, including teaching courses, “History and Theory” and “Treatment Principles and Techniques” in the Post-Master’s Program in the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug.
  • Visiting Professor, Bournemouth University, UK. 2003-2010.
  • Addiction consultant. International and national lecturer. 1976-present.
  • Private psychologist, psychological consultant. 1976-2012.
  • Private attorney, New Jersey-New York. 1998-2012.
  • Pool attorney, Morris County Public Defender’s Office. 1998-1999, 2001-2003.
  • Editorial Board, Addiction Research. 1994-2002. Associate Editor. 2002-2010.
  • Fellow, Drug Policy Alliance. 1994-present.
  • Member, S.M.A.R.T. Recovery International Advisory Council. 1998-present.
  • Board of Directors, Moderation Management. 1994-2000.

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