Dean Shrock, Ph.D. was born in Central Pennsylvania, but soon moved to Pittsburgh, Pa. where he graduated from high school in 1963. He attended Cleveland State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1968.
In 1977 Dr. Shrock began training to be a lecturer in a self-help program with its founder, Ken McCaulley. Shrock returned to college in 1980, graduating from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio with a master’s in Community and College Counseling in 1983, and completing his doctorate in Counseling Psychology in 1986. His doctoral dissertation was titled, Relaxation, Guided Imagery, and Wellness.
In 1986 Dr. Shrock completed a post-doctoral internship where he developed a research proposal for the Cleveland Clinic to test the effectiveness of guided imagery with cancer patients. In 1987 he interned as a staff psychologist with the Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in State College, Pa. While there he also interned with Dr. Carl Simonton at the Simonton Cancer Center where he initiated his research with psychological approaches to cancer care.
In 1988 Dr. Shrock was hired by a physician management group to provide psychological services for their cancer centers. Here he developed a wellness program whose primary purpose was to instill a greater “will to live”. While bringing more joy and meaning into life surely could affect a patient’s quality of life, Dr. Shrock’s research published in 1999 found that it extended their length of life. He concluded they lived longer because they felt listened to, cared for, and supported. His experience and expertise led to his being invited to co-author the chapter on Mind-Body Medicine in the textbook, Integrative Oncology, which is regarded as “the definitive source in the field” for healthcare providers.
Dr. Shrock wrote a book in 2000 about the wellness program he taught and the insights he gained. This book, Doctor’s Order’s: Go Fishing, is not about cancer, as much as it is about life. Readers can use the information to get well or stay well. People who are busy doing what they like to do not only tend to forget their aches and pains, but experience a positive effect on their quality and length of life.
However, Dr. Shrock was very intrigued by his finding that feeling loved and cared for could extend survival with cancer. This culminated in his 2009 bestselling book, Why Love Heals. He now resides in Yachats, Oregon and lectures regularly about his “Going Fishing” approach to life, and how to find true joy, peace of mind, great health, and self-love.