The Field of His Dreams

Graduate school alum finds his calling in outpatient care

Al Updike always wanted to be a counselor, but life and work took him in a different direction after earning his undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 1986. Twenty years later—and with 13 years in recovery from addiction—Updike finally followed his dream by enrolling in the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies.

“I was apprehensive, given the big gap of time between college and graduate school, but I enrolled in the program full-time, and I took it all in like a sponge,” Updike recounts.

The graduate school program on campus combines academics with clinical practice from the outset, and Updike landed a first semester internship at Hazelden in St. Paul, where he helped with the evening intensive outpatient program. For his third semester, Updike was asked back to Hazelden in St. Paul as an intern with a newly launched morning outpatient program.

“From my first experience as an intern, I saw a growing need for outpatient treatment in terms of convenience and accessibility for patients," said Updike. "As an intern, I had the incredible opportunity of working with Hazelden’s clinical staff to shape and build the new morning program.”

When he graduated, Updike joined the clinical staff at Hazelden in St. Paul, where he was involved in further advancing outpatient program development. Today, Updike serves as the outpatient program manager at Hazelden’s centers in Chaska and Maple Grove, Minnesota.

He describes his work in addiction treatment as rewarding beyond measure.

“There’s a whole ripple effect that takes place, where hope is restored for not only the individuals who find recovery but for all the people they help and inspire and serve in the process.”

Learn more about the graduate school, or apply online at
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