Barry Alden Clark
As far back as I can remember I’ve been interested in human behavior, and on a larger scale, the human condition. My Grandmother used to say I was 13 going on 30, while other people said I had an old soul in a young person’s body. Whatever the case might have been, I was fascinated by, and open to people regardless of race, religion, economic standing or sexual orientation. Somehow at that early age I knew we were all one, all brother’s and sister’s, children of a much bigger source. And I thought this way of viewing the human experience was normal, until I started looking out at the world around me and began noticing that not everyone else thought or acted as I did.
Like many folks, I grew up spending time with family, going to school, and engaging in a great deal of extracurricular activities, but what was most different, and I realized this much later, was that I grew up in a certain microcosm of the larger world. Poughkeepsie, New York, home to IBM, the then Apple of its time, was bringing people in from all over the world. My next-door neighbors were from Africa, our neighbors across the street from Argentina, and one of my classmate’s fathers was a brilliant French pastry chef from France. I just thought this was normal. Again, it wasn’t until much later that I realized this was more like growing up in a big city, where such diversity is the norm.
I grew up surrounded by the arts. My mother and father met while my father was playing in a jazz band and my mother was singing. They held down day jobs and performed professionally on weekends. My father played the accordion, piano, banjo and spoons. He basically could make any object musical. My mother sang like an angel. She could make you cry in an instant. I played trumpet, French horn, and sang in chorus all through grade school, junior high, and high school. I also studied theater, dance, acting and writing.
Eventually, I would end up in New York City at New York University where I majored in Theater.
Going to theater school in Manhattan was an amazing way to learn about people. I spent nine amazing years in New York City getting the occasional out of town theater job and working in the restaurant business the rest of the time. Eventually, I would be inspired to take a trip around the United States to interview people about their lives. I did this in an effort to find out what was really going on out in the world, to connect with others, and to, unbeknownst to me, help discover the strength of my own spirit and all those people I would come in contact with. So, around the U.S. I went. I spent a year doing this via cars, buses, trains and airplanes. And I met so many amazing individuals doing everything in their power to live their best lives, despite the inevitable and unavoidable challenges life hands us. What I saw on that trip was so much more optimistic than the news I was seeing on television and reading in the newspaper. For the first time in my life, I came face to face with the brilliance and strength of the human spirit, an experience that would forever shift not only my perspective, but my life purpose, setting the course for the rest of my life’s work.
Putting It All to Work
After years of working in the restaurant business, I would eventually end up in Los Angeles working in the entertainment business. All told I’ve spent a large portion of my life in that space including performing, casting, producing, and writing. I’ve worked in both the film and television business including management positions within the Studio Television industry. My longest run was in the world of Casting where I worked on Features and Television, and then got into Casting Production working at Universal Television for nine years on shows like “Law & Order,” “The Office,” and “House” to name a few.
My early experience in television left me wanting to create some kind of a meaningful contribution with my work, which led me back to grad school where I received a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology. This degree landed me in the world of coaching where I was able to have a more direct experience helping others in their quest for authentic expression, purpose, and healing. I trained in a number of counseling approaches including Person Centered, Reality, and Gestalt Therapies, as well as Psychosynthesis, Nero-Linguistic Programming, and Rational Emotive Therapy which has, in large part, become the basis of my coaching practice.
So, with all this life experience and training under my belt, I stepped out of the television business for a bit and became a life coach, and over the course of 18 years I’ve coached hundreds of individuals in connecting more deeply with their life purpose, along with helping to heal lifelong blocks and misperceptions creating more freedom, aliveness and authenticity in both their personal and professional lives. Many of my clients have changed careers, healed relationships, created greater levels of financial abundance, and many have connected more deeply with their spiritual source.
I have an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Dutchess Community College, where I was awarded one of two Distinguished Student Awards for my graduating class. I received a Gould-Mair Scholarship to New York University, where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in Theater. I received my master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and did a year’s training in a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Ryokan College.