Dr. Davidson received his doctorate in 1982 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland where he pursued interdisciplinary studies in philosophy, psychology and theology. His studies focused on existentialism, phenomenology and psychoanalysis and resulted in an original thesis on a humane and clinically grounded conceptual approach to the experience of people suffering from schizophrenia.
"Studying in Scotland was always about more than attending a prestigious University. It was a return to an important place for me because of my ancestry; a chance to meet genuine scholars (peers and professors) who found the pursuit of understanding and knowledge to be intrinsically valuable; and it was a time of exploring life inside and out of the academy. Education, at its best, is like a “vision quest” that impacts a person’s entire life."
Prior to teaching at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Davidson worked for approximately 20 years in the mental health field as a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, as a public administrator, and as the president and chief executive officer of his own private corporation for counseling services. His clinical work included public and private practice; he served as county director in New York and Texas and built a successful multi-site outpatient and inpatient practice in the Dallas metroplex in the 1980s and early 1990s.
"I know my work as a counselor heavily influences my teaching style today. I want to encourage a student’s thoughts and development more than give a list of ideas or facts. When I teach, we always examine course content in a structured (even detailed) way, but to my way of thinking a class is successful only when the student is liberated by a greater understanding, not more data alone. In Human Relations studies, as well, the best kind of authentic thinking in the classroom translates into action upon the world."
Dr. Davidson’s psychotherapy practice featured several programs he developed for hospitals and clinics, as well as direct service with individuals, groups, couples and families in his counseling centers. His clinical work included treatment for serious mental illnesses, including major depression, various anxiety illnesses, post traumatic stress, personality disorders, substance abuse, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and other psychoses, in addition to general counseling interventions for marriage and family conflicts and personal adjustment disorders.
"My days as a mental health practitioner helped me to become a better teacher. I have a hands-on feel for organizational development and management, as well as a deep history of counseling and psychotherapy services. I also learned in my previous administrative and clinical work that, after exploring problems, we need to emphasize solutions in organizations and our personal lives."
Dr. Davidson joined the University of Oklahoma in 1997 and is now a tenured faculty member, teaching primarily on the Norman campus; but he also travels regularly to teach for Advanced Programs. He regularly presents original papers at national and international conferences. His research interests are typically cross-disciplinary, in keeping with a key tenet of Human Relations studies.
"I am attracted to open-minded inquiries into human experience. We all begin with a narrow, more provincial outlook on life. However, when we continue to explore the world and broaden our own self-understanding with intellectual rigor and honesty, it seems to lead to better results. In my own experience, this seems to be particularly true when talking about social justice—whether on a macro-systems level or applied to an interpersonal context."
Dr. Davidson’s writings in the 1990s critiqued managed behavioral healthcare practices that negatively influenced practice; these works were influential in forming the debate on topics like client confidentiality in the social work literature. Recently, his focus has been on race relations in the United States, evaluating race and interracial relations in the context of marriage and family, higher education and society at large. Most of his writings reflect his background in philosophical and clinical studies.