Greg LaBranche, PhD

Addiction Psychology

You can do it !

Greg LaBranche was born in the United States, in an area of Massachusetts known as Belvidere. He grew up as a middle son of five boys with three younger sisters, along a beautiful section of the Merrimack River.

He did well academically. Becoming intrigued with mysticism during adolescence, he started training in martial arts and earned his black belt before graduating high school. Although focused primarily on Tae Kwon Do, his training was enriched with Yoga and steeped in practices of meditation. After a few years of college, the appeal of academics waned and the pursuits of an entrepreneur followed. He withdrew from the university and formed his own business: Belvidere Martial Arts Academy.


In 1981, he opened his first "dojang" (Korean word for formal training facility) on Central Street in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts. Additional schools followed in neighboring towns - Westford and Tyngsboro. He also established after-school programs for a couple public schools in the area and designed and implemented a training program for officers at MCI Shirley, a state prison in Massachusetts. He had earned his 5th Degree Black Belt by that time and was responsible for promoting dozens of men, women, and children to their ranks of Black Belt and above.

With success came celebration and then "Black Monday" of 1987. The country’s recession of the late 1980’s and a few too many drinks led to addiction and eventual demise of Belvidere Martial Arts Academy. The Central Street dojang closed in 1991 and a fascination with alcohol ensued.

Financial stress led to searching for another means of income. Finding resolve in the construction field, he started working with a master carpenter learning the trade of finished carpentry. Before long, his proficiency was enough to begin sub-contracting on his own; his affinity with alcohol became self-defeating, slowly crushing his indomitable spirit and robbing him of self-control. By 1997 he found himself alone and in the suicidal clutches of an addiction to alcohol; he entered residential treatment. On his quest for recovery from addiction, his eyes were opened to other addictions, their underlying causes, and effective treatment.

Under the guidance of his spiritual director, LaBranche returned to academics as part of his recovery process, intending only to complete his unfinished bachelor's degree in Psychology and Spanish. In 2001 he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts and decided to continue with graduate studies. A new found passion to assist others with addiction had developed. In 2004 he completed his Master of Arts degree in Community and Social Psychology, from the same university. He then entered Capella University's doctoral program for Addiction Psychology; he was awarded his PhD in September of 2011.

Today, Dr. LaBranche is drawing on past endeavors: martial artist and addiction specialist, to bring remission to those afflicted.

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