Tom Horvath was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. He earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland, in 1975, and a Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology at San Diego in 1981. From 1981 to 1984 he served as an active duty Navy Psychologist. In 1984 he entered full time independent practice. In 1985 he founded Practical Recovery, which offers a self-empowering alternative to 12-step and disease-oriented addiction treatment. He became a board certified clinical psychologist of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in 1990.
Dr. Horvath is a Past President (1990) and Fellow (1993) of the San Diego Psychological Association. In 2015 he received their Distinguished Contribution to Psychology award. He is a Past President (1988-1990) of the San Diego Phobia Foundation. In 1992 he was appointed by Speaker Willie Brown to the California Controlled Substances Prescription Advisory Council, which produced recommendations regarding California’s triplicate prescription program for controlled substances.
He was the Secretary-Treasurer (1995-98) of the American Psychological Association’s Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50), and served as President from 1999-2000. The Division has over 1200 members and is the world’s largest organization of addictive behavior psychologists. In 2016 he was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
He was one of the founders of SMART Recovery (in 1994) and was president for 20 years. SMART is an international, non-profit network of free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups for resolving any problematic addictive behavior.
From 2000-2010 Dr. Horvath was adjunct faculty at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego, where he helped leaders in all fields develop their leadership and executive potential. Since 2010 Dr. Horvath has been adjunct faculty at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego, teaching addictive behavior courses. He is the author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions (2nd ed.; Impact, 2003).