Steven C. Norton is the first psychologist to work at the
U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan — part of a State Department push
to increase mental health services in war zones.
BY TORI DEANGELIS
In September, when Steven C. Norton, PhD, began a yearlong assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, he assumed he’d see some action, but
he wasn’t expecting it so quickly. Just five days into his job,
insurgents attacked the embassy with rocket-propelled
grenades. The blasts were part of a coordinated attack that
targeted multiple sites in the city and killed several people,
although none at the embassy were seriously hurt.
of the job for this psychologist, who is the first ever to work at
the Afghanistan Embassy. The position was created in response
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to bring more mental
health services into war zones.
The State Department tapped Norton to apply for the job
because of his experience working in conflict areas and with
law enforcement agencies. Norton comes to the post with a
specialty in forensic, criminal and law enforcement evaluations
and interventions in his private practice in Rochester, Minn.
He spent 11 years as a psychologist at the Federal Medical
Center, a Bureau of Prisons facility in Rochester, and he has
worked in the Nebraska Department of Corrections, the
Olmstead County Adult Detention Center in Rochester, and
other correctional facilities. In addition, he has done contract
work with a Chicago-based organization called Mission Critical
Psychological Services, where he assessed security and law
enforcement personnel being considered for jobs overseas