Meet Harper West

IMG_1517Harper West is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, consultant and pack leader – of course! In learning to be an assertive pack leader to her dog, she uncovered a framework about human behavior that you can immediately apply to all aspects of your life. She has a master’s degree in clinical psychology, but, more important, an advanced degree of wisdom gained after unflinchingly examining her life and completely transforming her personality based on Pack Leader Psychology™ principles.

Harper is also developer of Self-Acceptance Psychology,  which provides solutions for mental health clinicians to understand, conceptualize and address interventions for clients who struggle with low self-worth, lack of self-compassion, and fears of rejection. 


A growl instantly moved me from follower to pack leader with my dog. Unfortunately, it was a bit more complicated for me to learn how to be a pack leader to the humans in my life. But without the lessons I learned from my dog, Reilly, I might never have transformed myself from a submissive, insecure, physically abused woman into the assertive “alpha” personality I am today.

How did I learn to claim my place in the human pack and stand up to those who wanted to dominate and control me? While I might have come to these insights on my own, it’s extremely unlikely. At the time that my second marriage was coming undone, I had the fabulous good fortune to adopt a smart, balanced dog by the name of Reilly. While it seems improbable, the spark for my life-changing insights was a German Shorthaired Pointer with a good Irish name.

My experiences living with and training Reilly taught me not just about dog behavior, but also about human behavior in ways that no self-help or psychology book ever had. Once I made the connection that pack leader behavior isn’t just “for the dogs,” the blinders were pulled from my eyes — blinders that had permitted me to ignore my behavior for more than 40 years. Reilly provided some of the code that unlocked my insight about why I had two failed marriages to alcoholic men (one an abuser), a meandering and unfulfilling career path, and distant relationships with family and friends.

Quite simply, Reilly’s lessons taught me how to assert myself and become a stronger person, not just with my dog, but also with people. Once I learned that lesson, I realized Reilly had many other insights to human behavior, as well.

Now, many years later, I have read extensively on human behavior and I have earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology. As a psychotherapist, consultant and author, I have a satisfying career, great friends, and I am happy and healthy.

I began to realize that if I could claw my way out of an abusive marriage and learn how to break a lifetime of unhealthy behavior patterns, maybe I had some wisdom that would be helpful to others, especially overly submissive people who habitually get into relationships with controlling, dominating people.

And trust me: Even if you have never owned a dog, you will discover why these powerful lessons from Reilly work so well – in both dogs and humans.