Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving | The 45 Top Influencers of my Irreverent Ways as a Psychologist

So many people have come in and out of my office since I started figuring out this business of the therapeutic enterprise. In 1990 the very first person I ever worked with walked through my office door. He was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I was terrified--I was still a teenager and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Two decades later he wrote to me and thanked me for being such a kind listener. 

Since then there have been 1,000s of people who have walked through my door. Each have left with me some piece of learning--some knowledge of the human experience. I'm thankful for what you have taught me. Time has sadly obscured some of your faces. Still, when I look back, so many of your stories remain vivid in my memory even if I've lost a connection to your physical presence. I often see glimpses of you in my office in the present day, standing around my patients and I, reflecting back lifetimes of experiences.

My work and skill--fairly or not--is built upon these memories over my past 25 years of work. 

I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks of the other people who are in my office with me. I've had so many teachers who have helped me find the pieces that I needed in order to become a psychologist. 

It being Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it might be an interesting process to make a list of those people who stand with me when I work. I will add more as they come to mind. 

Lorene Mihalko - Yeah. My mother. The first psychologist I knew.
Michael Dwyer, Ph.D. - My mother's teacher and then years later mine.
Robert Mayerovitch, Ph.D. - My piano professor who taught me to slow down and be patient.
Denise Youngblood - The high school psychology teacher who knew before I did.
Sherri Bair, Ed.D. - Piqued my interest in how television reflects our psychologies. 
S. Lee Whiteman, Ph.D. - His big smile, warm heart, wisdom, and curiosity still follow me around. 
Nancy Gussett, Ph.D. - Her self discipline finally got me look for my own.
David Prock - The first person ever to make it okay to talk about the dark side of life.
Daniel Kirk, Ph.D. - The English professor who made the room quiet so I could tell my stories and truth.
Claire Cygan Young - Gave me the first client I ever worked with.
Edwin Hollander,  Ph.D. - Drove me nuts demanding that the whole world conform to the bell curve.
Manolo Guzm├ín, Ph.D. -  Gave me the courage to explore the New York that I needed to find.
Helen Marshall - Taught me to love, respect, and believe in those who no one else did.
Stephen Friedman Ph, D. - Taught me to talk out of turn and discard the rules.
Zora Meisner - Who showed me powerful lessons can be learned from those I dislike.
Mary Chipman - We discovered it together. Didn't we? And truffles. And catalogues. 
Jody Tellfair, Ph.D. - My therapist who noticed everything--every time--without demand.
Amy Barto - Who showed me a social conscious with boundaries.
Rev. Richard Sering - The holy man who made me make a promise.
Barbara Fields - My other therapist who made it okay to play. 
Steven James, Ph.D. - The professor who gave the space to be iconoclastic.
Judy Harden, Ph.D. - The first professor to convince me I have a gift to develop.
Shoshana Simons, Ph.D. - The woman who took years to bring me out of my shell.
Harriet Lubin - The professor who silenced me for critiquing orthodoxy. 
Maggie Jackson, Ph.D. - The professor who told me I had every right to critique orthodoxy.
Lisa Drogosz, Ph.D. - The young psychologist that convinced me to return for more
Maryann McGlenn, Ph.D.  - My first supervisor who gave me (a little) room to be myself.
Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. - The peacemaker and student of Carl Rogers.
Diana Shultz, Ph.D. - Still working on forgiving you for ripping up page 6 of a 5 page paper.
Glenda Russell, Ph.D. - Launched me on my journey learning about social constructionism.
Janis Bohan, Ph.D. - Her clear observations helped me see bigger pictures
Robin Cook-Nobles, Ed.D. - Everything, Robin. Your gifts are endless.
Lisa Desai, Psy.D. - Who made me feel safe enough to think multi-culturally.
Judy Jordan, Ph.D. - The most human, real, and honest person I've met. 
Barbara Lewis, M.D. - The first physician who thought I had important thoughts.
Peter Baldwin, Ph.D. - Who showed me anything is possible and I can be free.
Daniel Brown, Ph.D. - Introduced me to hypnosis and changed everything. 
Susan Hawes, Ph.D. - My dissertation chair who rescued me when I needed it.
Ken Garni, Ed.D. - I still laugh like a crazy Frenchman. I just close my door now.
LaTonya Sobzack, Ph.D. - I hope you still laugh like a crazy Frenchman
Kim Davenport, Psy.D. - You too. Keep laughing.
Paul Korn, Ph.D. - Courage. 
Wilma Busse, Ph.D. - You just rock in all ways. 
Kathryn Jackson, Ph.D. -  Her quiet nature showed me to look deeply.
Linda Field, Ph.D. - Who knew a psychologist could be playful and disciplined?
Joe Shay, Ph.D. - Next time you interview me I'm brining a sandwich, and I'll be just one man talking.
Joan Wheelis, M.D. - You reminded me to decide what kind of therapist I wanted to be. 
Debora Carmichael, Ph.D. -  You called me into the water and let me know it was okay.
Louise Ryder, Ph.D. - Who let it be okay to be human and imperfect.
Amy Briggs Bledsoe, Ph.D. - My hardcore friend.
Jennifer Strong, Psy.D. - Rainbow bright. You know what I mean?

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