Editor's Note

July/August 2008

When I entered graduate school in something called the "Community/Clinical Psychology" program at the University of Maryland 36 years ago, I didn't know what I was getting into. I certainly hadn't been particularly drawn to community mental health—in fact, I wasn't entirely sure what it was. But, as a city boy from the Bronx, I felt at home going to a school near the roiling urban congestion of Washington, D.C., and, in the absence of better offers, I signed on.

Even as I suffered through my required classes in statistics and experimental design, I managed to pick up on an undercurrent of revolutionary fervor and a questioning of everything that represented traditional psychology. Much of that came from the visionary, often flinty, department chairman who seemed to harbor loftier ambitions for his students than we had for ourselves. Each Tuesday evening, he held an introductory seminar in his decidedly proletarian garden apartment, only slightly grander than my own grad school cubby hole. Each week, he relentlessly prodded us to debate psychology's social responsibility and pore over challenging books like Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions as if they were sacred texts, and regularly punctuated his lectures with his favorite expression—"paradigm shift."

We soon absorbed the message that setting up a private little office somewhere to do individual therapy with well-heeled clients was about as socially relevant as retreating to a…

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