Editor's Letter


Editor's Letter

By Rich Simon

January/February 2006


As an undergraduate English major, I was unimpressed with my required foray into Psych 101. The leaden jargon of operant conditioning and psychoanalysis seemed more like assaults on the English language than methods for understanding the mind or healing the wounded psyche. It was the great authors I read in my literature classes—Shakespeare, Blake, Yeats, Austen, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Melville—who seemed a far superior source of wisdom about human nature, and who certainly had more to say about truth, virtue, and happiness.

But when it came to making a career choice and perhaps following in the footsteps of my impressive-sounding Lit professors, there was a problem. The more I learned about the politics of the English Department, the more it seemed to be a rank stew of envy, backstabbing, and professional claustrophobia. And my professors themselves, I eventually discovered, were, for the most part, frustrated, bored, and often alcoholic. The study of literature in itself apparently wasn't a failsafe ticket to moral elevation and personal enlightenment.

With so many of my role models seemingly in need of psychotherapy, I decided to give that profession another look. Now, after 30 years in the field, I suddenly find much to remind me of my graduate years, when I was uplifted by great literature. After decades of being preoccupied with emotional pathology in all its…

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