I'm happily married to Debra Finnegan-Suler (also a clinical psychologist) and father to two daughters. Our dog Griffin is probably one of the best behaved Border Terriers alive, except for his excessive, piercing barks. I devote my spare time to writing, piano, digital photography, ballroom dancing, exercise, and martial arts, especially Tai Chi. I'm also into cyberspace.... but more about that in an asynchronous second.
I grew up in the sprawling suburbs (once potato farms) of Long Island and graduated from Farmingdale Senior High. Memories of Bill Cates' English class are fresh in my mind: I can still recite, in Middle English, the introduction to The Canterbury Tales. I received my bachelors degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1977, where I studied in the hard core behavioral psychology department, while on the side sneaking in philosophy courses on Freud, existentialism, and thanatology. I was impressed by Thomas Altizer's Kierkegaardian and Nietzschean spin on religion, and intrigued by the esoteric techniques of sex research as an assistant in James Geer's behavioral lab. Then on to my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1982, where I benefited from such great mentors as Ed Katkin, Joe Masling, Murray Levine, and Arlene Burrows. I learned that being both a clinician and scientist indeed is possible. After leaving sunny (I wish) Buffalo, I did a year internship in the Department of Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Connecticut. Not only were my supervisors excellent - Howard Tennen, Karel Rubenstein, and Harry Fiss - but the UConn Health Center was one of the most beautiful buildings I ever worked in. From there I moved on to my job as a faculty member in the Rider University Psychology Department, while also continuing my post-graduate psychotherapy training for 12 years in a clinical group led by Nancy McWilliams, one of the most skilled psychoanalytic psychologists around. Until his untimely death, I also had the pleasure of working with Lloyd Silverman on the use of imagery techniques in psychotherapy. Here at Rider I've taught the following courses:
Over the years, my professional and academic work has progressed through several stages. Starting in graduate school, I did quite a bit of research on mental imagery and creativity. As a practicing psychotherapist, I was especially interested in the application of these topics to clinical work. Mental imagery and creativity both involve distinctly non-verbal and "non-rational" processes, which partially explains why I later became intrigued by the relationship between eastern philosophy and western psychology, especially psychoanalytic theory. I think also it was the evolution of computers and the internet into an imagistic (sensory, associational) medium that first captured my imagination. Now I find myself deeply immersed in the development of a "psychology of cyberspace."
Since I bought my first Mac (yes, I'm a Mac devotee) and 5200 modem years ago, I have become intensely involved in the internet. I'm fascinated by cyberspace on several levels: how individuals and groups behave there (the "psychology of cyberspace" in the broadest sense), psychotherapy and clinical work in cyberspace, and the internet as a new medium for scholarly discourse and communication. Over the years I have created quite a few web sites that reflect my various areas of interest and research. The largest ones include:
The Psychology of Cyberspace
This multimedia, hypertext book - that I continually revise and expand - contains a variety of articles on how individuals and groups behave online. It also contains a special section devoted to psychotherapy and clinical work in cyberspace. My blog is a companion reader to this online book.
The Psychology of Cyberspace Blog - a companion reader to my online book which gives readers an inside view of a cyberpsychologist’s life and the day-to-day issues we deal with. What’s it like to study how people behave online? What issues are my colleagues and the media talking about?
Teaching Clinical Psychology
This site is a collection of resources, exercises, projects, and syllabi for teaching courses related to clinical psychology. Much of this material comes from my own teaching.
Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors
The wisdom of Buddhism and Taoism captured in classic stories.... as well as how visitors to the site feel about those stories.
I'm also very interested in the psychology of photography, including how people create, share, and react to visual images. In my photography on Flickr there are collections ("sets") of images and essays devoted to photographic psychology, concepts in psychology (using images to illustrate psychological concepts), and the cyberpsychology of flickr (observations about online photosharing communities).
Here are some links that will jump you to other pages and articles of interest within my web sites:
My Speaking and Workshop Topics
Working and Playing with Dreams
Eastern Philosophy and Psychology
"Madman" (my novel about a psychology intern)
Life at the Palace
Psychotherapy and clinical work in cyberspace
The Psychology of Cyberspace Blog Companion
eQuest: One of my current projects, an online psycho-educational program for self-study and personal growth. This article describes its applications for education and psychotherapy.
As if all of the above wasn't enough to keep me busy, I have also served as consulting
editor for Behavior Online, a member of the editorial board for
CyberPsychology and Behavior, an executive member of the International
Society for Mental Health Online (ISMHO), and editor of The Contemporary Media Forum for
The Journal of Applied Psychoanalysis. I created and served as moderator for a number of online e-mail lists and message boards - including, with the collaboration of my colleague Michael Fenichel, what I consider to be a very important peer supervision and brainstorming research group: the ISMHO Clinical Case Study Group. As the internet becomes a very hot topic in the media, my work has been reported by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, the Chicago Sun Times, CNN, MSNBC, US News and
World Report, NBC Nightly News, NPR, the APA Monitor, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Having the ear of journalists and reporters certainly can be rewarding. Now if only my daughters paid as much attention to my pearls of wisdom!