My clinical mentor David Schnarch was recently awarded the 2013 American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Independent Practice by the American Psychological Association.
Apart from various references in some other blog posts, I haven’t acknowledged on this site the permanent contribution he made to my development as a professional and person. 1998-2011 were the years when where I continuously read, trained and consulted with him and his wife about the Crucible and Passionate Marriage therapy models he created and teaches around the world. He introduced me to the late Jim Maddock and Noel Larson, and for nearly as many years with those wonderful people, I studied, consulted and struggled – as we must.
To work with David is to be in the middle of a passionate life’s work – and that means the most rigorous, parsimonious thinking, at demanding levels of speed and efficiency. He used scholarship and courage to challenge two professions (psychotherapy and sex therapy) to come together and really serve people well. Controversy has been at the center of his career, but I believe that it has been of the best, most productive sort.
Within the mental health professions, there are (as with all other professions) robust tensions amongst theoretical stakeholders. He has generally used it to bring about the change he believes in, rather than to simply play the provocateur. In the final analysis, his many peer recognitions validate the wide and deep integrity of his lifelong work.