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Alan and Charlotte Rosenwald and Chicago’s two Psy.D. Programs (2015)

Alan and Charlotte Rosenwald and Chicago’s two Psy.D. Programs

I just spent an hour or so with a class of graduate students (Psy.D.) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP), lead by their professor Tom Barrett. My time today with them was their final session for their Divorce and Child Custody class. I mentioned that I’m a graduate of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology (ISPP), which Dr. Barrett referred to as a “friendly competitor” with TCSPP. I realized that the class might not realize how entwined our schools’ histories are. And, I have a personal connection to all of it. When I was in high school in the mid-1970s, one of my all-time favorite teachers was Charlotte Rosenwald, who mainly taught English and lit, but, by incessant badgering requests from us, created two psychology classes, calling them “more or less psychology,” since she thought (correctly) it would be a waste of time to teach a typical history of psych to high school kids. So we read A.S. Neil’s Summerhill, Bruno Bettelheim’s The Informed Heart (before he was exposed as a fraud) and other non-traditional psychology books. I was already interested in becoming a shrink when CR (as I called Misses Rosenwald) told me about her husband, psychologist Alan Rosenwald, and the brand new school he had just co-founded. He was their first Dean, and the program offered something called a Psy.D., a Doctor of Psychology, as opposed to the standard Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) that psychologists would typically receive. It was a degree more specifically aimed at clinical practice and less on research, and I thought it sounded dandy. “Well, that’s where I want to go after high school.” CR said, “Well, maybe after college.” I really was clueless. So, in 1981 after finishing college, I went to the Illinois School of Professional Psychology as promised. But Alan Rosenwald wasn’t there anymore. Alan was an uber-idealist, and he couldn’t abide some things about the school, like becoming a for-profit institution. So, he left to found another school offering a Psy.D., became their first Dean, and the non-profit Chicago School of Professional Psychology was born. [While at ISPP, I ended up, because of scheduling issues, taking one class at TCSPP, thus getting to be a student at both of Alan Rosenwald’s schools.] So, as I said to the class today, sort-of feigning Star Trek nerd status, that ISPP and TCSPP weren’t just friendly competitors, but even more akin to Romulans and Vulcans. If that’s meaningless to you, it ain’t worth explaining. Trust me. I was just relieved someone in the class today got it. Charlotte died in 2004. Alan in 1991. Many of us shrinky-dinks with Psy.D.s have him to thank, at least a little bit, and for some of us, a heck of a lot more. April, 2015

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