John Suler, Ph.D.
IN A NUTSHELL
I'm a psychologist, photographer, teacher, and researcher who loves the exploration of how the mind works and how we react to each other. Over the years I've enjoyed more hobbies than I could sustain: guiatar, piano, ballroom dancing, photography, martial arts, running, and writing. The last of these, my writing, reflects all of the others, as my work includes fiction, humor, scientific papers, case studies, and theoretical pieces. Most of all, I appreciate the integration of psychology and the arts.
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 and theoreticians I have known. Until his untimely death, I also had the pleasure of working with Lloyd Silverman on the use of imagery techniques in psychotherapy.
RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
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. Once I bought my first Mac (yes, I'm a Mac devotee) and 5200 modem many years ago, I became intensely involved in the internet. As one of a small handful of researchers who founded cyberpsychology, I became fascinated by cyberspace on several levels: how individuals and groups behave online, psychotherapy and clinical work in cyberspace, the internet as a new medium for scholarly discourse and communication, and most recently what I call "photographic psychology," which is the study of how people create, share, and react to images using digital photography and online photosharing, especially images portraying ideas in psychology. Over the years I created several 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. It was one of the first online hypertext book, as well as the first book about the psychology of cyberpsace.
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 links to other pages of interest concerning my work:
Working and Playing with Dreams
Eastern Philosophy and Psychology
Psychotherapy and clinical work in cyberspace
My photography on Flickr
I've been teaching in the Psychology Department at Rider University for over 30 years. My teaching philosophy has always emphasized the importance of applying psychology to everyday life, including a better understanding of oneself, interpersonal relationships,culture, and life in general. Although interested in all forms of psychology, my teaching emphasizes psychodynamic and humanistic points of view. A running theme throughout my research and writing as well as my teaching is that psychology can arrive at knowledge not just through the traditional scientific method, but also through intution, participant-observation, and other non-quantitiatve avenues of inquiry. Over the years I've taught the following courses:
Here are some resources I developed for my teaching and research with students:
Qualitative Research Methodology for Photographic Psychology (QRM-PP)
A manual for conducting research on the psychology of photography that I use with independent study students.
Madman: Strange Adventures of a Psychology Intern
My novel, or as I like to call it, an "un-textbook" that I wrote for students taking courses in psychotherapy, counseling, abnormal psychology, and psychopathology. It portrays the experiences of Thomas Holden, a psychology intern working in a modern psychiatric hospital, and all that he learns about psychotherapy, psychiatry, and mental illness.
An online psycho-educational program for self-study and personal growth that I use with independent study students.
As if all of the above wasn't enough to keep me busy, I also served as consulting
editor for Behavior Online, a member of the editorial board for
CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, one of the founders 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 variety of online professional and public discussion groups - including, with the collaboration of my colleague Michael Fenichel, what was the first peer clinical 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.