Richard D. Chessick, M.D., Ph.D. is currently Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, Emeritus Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Center for Psychoanalytic Study in Chicago, Emeritus Senior Attending Psychiatrist, Evanston Hospital, Evanston, IL, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Psychoanalytic Fellow of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, Corresponding Member of the German Psychoanalytic Society, Fellow of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He is still in private practice of psychoanalysis in Evanston, IL. as he has been for about 60 years.
His Ph.D. is in Philosophy and he has taught as Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University of Chicago and the McCormick Theological Seminary. He has served on the editorial boards of many psychiatric and psychoanalytic journals and repeatedly won “teacher of the year” awards at Northwestern. He received the Sigmund Freud Award for outstanding contributions to psychiatry and psychoanalysis from the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians and served as president of that society, and received a “Special Recognition Award” from the faculty and board of trustees of The Center for Psychoanalytic Study in Chicago “In appreciative gratitude for his contributions toward the advancement of the field of psychoanalysis.”
Dr. Chessick is a prolific writer and international speaker. He has produced 17 books in the fields of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and philosophy and over 300 articles in professional journals; most recently “Special problems for the elderly psychoanalyst in the psychoanalytic process” in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 61:67-93,2013 and “What hath Freud wrought? Current confusion and controversies about the clinical practice of psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapy” in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry 42: 553-584, 2014. By invitation he wrote a column for 64 consecutive issues of the American Journal of Psychotherapy and over 200 book reviews in various professional journals. His books are titled: Agonie: Diary of a Twentieth Century Man, Intensive Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient, Freud Teaches Psychotherapy, How Psychotherapy Heals, Why Psychotherapists Fail, A Brief Introduction to the Genius of Nietzsche, Psychology of the Self and the Treatment of Narcissism, Great Ideas in Psychotherapy, The Technique and Practice of Listening in Intensive Psychotherapy, The Technique and Practice of Intensive Psychotherapy, What Constitutes the Patient in Psychotherapy, Dictionary for Psychotherapists, Dialogue Concerning Contemporary Psychodynamic Therapy, Emotional Illness and Creativity, Psychoanalytic Clinical Practice, The Future of Psychoanalysis, and Descent Into Darkness. He is currently working on his intellectual memoirs: Apologia Pro Vita Mea, scheduled to be published in Poland.
He lectured on “The Special Theory of Psychotherapeutic Interaction” in Oslo, Norway, “Concepts of Cure in Intensive Psychotherapy” and “Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science” in West Berlin, “Adult Eating Disorders” and “The Death Instinct and the Future of Man” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, gave 8 lectures to the Kenyan-American Psychotherapy Seminar in Nairobi, Kenya, a series of lectures on narcissistic and psychosomatic disorders at the Keio University Hospital and served as guest consultant at the Japanese Medical School Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, “Outpatient Psychotherapy of the Borderline Patient” and “Franz Alexander and the Development of Psychoanalysis in the United States” at the University of Würzburg, “The Phenomenology of Erwin Strauss and the Epistemology of Psychoanalysis” and “What Brings About Change in Psychoanalytic Treatment” at the University of Heidelberg, “Listening to the Psychotic Patient” at the University of Marburg, “Postmodern Psychoanalysis or Wild Analysis?” at the University of Berlin Department of Psychiatry in Germany, “The Phenomenology of the Emerging Self” at the Departments of Philosophy and Psychiatry at Charles University in Prague, Czechoslovakia, “The psychotherapy of a terrified communist” in Milan and “Dante’s Divine Comedy revisited” in Venice, Italy at the OPIFR meetings, “Psychoanalytic Listening” to the Turkish Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, Ankara, Turkey, “The Explosion of the Other,” a case presentation at the Sorbonne and “The Five Channel Theory of Psychoanalytic Listening” both at the University of Paris XII and The University of Basel, Switzerland, “Psychoanalysis of a Wealthy and Successful Borderline Patient” at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, “The Function of Empathy in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy” at the Oxford Dept. of Psychiatry in Aylesbury, “The Implications of Postmodern Thought for the Theories and Practice of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy” at the University of Warwick and “What Constitutes Education” to the Cambridge University Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, in England as well as many other lectures and presentations all over Canada and the U.S.A.
Dr. Chessick has been called a Renaissance Man. He brings an unusual humanistic breadth and scholarly depth to his writings, which present his many years of clinical experience and extensive familiarity with psychoanalytic theory with a clarity of exposition from his philosophical background.
A crucial positive assumption behind all of Nietzsche’s writings, a metaphysical apriori for Nietzsche; it is called “life.” Life is the standard of all values for Nietzsche, and enhancement of human life on earth is the crucial issue for Nietzsche—enhanced life as against decadent life.(22 pp.)
“With the erudition and clinical sensitivity that characterizes his earlier work on the subject of psychotherapy, Chessick has now turned to the broad topic of narcissistic disorders. He has undertaken the ambitious task of integrating what is currently known about narcissistic psychopathology, in relation to both the analyzable narcissistic personality disorders and the so-called borderline patient.
Chessick allows his readers to follow his hard-won understanding and treatment approach along with his sincere attempt at making sense of the widely disparate theories and technical precepts offered in the literature. He boldly strives to incorporate the views of Balint, Klein, Kernberg, Gedo, Goldberg, Kohut, Giovacchini and others, astutely selecting the issues relevant to such an endeavor.
The usefulness of Chessick’s contribution lies in the fact that he illuminates his formulations with clinical vignettes and raises the central and still unanswered questions. This permits the reader to make his own evaluation of the various theories and techniques, guided by the fine, synthesizing mind of the author.”
Working with borderline patients is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding in many ways. It provides a deeper and deeper understanding of the development of ego functioning and warps in ego development that can be applied to all areas of psychopathology. It forces the therapist to constantly pursue and achieve a deeper understanding of himself and demands an ever-increasing maturity from him. Most important of all, when successful, it brings the patient back to life from a situation of psychic death, a state of unparalleled suffering portrayed with great skill in modem theater and literature, beginning perhaps with Dostoyevsky. (35 pp.)
The purpose of this book is to introduce intelligent general readers, college students, graduate students in psychology and other mental health disciplines, and especially residents in psychiatry, to the dazzling genius of Nietzsche. This genius is so haunting and seminal that it has profoundly affected the fields of literature, philosophy, psychology, religion, history, and the arts. (126 pp.)
Nietzsche was the great questioner. He was an experimenter with the art of calling into question all our cherished assumptions and presuppositions. He immersed himself in philosophical problems and he tried to examine the limits of the sayable and thinkable. (26 pp.)