Thursday, September 10, 2009

Judge Baker-Trained Dr. David Reiser:"Giving A Physical To A Child In Therapy is Like Having A Priest Do Physical Exams On People Who Get Confession."

Today, in our ongoing series of interviews with child psychiatrists who trained at Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston, we bring you Dr David Reiser. Dr. Reiser is 83 and lives in Utah, where he is that state's only psychoanalyst. Reiser is not the type to brag about his career, and so he was a bit bashful when we said that we'd seen him mentioned in a 1979 essay in the New Yorker magazine.

Dr. Reiser told us that after graduating from medical school at the University of Utah, he came east to train at Judge Baker in 1954. He was there for two years. At the time, he said, Judge Baker was the preeminent training ground for child psychiatrists in this country.

"George Gardner, the director of Judge Baker back then told me, 'Everyone wants to play for the Yankees', and Judge Baker was the Yankees of child psychiatry," Dr. Reiser told us.

Then we got right to the chase: was Reiser taught to give physical exams to children in therapy?

"Absolutely not!!" Reiser said, sounding extremely shocked. "If there had been any instance in which a child needed a physical exam, the physical exam would have been done at Children's Hospital, which was right across the street. Sometimes a child who was suffering from school phobia would develop a tummy ache and we'd send him right over to Berry Brazelton at Children's. [ Note: Brazelton is a pediatrician who would later become a best selling author] I never had to examine a child physically. None of us did. "

After Judge Baker, Dr. Reiser went on to become a staff child psychiatrist from 1956-1959 at the James Jackson Putnam Children's Center in Boston, which was an offshoot of Judge Baker. From 1959-1967, he was the Director of the Putnam Children's Center. From 1967-1970, he was a consulting psychiatrist to a number of schools in Massachusetts. In 1970 he moved back to Utah wih his wife Nancy, a child therapist.

Reiser told us

I have never conducted a physical exam on a child in therapy in my entire career. I don't know anyone who has. It would be a violation of boundaries. Giving a physical to a child in therapy is like having a priest do physical exams on people who get confession. "
Most up-to-date running list of everyone from Judge Baker who has refuted Ayres:
Dr. Stanley Walzer; Dr. Joan Zilbach; Dr. Jacqueline Amati-Mehler; Dr. Dan Ditmore; Dr. Joseph Mullen; Dr. Richard Hinckley Wolff; Dr. Lee Willer; Dr. David Reiser;Dr. Gordon Harper; Dr. Irving Hurwitz; Dr. Nicholas Verven; Dr. Milton Shore: Dr. Roger Bibace; Dr. Pauline Hahn; Judge Baker Department Chair Dr. William Beardslee and Judge Baker Chief Operating Officer Stephen Schaffer


  1. Thanks agin for your excellent research Trapellar!

  2. I wonder if Dr Reiser is willing to give up any information regarding collegues or staff who may not have been treating their patients with such conscientious care???