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Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I report our alumnus, Paul W. Mosher, MD has died.  His wife, our colleague, Paula Mosher asks that you hold off from contacting her in the next few days; the family plans to have a graveside funeral before the Yom Kippur holiday, and Paula will arrange a suitable memorial after that. 

Though diminutive in stature, Paul was a giant in American psychoanalysis.  His contributions had a profound effect on the course of APsaA's history in many ways. Paul's intelligence was formidable, and he was a great teacher. He practiced psychoanalysis in Albany for more than 45 years, where he was a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Albany Medical College.  

Paul made the initial proposal to create a consolidated full-text archive of the English-language psychoanalytic literature and was a founding board member of PEP.  His interest in electronics dates back to childhood.  As a Harvard College undergraduate, Paul briefly concentrated in applied mathematics (as computer science was then called) and later switching to pre-med with an interest in becoming a psychoanalyst.  This was followed by medical school at Columbia P&S, residency at Columbia and psychoanalytic training at our Center.  Joining APsaA after graduation he weighed in on the thorny problem (in the days before PCs) of how to consolidate our literature into a more usable and user-friendly form.  Donating his second programming attempt to APsaA, his program sold more than 2000 copies, and it became the most used part of the APsaA site. His work culminated after years of work in the creation of PEP-WEB.  

In the last several years, Dr. Mosher, along with Jeffrey Berman, has turned to scholarly work and published a fascinating book entitled Confidentiality and Its Discontents: Dilemmas of Privacy in Psychotherapy. New York: Fordham 2015.  It received the 2016 "Courage to Dream Book Award" from the American Psychoanalytic Association.  It is a virtual casebook for the practicing psychoanalyst and psychotherapist, as well as the interested public.  We know that Freud promised his patients absolute confidentiality, but legal developments in the last half-century have often put psychotherapists in the role of "double agents" with dual and often conflicting allegiances to patient and society.  This book explores the human stories arising from the loss of confidentiality and addresses different types of psychotherapy breaches, beginning with the story of the novelist Philip Roth, examining the duty to protect, the landmark Jaffe v Redmond case, the murder case of Robert Bierenbaum and the harassment story of former N.Y. State Chief Judge, Sol Wachtler.  All of these cases confirm that the fear of the loss of confidentiality may prevent a person from seeking treatment with disastrous results and affirm the importance of the psychotherapist-patient privilege.

Dr. Mosher represented the highest standards of psychoanalysis as a member of the New York State Board for Mental Health Practitioners and played a role in the 2011 initiative to make the case for an increase in the Medicare reimbursement (ie RVUs) for psychoanalysis, relative to other psychotherapy codes. This change in reimbursement has been incorporated in the regulations. This resulted in individual sessions of psychoanalysis being compensated at a higher rate than other psychotherapy sessions of comparable length within this major government program. 

Paul was also involved as Co-Chair of the APsaA Task Force on Externalization, which broke new ground as a result of his genius, patience, and firm but gentle guiding hand. The task force's final report on a proposal designed to end forty years of conflict within the American Psychoanalytic Association was accepted as the 6 Point Plan that has brought about the reorganization of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the creation of the American Board of Psychoanalysis, and the external accrediting organization, the American Association of Psychoanalytic Education (AAPE). 

I know we will all miss Paul’s unique voice and contributions within our profession, and we at Columbia extend our deepest condolences to Paula Mosher and family.


Susan C. Vaughan, MD


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