- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Dr. Jerome Frank, 95, psychiatry professor

BALTIMORE (AP) — Dr. Jerome Frank, a retired Johns Hopkins University professor of psychiatry and an outspoken critic of nuclear weapons, died March 14. He was 95.

A New York City native educated at Harvard University, Dr. Frank came to Johns Hopkins in 1940 and studied under Dr. Adolf Meyer, founder of the university’s Department of Psychiatry. He later served as an Army psychiatrist in the Pacific, where he saw the psychological effects of war on soldiers. In the Philippines, he learned of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and by the 1950s he was speaking out against nuclear arms.

In 1959, he told a Baltimore audience that the nuclear powers were like alcoholics who say, “I know the stuff is killing me, but I can’t stop.”

“He was probably the first physician to take such a stand, to oppose the idea of a nuclear war in such a public way,” Rear Adm. Gene LaRoque said in a 1985 profile by the Baltimore Sun as Dr. Frank was being honored for years of anti-nuclear activity by the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility.

A nuclear device “is going to go off,” Dr. Frank told the Sun. “And whether that will trigger a holocaust or bring people to their senses, I don’t know. It could do either one.”

Dr. Frank, who was named professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1959 and professor emeritus in 1974, also was active in the civil rights movement.

He wrote the 1961 book “Persuasion and Healing: A Comparative Study of Psychotherapy.” In the book, he examined competing approaches to psychotherapy and found common ground.

“His book revolutionized the way we thought about psychotherapy,” said Dr. Glenn Treisman, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of psychiatry and medicine who considered Dr. Frank among the “greatest psychiatrists of the 20th century.”

“He made the teaching of psychotherapy much more coherent — and much less doctrinaire,” said Dr. Paul McHugh, psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975 to 2001. “He opened the idea for psychotherapists that each patient is unique in the causes of his problems, even though they might be similar in the expression of it.”

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, the former Elizabeth Kleeman, a mental-health counselor; a son, David W. Frank of Boston; three daughters, Dr. Deborah A. Frank of Boston, professor of pediatrics at Boston University, Dr. Julia B. Frank of Silver Spring, associate professor of psychiatry at George Washington University, and Emily F. Frank of Baltimore, associate dean for student affairs at Peabody Conservatory; and six grandchildren.

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