Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Joyce Brothers’

Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927-2013)

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

May is National Mental Health Month, so it seems rather fitting that Dr. Joyce Brothers completed her time on earth in this month. Actually, I remember Dr. Brothers quite well from her television appearances when I was in high school. She is considered a “pop” psychologist because she offered her psychological wisdom on national media long before it was popular and before the American Psychological Association put its stamp of approval on this kind of advice. Here is the quote from an online article by Steve Almasy (CNN):

Dispensing advice on public airwaves didn’t please all of her colleagues. Some members of the American Psychological Association asked early in her media career that her membership be revoked because they didn’t think dispensing advice outside a one-on-one setting was appropriate. Media psychology became part of the organization’s structure in 1986, according to the APA website.

What I found most interesting and forgot until I read her obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer last week is that she memorized the entire Encyclopedia of Boxing in a few weeks in order to be a contestant on The $64,000 Question and later The $64,000 Challenge. She won and used the money to supplement the family income, since her husband Milton was still in medical school. He suggested boxing as a topic to learn because it would make her an unusual contestant.

In addition to gaining her own show as a psychologist, she also appeared on other TV shows and on radio as a guest. Books written by Dr. Brothers include What Every Woman Should Know About Men, Positive Plus and Widowed, the latter written after the death of her husband in 1989. Prompted by this research I may look up one of her books in the library as part of my summer reading.

Because I am a strong believer in therapy, even if it dispensed via the media, I think Dr. Brothers had a positive impact on therapy being acceptable treatment for people to help solve their problems. I like to think of her as the psychological counterpart to Julia Childs’ culinary wisdom. (Julia Childs died in 2004.)  Brothers worked with the head and Childs worked with the stomach. Both had a positive impact in their fields, because I think both were passionate about their work. I liked both these strong women who went after what they wanted. They are positive role models to be admired.