Remembering Rich Simon
With grief expert David Kessler

In this episode...

"The greatest promotor of psychotherapy the world has known"

Grief is not usually something we plan for.

In today’s special edition of The Soul of Life we remember the life of Rich Simon—a person that was like Oprah for the mental health and counseling field—a hub and changemaker that helped launch the careers of many of the masters in our profession.

On November 10th, at the age of 71, Rich died suddenly.

The Psychotherapy Networker Magazine keeps clinicians up-to-date on best practices and innovations in counseling techniques

We talk about grief with the world’s foremost expert on the subject, David Kessler, co-author and protégé to the late, great Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who developed the Five Stages of Grief.

jack kornfield
Leaders in the behavioral health field, like mindfuless teacher Jack Kornfield, used the Psychotherapy Networker to reach tens of thousands of people over 40 years.

The Psychotherapy Networker

As one of the changemakers in our field, Rich Simon’s primary instrument and his legacy is an organization called The Psychotherapy Networker, a magazine and media company that produced arguably the most successful mental health conferences in the world, every year for more than 40 years. Close to 4,000 shrinks and scientists, social workers and soul healers from all over the world would pack into the Omni Shoreham hotel in downtown DC every year to learn with 125 of the brightest teachers in applied clinical practice.

A passion for emerging innovations in clinical psychotherapy

By being the Leader of the Leaders in this fast-changing field Rich was at the vanguard of advancements and revolutions in our field. It’s a long list and that’s the genius of Rich—that he built such a Big Tent that included all the behavioral health disciplines (psychology, social work, counseling, psychiatry, marriage and family therapy and coaching and I’m probably missing a few). And within that big tent Rich had endless curiosity and passion for emerging innovations in such areas as brain science, trauma, mindfulness, business management, relationships, sexuality, feminism, LGBTQ, body work, psychopharmacology, the arts, and multiculturalism.

"I kept hearing from people 'Attendance was dwindling and no one has interest [in attending in-person conferences].' And I’d say, 'Have you met Rich?! Have you been to the Networker?!' When people were talking about the conferences dwindling, the Networker remained on fire."

- David Kessler, grief expert and regular Symposium faculty

Mother Theresa told David Kessler "Dying is like going into the arms of God."

"Grief is love"

I couldn’t think of two better people to join me in this conversation to remember and celebrate Rich Simon than David Kessler and Joe Kort.

David is widely hailed as the world’s foremost expert on grief. He’s most recently written about finding meaning from grief after his own 21-year old son died tragically a few years ago. Even through this tragedy, David says “grief is love.” He’s a bestselling author of six books and runs the website www.grief.com. He’s been one of the regular faculty of The Psychotherapy Networker Symposium.

"Rich helped me come out
a second time."

Joe Kort is a psychotherapist, author, and a frequent presenter at the Networker conference. He credits Rich for helping him “come out a second time,” and helped him become a leading expert on so-called sexual addiction in the gay and LGBTQ community. Joe has been one of the reformers in our field that is changing the way we think and talk about out-of-control sexual behavior, 

Dr. Joe Kort
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Episode 15