The sudden and shocking loss of Larry Gould has led to many moments of individual and collective remembrance of his generosity, loving spirit and loyalty.
For those of us involved in group relations and systems psychodynamics, Larry was a ubiquitous presence. Part of the reason his death has left a void for so many is that he was always ready to lend a hand, give support, offer guidance, or provide leadership to others who were interested in furthering this perspective. His passion for these ideas seemed to produce an endless well of enthusiasm and encouragement to others wanting to explore this way of thinking.
It will probably not surprise many that Larry’s career path was unconventional. Starting as a social psychologist, he was initially quite skeptical of depth psychologies. However, from his post-doc at Yale through his time at Tavistock in the early 70’s Larry’s outlook was transformed, partly due to the special connections he found with Ken Rice, Pierre Turquet and Gordon Lawrence. Part of the richness of knowing Larry was in encountering how deeply he had internalized the systems psychodynamic viewpoint and how fully integrated it was into his professional self. His extensive knowledge of systems provided the foundation for wide-ranging work as an organizational consultant throughout his career. At the time of his death he was helping the pilots and managers of a large airline discover the extent to which new technologies and work practices created a “threat to pilot identity.”
Larry undertook analytic training at the William Alanson White Institute in the mid 80’s. Out of his traditional analysis, Larry developed a deeper appreciation of the impact of unconscious factors on work organizations and system dysfunction. He embraced group relations training and psychoanalysis simultaneously through his conviction that experiential learning can impact even the most ego-syntonic and dearly held assumptions. Seeming contradictions between the systems perspective and the individual focus can be understood in the context of Larry’s deeply held belief in the inevitable and mutual interpenetration of individual and system.
The integration of Larry’s earlier systems orientation with his later psychoanalytic interests led him in his later years to co-develop a system of thought with Australian colleagues: Socio-Analysis, which has its roots in socio-technical, group relations and psychoanalytic theories and practices. Most recently he had been advancing this system of thought and practice through development of the Socio-Analytic Training Program at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR).
Larry’s leadership qualities were evident in his numerous roles and affiliations. He was Department Chair and Professor of Psychology of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the City University of New York; President and Board Chair of the A.K. Rice Institute; Founding Co-Director of the Organizational Program at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology; Founding Co-Director of the Israeli Program in Organizational Development and Consultation; Society Member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) and Director of its Socio-Analytic Training Program; Member of the Israel Association for the Study of Group and Organizational Processes (OFEK); and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Social Analysis (AISA). He was also founding Co-Editor of the Journal of Organizational and Social Analysis, a Fellow of the Organization for the Promotion of Understanding in Society (OPUS) and a founder of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO). In 1993 he received the Levinson Award, given by the American Psychological Association’s Division of Consulting Psychology, for outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of organizational consultation.
Larry’s institution building legacy is only met, if not surpassed, by his devotion and commitment to supporting the development of his colleagues and students within these many institutions. Larry’s 40 years of “graduates” contain an extraordinary number of younger colleagues who have been profoundly impacted by his intellect, generosity, interest and support. He has touched and guided the lives of many.
The contradictions of Larry’s character could be perplexing: available yet distant, engaged and detached, unassuming and self-centered, loyal while cavalier, supportive and oppositional. Of all of his outstanding characteristics he never wavered in his devotion as a brother/friend/teacher/colleague to those of us who loved him and whom he loved. Co-founders, students, peers, supported institutions, beloved friends and family – we are all richer for having encountered him.
Larry is survived by his beloved younger brother Roger, sister-in-law Pat, his nieces and nephews Nicky, Scott, Mahboud and Tracie, their children, and his companion Ruth Lazar and her son Daniel.