May 11, 1922 ~ November 7, 2012
Dr. Louis B. Fierman, an innovator in the field of psychotherapy and psychiatry, a much loved therapist, a longtime Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University, Medical Director of Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute in Portland, CT, and of Psychotherapy Associates in New Haven, CT, died on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at the age of 90. Dr. Fierman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1947, and came to Yale after serving as public health officer stationed in the town of Fukuoka while a Captain in the US Army in occupied Japan. He was appointed chief resident at the Yale Psychiatric Institute and the Yale-New Haven Hospital Psychiatric Service and remained an associate clinical professor at Yale until 2011. Dr. Fierman was the foremost authority on the work of Hellmuth Kaiser, who pioneered the field of nondirective psychotherapy. Dr. Fierman edited and published a collection of Kaiser's works, Effective Psychotherapy. He is the author of several other books, including his latest, Shrink: On Becoming a Psychiatrist, as well as countless professional articles. Those works are on permanent display as part of the Louis B. Fierman and Hellmuth Kaiser Archives, opened at the Allen Memorial Library at Case Western Reserve Medical School in April 2011. While serving as the medical director for Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute, Dr. Fierman pioneered a community-oriented approach to in-patient treatment. The hospital was the first to prohibit tobacco use on the grounds and provided patients with opportunities to engage in art, music and horticulture therapy. Dr. Fierman put together a team of therapists, architects and designers to create a truly 'therapeutic environment.' In connection with his innovative work, he was a frequent speaker on Connecticut television and radio programs on topics connected with mental health. Dr. Fierman was also President of the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, Chief of the Psychiatric Service at the West Haven Veterans' Administration Medical Center, a member of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, and Medical Director of Psychotherapy Associates, a private practice group in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Fierman was an active participant, former president, and first chair for French horn in several local orchestras, include the Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra and the Hamden Symphony Orchestra. He began playing the French horn while in grade school, and music was a life-long passion. Dr. Fierman is survived by Dr. Ella Yensen Fierman, his wife of 65 years, his son Daniel, his daughter Lauren and son-in-law Daryll, and his beloved grandchildren Kelsey and Nicholas. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Louis's honor may be made to: The Medical Annual Fund Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-7095. Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held at Beecher & Bennett Funeral home, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT, on November 18 at 2:00 pm. Friends and family are invited to gather prior to the service from 12 to 2 to share memories.