CSI Professor Recognized for Leadership in Family Psychology

August 19, 2002 | College of Staten Island

CSI Professor Irene Deitch was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychological Association (APA). Citing not only her many important roles within the organization, Deitch was honored with this award for the diverse and creative ways she has articulated Family Psychology through the media and with the general public.

“We are pleased to present this award to you, and thank you for your many significant contributions,” said Terence Patterson, the Immediate Past President of the APA’s Division of Family Psychology, who presented the award in Chicago at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association.

While in Chicago, Deitch presented a symposium on “Death, Dying, and Bereavement,” and one entitled “You Think You’ve Got Problems?,” which explored the use of humor in psychotherapy. A three mile a day runner, Deitch was the winner in her age group for the five kilometer “fun run,” which was sponsored by the APA.

Whether in Chicago or Staten Island, Dr. Deitch proves diverse and innovative with her approach to psychology. She writes extensively about aging, death, dying and bereavement, and media psychology, as well as humor and psychotherapy. Nationally, she is a recognized expert in her field, and locally, she has developed an engaging CSI program named Options: College Study Program for Older Adults.

The Options program at CSI is like a cruise ship of opportunity, exploration, and discovery for its passengers–replacing the voyager’s usual gastronomic rapacity for seafood and cocktails with a hunger for knowledge and a motivating thirst to cross new oceans–plus, the classes at CSI involve more than the art of napkin folding, such as the popular “Exploring the Psychology of Women through Art” class.

“Options is so much more than a social experience,” said Dr. Deitch, who is Chair of the program, “it’s about our dedication to the community, and engaging older students with challenging and rewarding programs that are not available elsewhere.”

From U.S. History to Art, Writing, Computers, and Psychology, volunteer instructors–some CSI students, some retired Distinguished Professors–engage students by eliciting ideas and conversations from a classroom that is brimming with years of wisdom, both conventional and visionary. The students pay a small semester fee, and are welcome to participate in as few as one class, or as many as all of them. Last year, over 100 students attended the nearly 20 courses offered.

Off campus, Dr. Deitch serves as a non-governmental representative to the United Nations’ International Council of Psychologists, and on the boards of Staten Island University Hospice, the Eastern Region of the American Cancer Society, Geller House (an adolescent diagnostic center), the Tibetan Museum, and Amethyst House.

As a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Deitch serves as Chair for numerous APA committees, most notably the Membership Committee and the Psychotherapists Enhancing Quality of Life Issues Committee, as well as serving as Interdivisional Chair of the Psychologists Working with Older Adults Committee, and as the former chair of the Public Information Committee. She is also a certified Grief Therapist and Death Educator.

She has recently been featured in The New York Times, TIME magazine, Inman News, Clarian Health news, Germany’s Medical Tribune, and The Philadelphia Enquirer.