About Dr. Rubin
My personal experience has taught me about the great difficulties and the even greater rewards of committing yourself to finding your life path.
No Direction Home
As a young child, I had very strong preferences. I knew what clothes I liked to wear, what foods I liked to eat, what tv shows I liked to watch. I grew up in a family that found strong preferences-and, even more, strong emotions-threatening. As a result, I felt different from my family-like an alien, in fact. But, as all children do in this situation, I tried to stay connected to my family by losing touch with the feelings that made me feel different. The feelings I couldn’t feel manifested themselves in other ways-as stomach aches or shyness or a fear of trying new things.
My first real connection to my feelings came when I was a teenager and I started listening to music. Music gave me my first experience of my deepest desires and longings and my first intimations of a world of experience beyond the constricted world of my family. (It also gave me the habit of using Bob Dylan’s song titles and lyrics as a kind of shorthand for some of these experiences-and for the subheadings on this page).
Subterranean Homesick Blues
In college, I majored in Religious Studies. I felt that it was the major that would allow me to focus on questions of the meaning of life and to clarify my own life’s direction. I went on to graduate school in philosophy, where I wrote my dissertation on the work of Soren Kierkegaard, a 19th century Danish philosopher who wrote about how individuals can find meaning, direction and purpose in the modern world.
I loved my studies and I loved working with students. But, once I was a full-time professor, I felt disconnected from myself when I was writing or doing administrative work and not working directly with other people. My experience in psychotherapy had opened me up to a whole world of emotions I didn’t know I had. As I came to feel that I couldn’t be myself in a profession that didn’t put people’s emotional lives at the center, I resigned from my position and decided to go back to school to become a psychotherapist.
Bringing It All Back Home
It was very difficult to go back to school and start all over again on a career path. As I began to work as a psychotherapist, however, I found that my philosophy background complemented what I was learning in my clinical training and helped me to understand people in a “big picture” kind of way.
After I had been practicing as a clinical psychologist for a number of years, I undertook training in contemporary psychoanalysis. This training allowed me to further integrate my understanding of how a therapy relationship can transform a person’s life. It also provided me with a professional community in which I could feel at home. I wrote my graduation paper on Bob Dylan’s recent music and the way it reflects his overcoming his own emotional alienation in order to feel at home with himself and his deepest feelings.
I don’t regret any part of my journey. In fact, I believe that my integration of philosophy, clinical psychology and psychoanalysis with my own deepest feelings about the world and about life has enriched my life immeasurably. I believe that psychotherapy offers the opportunity to integrate even the most difficult emotions and experiences and to find a life path of integrity and authenticity.
My Back Pages
I love my work. When I’m not working, I’m often listening to music. I love American roots music-blues, bluegrass, country-especially as it has been incorporated into the work of contemporary artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch. I’ve always been drawn to the metaphor of the highway as the place we look to realize our hopes and dreams. I chose the name for my website from “Lost Highway”, a song by Hank Williams that has been covered by contemporary musicians from Dylan to Bono.