I’m a physician and psychoanalyst with 40 years’ experience working with individuals and couples, as well as families involved in family businesses. I’m the author of the book, Heinz Kohut and the Psychology of the Self (Routledge) and multiple journal articles. I lecture and teach internationally. Through my private practice, I work with people of all ages, in all walks of life. As The Family Business Doctor, I help members of family firms work through the complex situations that threaten productivity in family firms and sanity in family lives. (Download Allen Siegel’s C.V. here.)
How I Got Here…
Many years ago the beauty of biology and the challenge of scientific inquiry captured my mind. That led me to medical school where I had the great fortune to find a direction for the rest of my life. During my medical education at the University of Illinois School of Medicine the study of anatomy, physiology, illness and health all fascinated me. My curiosity about people, however, and the road to understanding the human condition, led me to study psychiatry.
The 1970s were a golden time for my field. In the absence of pharmacologic promises for quick cures through medication, we learned that our own understanding, our patience, our ability to listen and hear and the relationship we formed with our patients were instruments of cure. We learned that medication mattered, but it alone was not suficient.
In 1976, after my return from service in the United States Navy, where I helped heal our sailors and Marines broken by the war in Vietnam, I began my nine-year study at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. There I further broadened my education and enhanced my ability to listen and help heal.
Initially in my private practice I worked entirely with individuals, helping them understand the core elements of the suffering that brought them for treatment. Since so many of their issues were related to their life in whatever kind of partnership they lived, I eventually added couples treatment to my work.
Subsequently, 10 years ago, I realized that the details of a significant number of my patients’ lives had been intricately interwoven with their family businesses. With that observation I decided to add family firms, that stage upon which all elements of the human condition come to dance, to my practice. I founded Nautilos Consulting, a consultancy specifically designed to identify and work through the complex situations that threaten both business and mental health. Some of these situations include: nepotism versus meritocracy; retirement of the founder while the firm still has value; succession; intergenerational conflicts and non-financial legacy distribution.
To be human is to know pain but that pain need not be navigated alone. Whether you’re an individual who suffers quietly, a couple in serious conflict, or a family business in dysfunction, I’m here to help.