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HomeEmeritus Councilor - Ritch Addison

Emeritus Councilor - Ritch Addison

Ritch Addison began as a faculty member at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency in 1982, two years before he earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. More than thirty years later he remains their Behavioral Medicine Director, serves as their Well Being Coordinator and as a Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine.

His list of publications, presentations and invited addresses would suggest he has had no time for anything but work; yet his enjoyment of cycling, often with his wife, and his passion for tennis are as characteristic of him as are his intelligence, humor and nearly legendary willingness to “do whatever needs to be done.”

The American Balint Society has profited from that willingness since its inception. One of his first, and favorite, memories of ABS life involved an Oxford Weekend walk with Frank Dornfest in the last years of the last century. Dornfest must have understood Addison’s conflict, because he told Ritch he’d have to make up his own mind about whether he wanted to join the ABS or not. “Sleepless, I grappled with my fierce fear of organizations and my fierce pride in my independence from organizations. After much angst, I looked around at all the exceptional people involved in Balint, and that tipped the scales.”

Even before that time he was asked to organize a team of qualitative researchers (Addison, Will Miller and Penny Williamson) that consulted on the ABS Leadership Project at the 1994 IBF Congress in Charleston, generating the model of Balint leadership that later became the basis for the credentialing process. A Council member from 1999 to 2001, he became President-Elect in 2001 and eventually retired from the Council because of term limits in 2011. Along the way he served as Intensives Coordinator (2006-2010) overseeing the production of the Practical Guide that makes hosting an intensive manageable anywhere for people without event-planning know-how. He has inspired new hosts, and credentialed leaders now serving as faculty. Always he has been a magnet for new people willing to work for the ABS and its mission. None would be surprised to learn that of his myriad ABS activities his “all time favorite is teaching at Intensives.”

Ritch has held a Balint Weekend in Santa Rosa every other year since 2006. He holds the record of most Intensives hosted: 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013. He chaired the Scientific Committee for the IBF Congress in Philadelphia in 2011 and edited the Proceedings from that Congress. Even in retirement from ABS governance he continues to serve on committees: Events, History, Intensives, Scholarship and Research. He has held a weekend for health care professionals “with Balint groups as centerpiece” at Ratna Ling once or twice yearly since 2010.

What drew him into the ABS were the people, and they remain what has mattered most about his Balint experience. “The absolute best is working with and getting to know and call friends all the magnificent, caring and talented people in the ABS.” Same to you, Dr. Addison. - Approved by ABS Council December, 2013


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The American Balint Society
, is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the therapeutic relationships between healing professionals and their clients/patients. The American Balint  Society is a member society of the International Balint Federation