Maurie Pressman, 91, psychiatrist

Maurie Pressman
Maurie Pressman
Posted: January 13, 2014

Maurie Pressman, 91, of Philadelphia, a psychiatrist who ran a clinic aimed at spiritual and physical wellness, died Monday, Jan. 6, of a stroke at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

As medical director and founder of the Pressman Center for Mind/Body Wellness in Society Hill Towers, North, he explored the links between traditional psychiatry and mankind's spiritual proclivities.

From youth, Dr. Pressman was torn between becoming a physician or a rabbi, and that spiritual longing never ceased, he told columnist Art Carey in an August 2013 Inquirer column.

Over the last 40 years, Dr. Pressman, a Center City resident, studied the potential of the human mind and soul in what he called "spiritual psychotherapy."

He defined the term as combining the best of Western healing practices with concentration on "the high and powerful regions of the mind."

"Through this approach, you will discover your hidden hooks and hang-ups of learned inhibitions as well as identify those scars left over from previous emotional injuries," he wrote on the center's website, "By finding and respecting the natural buoyancy of the soul, you will release those hooks."

Dr. Pressman did many things. One was teaching sports science at the University of Delaware. Starting in 1972, he used hypnosis and creative visualization to help Olympic ice skaters picture the "perfect performance" before competing.

Among those who benefited were the U.S pairs team of Kitty and Peter Carruthers. The two went on to win a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics.

Dr. Pressman also conducted research on death and dying, the genetics of behavior, and learning disabilities.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, he graduated from Gratz High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Franklin and Marshall College. He completed a medical degree at Bowman Gray School of Medicine in North Carolina.

Dr. Pressman was chairman of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia until 1982, when he quit to form a chain of treatment centers. He started the mind/body wellness center in 1985. He was clinical professor emeritus of psychiatry at Temple University Medical School on an ongoing basis. He never retired from private practice.

He was a member of 22 professional groups, including the International Psychoanalytic Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, and a board member of the Spiritual Eldering Institute. The institute is focused on spiritual growth in later life.

Dr. Pressman appeared at holistic expositions across the country; at meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association; before the Select Committee of the House of Representatives on Children, Youth, and Families in Washington; at Frontiers of Psychotherapy conferences in Philadelphia; and at the universities of Arizona, Connecticut, Denver, and Miami.

He was interviewed for television and radio following the release of a documentary on his 1995 book, Twin Souls, written with Patricia Joudry. The work tells about finding a person's true spiritual partner.

"What could be more satisfying than finding a lost part of oneself? According to writers Joudry and Pressman . . . that is precisely what happens when twin souls meet," said a 1995 review of the book by Lisa Wise in Publishers Weekly. "In public libraries where New Age materials circulate well, this may find an audience."

Dr. Pressman also wrote for the American Journal of Psychiatry and the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. For the last five years, he wrote a column in the Monthly Aspectarian, a Chicago-based publication dedicated to awakening consciousness.

Surviving are his wife, the former Rosalie Shein; sons Gregg, Brad, and Todd; a sister; and four grandchildren.

Services were Tuesday, Jan. 7.


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