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Deceased Name: Daniel Wiener dies; was an innovative psychologist, writer
Psychologist Daniel Wiener learned early in his career that his patients needed help immediately, unlike traditional psychoanalysis that's done over many years.
"Dad was passionate about his work," said his son Jon Wiener, of Los Angeles. "He was committed to helping people but he did it in a rational and scientific way, and he helped hundreds of people with their life problems over the course of his career."
Wiener, 78, died Wednesday at his Minneapolis home from complications following abdominal surgery in September.
The Duluth native learned his professional lessons from famed psychologist-behavioralist B.F. Skinner at the University of Minnesota in the early 1940s. He melded "hard-headed" practical beliefs with a Ph.D in psychology from the university to discover ways to help people in the short run.
Jon Wiener used to hear his father say: "Long-term psychoanalysis is a luxury that most people cannot afford."
Wiener wrote nine books, seven about his professional field and two biographies, including one about Skinner, and three dozen research articles for psychological journals about efficient ways to change human behavior for the better.
An enthusiastic member of the National Book Critics Circle, he wrote more than 70 book reviews for the Star Tribune between 1981 and 1997, and specialized in biographies.
Wiener's travels to the book critics' annual awards ceremony in New York inspired his writing, which was often done at the family's home on Lake Superior in Two Harbors, Minn., his son said.
Born in Duluth in 1921, Wiener served during World War II in the Army Air Corps in San Antonio, where he administered psychological tests to pilots. Later, he was an innovator of an internationally recognized personality test. After obtaining his doctorate in clinical psychology, he served as chairman for the committee that certified psychologists in Minnesota.
In 1951, he became the second person in the state to receive his license and was one of the first psychologists in private practice in the Twin Cities.
From the late 1940s through 1970, he served as chief clinical psychologist of the Veterans Administration outpatient clinic at Fort Snelling. He also taught courses for the clinical psychology and psychiatry departments at the University of Minnesota.
Then Wiener saw the need to relieve the acute shortage of psychologists in rural areas, so he applied his special interest in short-term intensive psychotherapy to patients in Two Harbors.
For seven years, Wiener wrote the "The Cutting Edge," a column in the journal Minnesota Psychologist. There he took up the issues of ethics and social responsibility for his colleagues.
His last column, "On Dying Well," was a tribute to Skinner. Wiener wrote:
"He had lived richly and productively, and had accomplished most of what he had wanted to accomplish. His major regret was that, despite his strenuous and dedicated effort, he had been unable to change the world as much as he wanted to."
Said Jon Wiener, "It could also be read as a description of himself."
In addition to his son, Wiener is survived by his wife, Phyllis; another son, Paul of St. Paul; a daughter, Sara Pearson of New York City; two sisters, Judith Wolfe of McLean, Va., and Louise Slonim of Manassas, Va.; and a grandson. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., November 21 at the Weisman Art Museum Auditorium, at the University of Minnesota at 333 E. River Rd. in Minneapolis.
Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN)
Date: November 12, 1999
Deceased Name: DANIEL WIENER , A PIONEER IN MINNESOTA PSYCHOLOGY, WAS 78
Daniel Wiener, one of the first psychologists in private practice in the Twin Cities and a leader in the Minnesota psychology community for nearly 50 years, died Wednesday at his home in Minneapolis. He was 78.
In 1998, Wiener received the Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award from the Minnesota Psychological Association.
Wiener was born in Duluth and in 1970 returned to the North Shore of Lake Superior to set up a private practice in Two Harbors. He continued in that practice for 20 years.
He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1950. He was chairman of the committee that wrote the state law that certified psychologists for practice, and he received state license No.2 in 1951.
He was known for his advocacy of short-term treatment designed to change behavior and was a critic of long-term therapies that emphasized introspection.
Wiener wrote nine books, including biographies of B.F. Skinner and Albert Ellis, and also published more than 70 book reviews in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune. He was a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
From the late 1940s through 1970, Wiener served as chief clinical psychologist of the Veterans Administration outpatient clinic at Fort Snelling. He also was a clinical professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and was part of the group that developed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the standard psychological diagnostic test.
Wiener is survived by his wife, Phyllis; sons Jon of Los Angeles and Paul of St. Paul; a daughter, Sara Pearson of New York; sisters Judith Wolfe of McLean, Va., and Louise Slonim of Manassas, Va.; and one grandson.
Plans for a memorial service are pending.
St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Date: November 12, 1999