Education and early years:
John Munder Ross graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 1967, where he was also awarded a Signet Society membership and an Adams House Crest for his contributions to The Harvard Theater in over thirty productions as an actor and director and as an executive director of The Harvard Drama Club, which then ran the Loeb Theater. His was a hands-on relationship with the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Euripides that paralleled his studies in the humanities and the social sciences under the tutorship of Erik Erikson. As a recipient of a Leverhulme Fellowship, he read anthropology at The London School of Economics, concentrating on the almost ritualistic blood feuds of what were then called the “Swat Pathans,” the ethnic base for today’s Taliban. While in graduate school in clinical psychology, John continued to moonlight as a mostly classical actor, playing Romeo at New York University, Angelo in Measure for Measure at La Mama, starring in the film Cowards and appearing in the inaugural production of Playwrights Horizon.
John received his Ph.D. from New York University in 1974, where he began his studies of the developmental roots of men’s parenthood in little boys’ wishes to give birth to and mother babies, an area of research he would pursue for the next twenty years in his work on actual fatherhood. He completed his analytic training at The Psychoanalytic Institute at New York University Medical Center in 1984 before transferring to Columbia in 1991.
John has been practicing, teaching and writing about psychoanalysis for four decades, having analyzed fifty analytic patients to date along with his work conducting individual and couples therapy, consultation and supervision. A Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical Centers and a Training and Supervising Analyst and Senior Associate Director at the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, John served for ten years as Secretary-Treasurer of the Sigmund Freud Archives of the Library of Congress, where he remains a director. He has been on the editorial boards of the major psychoanalytic journals and has long been a trustee of Margaret S. Mahler Child Development Foundation.
Along with his several hundred presentations and several dozen journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, commentaries, television, and radio appearances, John has published eight books. Included among these are trade and academic volumes published by Holt, Simon and Schuster, Harvard and Oxford University and other presses: Father and Child; The Oedipus Papers; New Dimensions in Psychotherapy: Tales of Sex, Love and Danger (co-authored with Sudhir Kakar and revised for a 25th Anniversary edition in 2012); The Male Paradox; What Men Wan; and The Sadomasochism of Everyday Life.
His honors include The American Association of Publishers’ Award for the Outstanding Book in The Behavioral and Social Sciences, a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency, Columbia’s George E. Daniels Merit Award for Contributions to Psychoanalysis, Columbia’s and Downstate Medical Center’s Teacher of the Year Awards, Honorary Membership in The American College of Psychoanalysis and the Sigmund Freud, Peter Blos and Vamik Volkan Annual Lectureships.
Memoirist, Playwright, Script Developer:
John is at work on a memoir, Falling Idols: My 1963. Returning to the theater, John he also played Lear for The Shakespeare Society several years ago and, more recently, none other than “Professor Freud” in David Pilot’s play Hans. His most recent play, Truth, which is in development at the VHTD Foundation, is about lies. John has helped develop several feature films from start to finish and on occasion served as a script developer for films one of which is in post-production.