About Dr. Dan Sapen
Listen to Dan’s podcast on Spotify!
Dan Sapen was born and raised in Queens, NY. He was involved in sports (baseball, basketball, football, and martial arts) and creative areas (music, theater, and poetry) throughout his youth.
Dan went on to receive his B.A in Philosophy from Vassar College. Dan was active in the theatre program at Vassar, and went on to perform in plays, short films, a commercial, and went on to do voiceover work. He received his Ph.D. from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. Dr. Sapen completed his dissertation on new ways of approaching the psychology of music, particularly improvisation. He went on to publish a well-received book on his dissertation topic, Freud’s Lost Chord, in 2012, which was heralded as a seminal and ground-breaking work on creativity, music, and the history, theory, and practice of psychodynamic psychology. Freud’s Lost Chord is published by The Harris-Meltzer Trust, and is available through most online booksellers, but particularly Amazon.com and FiringTheMind.com
In college, Dan played on the baseball team, managed the boxing club, and began his life as an amateur boxer, which he continues to this day, training, sparring, fighting in charity events, and writing for online journals. He has stayed involved in music, from songwriting, to jazz jam sessions, and a cover band – time allowing.
Dr. Sapen’s ideas and writings have been the focus of seminars and presentations worldwide, including a seminar at Columbia University, and at the Israel Winnicott Center. He continues writing, and exploring the psychological and philosophical significance of a wide range of issues with in a diverse community of thinkers, clinicians, and artists.
Dan is married, with a young daughter, and lots of pets.
Dr. Dan Sapen writes:
Many of us live lives that are all about pursuing material things, status, and immediate pleasures. There is little room in our lives for reflection, for looking at the little details and the bigger picture, for seriously and respectfully listening and speaking – unless we create that space and that time.
There are always aspects of ourselves that don’t receive enough attention. Most of us have gone through periods in which our relationships and our work just seem stuck. I have come to learn that my greatest pleasure in my work is one of my greatest pleasures as a person, as a husband, father, and friend – to improve relationships help people feel better about themselves, and getting “un-stuck” – feeling a greater sense of purpose, from the things we do each day, through the projects of a lifetime. Perhaps the greatest project of all is to seek and apply the truth about one’s own life with greater clarity, honesty, and courage. To live better.
I have always tried to work both with the widest range of people as I can, with every sort of human concern, while staying close to areas of my personal interest. I have been a musician, poet, author, and actor at different times in my life, and I have maintained training and competition in a variety of sports, from baseball to boxing, since before college, and through to the present. An old mentor in a difficult sport used to teach that in order to both get the most fulfillment and achievement from our pursuits, whether athletic, artistic, intellectual, or other, we must both immerse ourselves in what feels right to us, in what has always felt right, while keeping our ears open to new things. Sometimes, he just reminds me that no matter how hard we work, we have to remember to play every day, which sometimes means approaching our work as the kind of serious play which we see children immersed in. Most of all, not to simply be a spectator or commentator in life, but to participate as fully as we can, to love, work, and play – since these are, I believe the Big Three categories.
I have been a person first, and only added “doctor” on top of that foundation. For this reason, I can honestly say to most of my patients, whether coming to me with problems regarding love, work, motivation, moods, for being stuck in some area of life and mental or emotional functioning, that as a person, I have probably “been there” , in my own way. Most of us have – but a doctor of whatever sort isn’t likely to show that side of him- or herself. You know, to keep it real. If I’m doing my job, you will not be talking to some remote, untouchable scientist.
At the same time, everyone’s experience and story is unique, in ways that no other person could know. Any good therapist must both be able to “relate”, but also to be curious and, in my case, fascinated and grateful for the chance to enter into your unique life story and respectfully listen so that I can learn to help with your story. This is a privilege, and one that has allowed me to make sure my day has been worthwhile, and that I have never been bored with my choice of career.
I look forward to hearing your story – maybe I can help!