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Raymond J. Corsini (1914 –2008)
Raymond J. Corsini, one of psychology’s most prolific
authors and editors, was born on June 1, 1914, in Rutland,
Vermont. Ray was the son of Italian immigrant parents, and
he took great pride in his Italian heritage and his command
of the Italian language. He also spoke French and German.
Following the death of his father when Ray was 6, his
mother moved him and his younger brother to an affordable
apartment in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City.
He attended the City College of New York, where he
received a full scholarship for his undergraduate degree,
eventually earning a master’s degree in psychology. This
degree qualified him to begin his career as a psychologist
working in New York’s Auburn Prison (later Auburn Correctional Facility), from whence he moved to the Elmira
Correctional Facility and later to San Quentin State Prison
in California. While at Auburn, he began a correspondence
and a long-term friendship with Carl Rogers.
Ray had unsuccessful (and turbulent) graduate school
experiences at Syracuse University and the University of
California, Berkeley. However, he eventually earned a doctorate in psychology at the University of Chicago, where he
had the opportunity to interact with Carl Rogers, Rudolph
Dreikurs, Victor Frankl, Max Wertheimer, Jacob Moreno
(with whom he worked extensively), Karl Menninger, and
Bruno Bettelheim (with whom he had a falling out relative
to who was entitled to practice psychoanalysis). Dreikurs
played an especially important role in Ray’s intellectual
development, leading him to adopt a lifelong identity as an
Adlerian psychologist.
Ray cultivated friendships with the leading figures in
psychology throughout his life, including Raymond B.
Cattell and Anthony Marsella, who both taught at the
University of Hawaii. Ray especially enjoyed taking fellow
psychologists sailing when they were visiting Honolulu.
Ray’s most important contributions include editing an
award-winning four-volume encyclopedia of psychology
(1994, Wiley), a dictionary of psychology (1999, Brunner/
Mazel), and one of the leading graduate texts on psychotherapy (Corsini & Wedding, 8th ed., 2008, Cengage),
which was translated into more than a dozen languages. He
also edited a seminal textbook describing the most significant innovations in psychotherapy (2001, Wiley) and coedited two books designed to introduce students to psychotherapy using a case study approach (Dumont & Corsini,
2000, Springer; Wedding & Corsini, 2008, Cengage).
However, Ray took the greatest pride in the development of the Corsini 4-R system (also known as Individual
Education), an innovative approach to school system re-


form based on democratic principles and Adlerian psychology. (The four Rs were responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, and responsiveness.) A network of Corsini 4-R
schools exists in the United States, the Netherlands, Israel,
and beyond.
Corsini’s signal accomplishments in the domains of
testing (royalties still arrive annually for tests he developed
in the 1950s), prison psychology, educational psychology,
industrial/organizational psychology, clinical psychology,
the psychology of clinical group dynamics, and lexicography are a remarkable testament to a person raised in extreme poverty who had to surmount many initial professional setbacks (see “Ray Corsini: A Life That Spans an
Era,” an interview conducted by Robert Perloff and Frank
Dumont published in 2002 in The General Psychologist,
37[3], 68 –77).
For the last 44 years of his life, Ray lived in Honolulu,
Hawaii, where he was an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii. He created the Family Education Center of
Hawaii in 1966 to promote Adlerian ideas about democracy
and social responsibility; the Center served the Honolulu
community for more than 34 years and is now administered
by the University of Hawaii. In 2004, Ray received a
lifetime achievement award from the Hawaii Psychological
Association, and not long after that he was elected a fellow
of the Society for General Psychology (Division 1 of the
American Psychological Association).
Ray worked almost daily writing or editing one book
or another; in this role, he interacted with many of the
world’s leading psychotherapists. He was pleased and
proud when Arnold Lazarus identified him as “WBE—the
world’s best editor” (Raymond J. Corsini, personal communication). Albert Ellis and Raymond Corsini maintained
an almost lifelong friendship and friendly rivalry; Ray was
instrumental in persuading Ellis to rename his system of
psychotherapy Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. One of
Ray’s last publications (2005), a book review in PsycCRITIQUES, paid homage to Ellis. Ray’s last book was going
to be an edited volume on comparative religion; however,
it will not be completed.
Raymond Corsini died in Honolulu on November 8,
2008. He is survived by his physician wife, Kleona Rigney,
and his social worker daughter, Evelyn Anne Corsini. Both
share Ray’s passionate commitment to Adlerian social interest.
Danny Wedding
University of Missouri—Columbia

January 2010 ● American Psychologist
© 2010 American Psychological Association 0003-066X/10/$12.00
Vol. 65, No. 1, 54
DOI: 10.1037/a0017770