Psychiatrist and best-selling author Ari Kiev's work ranged from the study of nontraditional psychiatry practices to helping athletes and Wall Street traders achieve peak performance.
Ari Kiev (1934 to 2009) was born in Bronx and raised in Washington Heights where he attended Stuyvesant High School. Dr. Kiev graduated from Harvard in 1954 with a degree in social relations. In 1958, he earned his medical degree from Cornell Medical College. He eventually headed Cornell's department of social psychiatry after his psychiatric training at Johns Hopkins and the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in London.
A specialist in suicide-prevention, Dr. Kiev founded and directed the Suicide Prevention Clinic at Cornell. In 1970 he started the Social Psychiatry Research Institute in Manhattan. The Institute helped develop antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs including conducting clinical trials for Prozac and Zoloft.
Ari Kiev's curiosity about how other cultures handled mental health issues led to his study of nontraditional practitioners in Africa and Asia, and the Soviet Union. He edited two essay collections called “Magic, Faith and Healing: Studies in Primitive Psychiatry Today” (1964) and “Psychiatry in the Communist World” (1968). He later coined the term "Transcultural Psychiatry,” which became the title of his book in 1972.
His work on depression and suicide prevention focused on helping patients become self-reliant, more assertive, and better able to cope. A basketball player while at Harvard, Dr. Kiev realized that athletes faced many of the psychological barriers of self-doubt and uncertainty as his patients, which led to his developing techniques athletes could use to manage stress and improve performance.
During the 1970s, his interest in sports psychology led to his being the first psychiatrist appointed to the United States Olympic Sports Medicine Committee. He helped coach the basketball, bobsled, and other teams to achieve peak performance.
Dr. Kiev was hired by one of the most successful hedge fund companies in the early 1990s to coach traders - who faced many of the same performance challenges as Olympians. By studying their behavior patterns and subconscious fears, he helped traders gain insight into their tendencies toward denial and rationalization that could subvert their investment goals. Just as he helped athletes learn to manage stress, he helped traders develop visualization and relaxation techniques to escape their fear of failure and achieve their performance goals.
The author of more than 20 books, his Wall Street experience led him to write best-sellers on stock trading including "Trading to Win” (1998), “Trading in the Zone” (2001) and “Hedge Fund Masters” (2005). His last book “The Mental Strategies of Top Traders” was published in December 2009 by Wiley.
A devoted family man, Dr. Kiev was married to Phyllis they had two sons - Jon and Marshall. His many accomplishments also included serving as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, hosting the popular WBCS- TV show "Sunrise Semester," and founding the Kiev Foundation, which donated over 15,000 rare books on Jewish theology to George Washington University. He also enjoyed tennis, travel, sailing and skiing.
The perpetual student, after appearing as an expert witness in court cases, he decided to go to law school where he earned a degree from New York Law School in 1988. Shortly before his death, he was working toward a master’s degree in executive health care at George Washington University.