Charles W. Socarides

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Charles W. Socarides
Charles Socarides.jpg
Charles W. Socarides, M.D.
BornJanuary 24, 1922
DiedDecember 25, 2005(2005-12-25) (aged 83)
Alma materHarvard University
Columbia University
Known forNational Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (as the founder)
Spouse(s)Claire Alford Socarides
  • Distinguished Psychoanalyst (Association of Psychoanalytic Psychologists)
  • Sigmund Freud Lectureship Award (New York Center for Psychoanalytic Training)
  • Physicians Recognition Award (American Medical Association)
  • Sigmund Freud Award (American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians)
Scientific career
FieldsPsychoanalysis, psychotherapy, human sexuality
InstitutionsColumbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research
Columbia University
State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Charles W. Socarides (January 24, 1922 – December 25, 2005) was an American psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, physician, educator and author. He was born in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Socarides focused much of his career on homosexuality, which he believed could be altered. He helped found the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in 1992 and worked extensively with the organization until his death.


In 1935, at the age of thirteen, after reading a biography of Sigmund Freud, Socarides decided to become a physician and psychoanalyst. In 1952, at the age of 30, he graduated from Harvard College and received his certificate in Psychoanalytic Medicine from what is now the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Socarides wrote or co-wrote numerous books and psychoanalytic articles. He appeared on news programs such as Dateline NBC, 60 Minutes and Larry King Live to discuss his work. He was a president of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which he helped to found in 1992. He was on the board of directors of the Margaret S. Mahler Psychiatric Research Foundation. He was a member of the International Advisory Committee, the Second Delphi International Psychoanalytic Symposium, held in Delphi, Greece, in 1988, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine and the International Psychoanalytical Association. Socarides was a life member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, where he chaired a discussion group, and an affiliate member of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, United Kingdom.[1]

Socarides was a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in New York City from 1954 until his death. He treated patients for homosexuality throughout his career. He reported that "about a third" of his patients became heterosexual after treatment. He taught Psychiatry at Columbia University and the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and was Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, from 1978 to 1996. He lectured on his research findings in London at the Anna Freud Centre, the Portman Clinic, the Tavistock Clinic and before the British Psychoanalytical Society.[1]

Much of Socarides' career was devoted to studying homosexuality. He has been grouped with Irving Bieber and Lionel Ovesey as the main representatives of the U.S. psychoanalytical current that has been active in promoting analytical methods to revert homosexuality.[2] Socarides postulated that homosexuality was a neurotic adaptation, and that it could be treated. He wrote that male homosexuality typically develops in the first two years of life, during the pre-Oedipal stage of the boy's personality formation. In his view, it is caused by a controlling mother who prevents her son from separating from her, and a weak or rejecting father who does not serve as a role model for his son or support his efforts to escape from the mother.[3][4]

Socarides was the father of five children: a son, Richard Socarides, from his first marriage; a daughter, also from his first marriage; two children from his second marriage; and one from his fourth marriage, with Claire Alford Socarides. Richard, who is gay, was Bill Clinton's Senior Advisor for Public Liaison for gay and lesbian issues.[5]


  • Socarides, Charles W. (1968). The Overt Homosexual. Jason Aronson, Inc. ISBN 0-87668-162-3.
  • Socarides, Charles W. (1975). Beyond Sexual Freedom. New York Times/Quadrangle Books. ISBN 0-8129-0532-6.
  • Socarides, Charles W.; & Kramer, Selma (1975). Work and Its Inhibitions: Psychoanalytic Essays. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-6866-5.
  • Socarides, Charles W. (1977). The World of Emotions: Clinical Studies of Affects and Their Expression. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-6867-3.
  • Socarides, Charles W.; & Karasu, Toksoz B. (1979). On Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Observations. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-3857-X.
  • Socarides, Charles W. (1988). Preoedipal Origin and Psychoanalytic Therapy of Sexual Perversions. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-4287-9.
  • Socarides, Charles W. (1989). Homosexuality: Psychoanalytic Therapy. Jason Aronson, Inc. ISBN 0-87668-814-8. First published in 1978 under the title Homosexuality.
  • Volkan, Vamik D.; & Socarides, Charles W. (1990). The Homosexualities: Reality, Fantasy, and the Arts. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-2347-5.
  • Volkan, Vamik D.; & Socarides, Charles W. (1991). The Homosexualities and the Therapeutic Process. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-2348-3.
  • Socarides, Charles W. (1992). Sexual Politics and Scientific Logic: The Issue of Homosexuality. Association for Psychohistory. ASIN B0006RCH62.
  • Socarides, Charles W. (1995). Homosexuality: A Freedom Too Far. A Psychoanalyst Answers 1000 Questions About Causes and Cure and the Impact of the Gay Rights Movement on American Society. Roberkai. ISBN 0-9646642-5-9.
  • Socarides, Charles W.; & Freedman, Abraham (2002). Objects of Desire: The Sexual Deviations. International Universities Press. ISBN 0-8236-3731-X.
  • Loeb, Loretta L.; & Socarides, Charles W. (2004). The Mind of the Paedophile: Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Karnac. ISBN 1-85575-970-5.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths SOCARIDES, CHARLES WIL LIAM, M.D". The New York Times. December 27, 2005. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  2. ^ LeVay, Simon (1996). Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, Cambridge: The MIT Press ISBN 0-262-12199-9
  3. ^ Socarides, Charles W. (1968). The Overt Homosexual. Jason Aronson, Inc. ISBN 0-87668-162-3.
  4. ^ Socarides, Charles W. (1989). Homosexuality: Psychoanalytic Therapy. Jason Aronson, Inc. ISBN 0-87668-814-8. First published in 1978 under the title Homosexuality.
  5. ^ Bell, Chris (July 11, 1999). "His Public Domain, His Private Pain". Washington Post. Retrieved September 2, 2016.

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