“I find my writing and my psychiatric practice to be a perfect fit,” Steiner wrote on her website. “As I help patients develop and reshape their life narrative, I use similar skills when writing about fictional and non-fictional characters. My practice and creative writing is in a constant dialectic and refreshing that invigorates them both.
From Vienna to Palo Alto
Steiner was born on June 27, 1946 in Vienna, Austria, a year after the end of World War II. He grew up in a working-class family that struggled to make ends meet as Austria rebuilt after the war. In 1965 he became the first in his family to attend university, earning an MD from the University of Vienna in 1972.
During his freshman year in college, he met his wife, Judith, an American traveling in Europe, on a blind date. They married in 1967.
He has completed residencies at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York, and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1978, Steiner was hired as assistant director of the psychosomatic inpatient department at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, which granted his wife’s wish to return to the San Francisco Bay Area. He joined the medical school at Stanford School of Medicine in 1981 as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
During his career, Steiner authored and edited over 500 articles, abstracts, reviews and books. He has received the Outstanding Mentor Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry nine times and was a Lifetime Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
He became professor emeritus in 2009, but has remained active in research, patient care, and his many writing endeavors. In 2011, he was named director of Stanford Medicine’s program in psychiatry and law, which provides forensic assessments for legal purposes, such as fitness to stand trial and mental states.
In 2017, he published your secret mind, with co-author Rebecca Hall, medical writer and former research assistant in her lab. The book helped readers understand and access their unconscious, especially through creativity. He stemmed from a popular class he taught for many years to undergraduates and adults.
Steiner’s seemingly tireless energy for his many endeavors was made possible by his disciplined time management, his wife said. His strategy was to dedicate one day a week to each project – one day for consultations, one day to help people with their paperwork, etc.
Steiner’s father had been a swimming coach, and Steiner was always athletic. He enjoyed skiing, cycling and playing tennis. His interest in sports also extended to the study of the mental health of athletes.
In his later years, Steiner was working on a novel, his second. (His first was written in German when he was a medical student and typed by his wife on a Smith Corona portable typewriter.) His second unfinished novel was based on his family’s experiences in post-war Vienna. , the city that would always represent his home.
In his own words, Steiner described how his youth influenced his life’s work. “From these brief sketches of my childhood, it is easy to understand how I became interested in helping young people, athletes, people in difficulty of all kinds, with few resources, and how I still appreciate the teaching as a tool to get things done. time the wisdom and knowledge of past generations,” he wrote.
In addition to his wife, Steiner is survived by his sister, Britta Schmid; his three children: Remy, Hans-Christoph and Joshua; and four grandsons.
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