The Riggs Blog
William Todd Schultz - Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media Winner
On Saturday, June 27, from 1:00-4:00pm, the Erikson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center honors this year’s three recipients of the Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media at a Media Colloquy. The 2015 recipients are:
- Alison Bechdel: Eisner Award winner, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient and author of the graphic memoir, Fun Home, the Broadway adaptation of which was shortlisted for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, earned 12 Tony Award nominations and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
- Stephanie McCrummen: reporter at The Washington Post whose features on mental illness and other subjects have included a profile of a Virginia state senator whose son attacked him with a knife and then committed suicide.
- William Todd Schultz, PhD: psychologist and scholar who is a leading writer and editor of psychobiography. He has written about photographer Diane Arbus, writer Truman Capote and musician Elliot Smith among others.
This week, we will take a closer look at William Todd Schultz, PhD.
William Todd Schultz, PhD, is a psychologist and scholar who is a leading writer and editor of psychobiography, which has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, owing largely to the work of Dr. Schultz (williamtoddschultz.wordpress.com). Psychobiography is the application of psychological theory and research to individual lives of historical importance. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Schultz has published numerous articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries and book reviews on the topic.
His books, which include An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus, and Tiny Terror: Why Truman Capote (Almost) Wrote Answered Prayers—deftly blend psychology and narrative.
A professor of psychology at Pacific University in Portland, Oregon, Schultz is also general editor of an Oxford University Press series called “Inner Lives,” the first and only book series devoted to the subject of psychobiography. Each title in the series focuses on a paradigmatic historical figure—subjects have included George W. Bush and John Lennon—using psychological theory and research to illuminate his/her life and work. Schultz’s most recent book is Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith.
He also writes a blog for Psychology Today entitled “Genius and Madness: From Elvis to Picasso and the thorny intersection of ‘madness’ and creativity.” Recent topics have included “Lucy in the Mind of Lennon,” “Can Obama Fake Extraversion?” and “The Psychobabble Reduction.”
In 1995, he was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his project The Life-History Origins of Henry Cotton's Chronic Sepsis Theory of Insanity.
The Erikson Institute is delighted to honor William Todd Schultz with the 2015 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.
For more information on the Media Colloquy, please visit: www.austenriggs.org/2015-Erikson-Prize. Continuing education credits offered to mental health professionals. This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; advance registration is recommended. To register, please call  931.5230 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.