Psychiatrist Charles “Chod” DeLong ran a successful private practice in Palo Alto, California for 30 years. After he retired, he asked himself what one thing he had learned in his practice that would help the human race to evolve emotionally. He spent the next five years reviewing his patients and looking for common threads and themes. The answer he ultimately arrived at, “Personal Integrity,” is the inspiration for this book.
Sometime during my freshman year at Carleton College I decided to become a psychiatrist. Looking back, it was probably because I’d always been more comfortable observing, rather than wholeheartedly participating in, group affairs. As a child, even while in the sandbox, I can remember hearing the grown-ups on the porch talking about “Why people act the way they do.”
I enjoyed medical school and a rotating internship despite the fact that they were quite demanding. I received my Doctor of Medicine from Northwestern University and I was fortunate to get into a top psychiatric residency program at the University of Cincinnati. As I look back upon my residency, even then I was developing an awareness and appreciation for what the patient was actively trying to resolve regardless of his or her diagnosis.
Next came two years of active duty in the Naval Reserve as a hospital psychiatrist in Bremerton, Washington, and then Camp Pendleton, California. I entered private practice in 1968 in Palo Alto, California. For the first 20 years or so I had an active hospital practice in addition to conducting 40 hours a week of outpatient psychotherapy in my office. In the beginning of my practice, with each patient, I waited for “transference” to develop, the process wherein the patient begins to bring their emotional problems into our relationship and to work them out. While this process seemed to work eventually, I began to notice that from day one each patient was actively trying to resolve their emotional conflicts and evolve their personalities long before any transference was evident. This process of resolving and evolving seemed to go much faster if I, as their therapist, was more comfortable with their attempts to do so then they were themselves. The more calm and connected I remained, the more progress I saw in them, a process known as “active understanding” and the key ingredient to successfully living with personal integrity.
On July 23, 2012, one month after his book was published, Dr. Charles "Chod" DeLong lost his battle with multiple myeloma cancer. Writing and publishing this book was one of his greatest accomplishments. Seeing the finished book in his hands brought Chod happiness and a sense of peace in his final days that he was leaving this world in a better place.