Published online: 9 September 2007
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007
In the 1960s, when I was a medical student and resident in psychiatry, the major textbook
we used was Modern Clinical Psychiatry, written (not edited) by Dr. Lawrence Kolb. This
was sufﬁcient for me to revere him without ever having met him.
That opportunity came to me in 1974, when I was a candidate for a senior clinical-
administrative position at Meyer–Manhattan Psychiatric Center, which was then an
afﬁliate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Department of
Psychiatry, where Dr. Kolb was Professor and Chairman. He had to approve my
appointment; my level of anxiety about how this icon of an academician would regard me,
was quite high.
We sat down to what turned out to be a very pleasant chat, which included discussion of
some clinical problems. He then concluded, and I cannot recall the exact words, that he
thought that my judgment was good and that I was not afraid to use it. Imagine how
wonderful it was for me to hear such a comment from someone as prominent as he was.
Then, to my utter amazement, he invited me to call him Larry.
I became a member of his department. He subsequently asked that I do him a favor.
Before even asking what that might be, I agreed. He wanted me to serve as secretary of the
consortium of afﬁliated clinical sites. This literally gave me the opportunity to sit at his
right hand during the meetings held by that group, which I believe were monthly. It took
me a while to realize that what Larry actually was doing was helping to advance my own
professional career and adding an important line to my curriculum vitae.
Some time later, he became Commissioner of the New York State Department of
Mental Hygiene. I came to need something from the department, and, even though I was
employed by them, my request was turned down by local and regional ofﬁcials. After
getting an appointment, I drove to Albany to meet with Larry. He agreed that what I was
asking was reasonable, and it was accomplished in a matter of days. But adding to the man
was his question as to how someone without access to him would be treated. Over more
S. Rachlin (&)
P.O. Box 117-H, Scarsdale, NY, USA
Psychiatr Q (2007) 78:257–258