In Memoriam: E. Thomas Dowd, Ph.D., ABPP 1938-2018

The community of hypnosis has lost a great leader in advancing cognitive hypnotherapy and evidence based clinical practice of hypnosis. Edmund Thomas Dowd, born in Minneapolis on November 19, 1938, died suddenly at his home on Saturday, January 6, 2018. Tom Dowd spent the first 31 years of his life in Minnesota, where he met his wife Therese, had his two children, and earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Tom spent the majority of his professional career as an academician and traveled around the world presenting and training others in hypnosis and cognitive psychotherapy. Tom was a tenured Professor in the Department of Psychology at Kent State University where he had served as Director of the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology, Department Chair, and the Chair of the University Faculty Senate. He taught courses in Professional and Ethical Issues in Clinical Psychology, Clinical Psychology Practicum, Introduction to Psychotherapy, and Psychological Interventions. He served as Editor of the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly and had served as Director of the Counseling Psychology Programs at both the University of Nebraska and at Kent State University.

In addition, Tom was the author of nearly 200 publications and 7 books including the ground-breaking book, Cognitive Hypnotherapy (Dowd, 2000). The model developed by Dr. Dowd combined concepts and techniques drawn from the work of Aaron T. Beck and Milton H. Erickson along with concepts from theories of human cognition and implicit knowledge. His other books included: Case Studies in Hypnotherapy (Dowd & Healy, 1986), Hypnotherapy: A Modern Approach (Golden, Dowd, & Freidberg, 1987); Clinical Advances in Cognitive Psychotherapy (Leahy & Dowd, 2002); and The Psychologies in Religion: Working with Religious Clients (Dowd & Nielsen, 2006 ).

Throughout his life Tom was always willing to be of service. He served on numerous boards and committees locally, nationally, and internationally. At the time of his death he was serving as the President of the Society for Psychological Hypnosis (American Psychological Association, Division 30). In addition, he had served as President and on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology (ABCT), a specialty of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). In 2016 he was presented the Russell J. Bent Award for Distinguished Service and Contributions to the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Upon retirement as a Professor from Kent State University, he transitioned exclusively into private practice where he was a Senior Psychologist at Rainier Behavioral Health in Tacoma, Washington and Professor Emeritus of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. Tom maintained an active private practice and continued to see clients and have a tremendous impact on healing and helping others until his death. He traveled around the world conducting workshops on cognitive-behavioral therapy and cognitive hypnotherapy.

In his personal life, Tom was known as a compassionate, quirky, adventurous, wise, and sensitive person. He was generous to the core and always willing to help others. He was committed to supporting his family; he and his wife Therese moved to Tacoma, Washington in 2014 to be close to their children and their families. He loved to live life to the fullest, enjoyed a good glass of wine, was an aficionado of opera and classical music – he could literally “name that tune” for almost any classical music piece in five notes or less. He was both open-hearted and open-minded and as a voracious reader was committed to life-long learning. He had a dedicated meditation practice, enjoyed spending time in his garden, and loved exploring new places in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. His family, his friends, his students, his patients, his readers, and his colleagues will mourn his absence.