Congressional Record: October 7, 2005 (Extensions)
Page E2081                  

                         IN HONOR OF TED SARBIN


                             HON. SAM FARR

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Friday, October 7, 2005

  Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor my dear friend Ted 
Sarbin, who recently passed away at his Carmel home in my Central 
California district. He was 94. I knew Ted first as a friend of my late 
father, but the academic world knew Dr. Sarbin as a pioneering research 
psychologist who helped shape the modern science of psychology.
  Born Theodore Ray Sarbin on May 8, 1911, Ted rose from humble 
beginnings in Cleveland, Ohio, as one of six children of Russian 
immigrant parents. As a young man, he rode the rails as a hobo, an 
experience he later said helped him identify with people on the margins 
of society. In 1941, he earned a Ph.D. from Ohio State University and 
did further post doctorate work at the University of Chicago. His 
dissertation used data gathered at the University of Minnesota to 
examine the relative accuracy of statistical versus clinical prediction 
of undergraduate success. During this time he also collaborated on 
research to measure hypnotic depth. This work pioneered research in 
these fields and framed the questions for hundreds of subsequent 
studies by psychologists.
  In 1949, after a short stint as a clinical psychologist in Illinois 
and Los Angeles, he joined the faculty at UC Berkeley. In 1969, he left 
UC Berkeley to join the faculty at UC Santa Cruz. During these academic 
years, he gained the reputation as an energetic teacher and graduate 
student mentor, supervising more students than any other faculty member 
in his department. He also gained the reputation as a prolific author 
of studies and journal articles. He focused his work on 
psychopathology--the study of anti-social behavior and its root causes 
and effects. He became known as ``Mr. Role Theory,'' defending the 
unorthodox view that the label ``mental illness'' was often used as a 
moral judgment to express or exert social power over those whose 
conduct was perceived as unwanted or dangerous.
  In the course of his academic career, Ted published over 250 
scientific articles and book chapters. He received scores of honors, 
including both Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships. He received the 
Morton Prince Award from the Society for Clinical Experimental 
Hypnosis, as well as the Henry Murray Award from the American 
Psychological Association. In 2001, the Western Psychological 
Association recognized him with a lifetime achievement award. Although 
Ted officially retired in 1976, he never stopped working. He continued 
to teach and write throughout his life. Recently in Washington, D.C., 
Ted presented a new award named in his honor as part of the annual 
American Psychological Association convention.
  Ted was perhaps best known for pioneering work he did on the subject 
of gays in the military. From 1987 until just before his death, Ted was 
a researcher for the Defense Personnel Security Research and Education 
Center at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The 
Department of Defense founded the Center to study the impact of 
psychology on national security in the wake of its discovery of a spy 
ring embedded in the Navy. He had been at the Center less than a year 
when he co-authored a report which found no evidence to support the 
idea that gay and lesbian soldiers pose a security risk. The report 
later became public in 1990 when it was published under the title 
``Gays in Uniform: The Pentagon's Secret Reports.''
  The Report's publication propelled Ted into the spotlight. However, 
despite its notoriety, the ``Gays in Uniform'' report simply reflected 
the theme of Ted's life work: Listen to others and refrain from 
judgment in reporting the facts. Ted called this narrative psychology--
listen to what the patient has to say rather than rush to characterize 
  Ted had a devoted following of former students and colleagues. He 
established a custom 40 years ago of hosting an annual party where he 
would present his own award ``Role Theorist of the Year,'' to one of 
those gathered. He presided over these celebrations with grace and wit. 
This past August, he hosted his final such banquet which drew over 
sixty participants.
  Ted bought a vacation home in Carmel in the 1950s. He moved to my 
hometown for good in the 1970s. He loved to golf and played almost 
every Monday, always aiming to shoot his age, which he achieved at 89. 
He and his wife, Genevieve, often hosted elaborate costume parties 
where he always played the part of Don Quixote--a role he often played 
in his professional life.
  Ted is survived by his sons Jim Allen, Ronald Allen, and Theodore 
Sarbin; sister Ruth Landy; domestic partner Karen Sobeck; four 
grandchildren: Mathew Allen, Chelsea Allen, Park Allen, and Link Allen; 
and two great grandchildren: MacKenzie Allen and Delaney Allen; and 
numerous people who still love and cherish him. His late wife Genevieve 
Sarbin, died in 1999.