Psychologist   *  Author   *  Theorist   *  Artist

“To be fully alive to all of life’s experiences means to live a life that satisfies transcendent human needs: To love, to feel, to create, to help others, and to ponder the mysteries of existence – needs that are as important as the basic drives for food and shelter.” ~ Dr. Robert W. Firestone

“My experiences as a psychologist, and my many travels, have given me a window into the complexities, depth and uniqueness of each individual and a glimpse into the transcendent meaning beyond the simple facts of existence.” ~ Dr. Robert W. Firestone

“Acting out of obligation, form or tradition is deadly, because giving up one’s ability to act out of free choice is equivalent to giving up life itself.” ~ Dr. Robert W. Firestone

“The average person is unaware that he or she is living out a negative destiny according to his or her past (childhood) programming, preserving his or her familiar identity, and, in the process, pushing love away. On an unconscious level, many people sense that if they did not push love away, the whole world, as they have experienced it, would be shattered and they would not know who they were.”~ Dr. Robert W. Firestone


Dr. Robert Firestone is the author of 14 books. View his entire libraray.


Interviews and films with Dr. Robert W. Firestone are available for viewers around the world.


Abstracts and links to peer-reviewed journal articles by Dr. Robert W. Firestone.


Read Dr. Robert W. Firestone’s full-length blogs here.



New book by Dr. Robert W. Firestone

Overcoming the Destructive Inner Voice:

True Stories of Therapy and Transformation

Order your copy today!

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"My Intellectual Contribution"

By Dr. Robert W. Firestone


Early in my life, I decided that I wanted to make an important contribution to humankind and be of value to others. I have sought to realize this goal through my involvement in the field of psychology. As I said in the Introduction, for fifty years I have been absorbed in developing my understanding of resistance in psychotherapy and of people’s resistance to a better life in general. I have studied this subject in various populations ranging from extreme psychotics to neurotic patients in psychotherapy to a normal population of comparatively high-functioning individuals. The theory and methodology that have emerged from this work are at the core of my legacy. My contribution to the psychological literature is multi-faceted.

I developed my own theoretical approach, Separation Theory, which integrates psychoanalytic and existential concepts in psychology in a manner that lends itself to an effective approach to psychotherapy. In the process, my associates and I have contributed to an understanding of how social structures and cultures are formed from individual psychological defenses against both interpersonal pain and death anxiety. I have described how the denial of death and various other illusions and self-protective adaptations to death anxiety lead to limitations in living. In the course of my investigations, I have identified the basic defense mechanisms that adversely affect personal relationships, society and issues of morality in everyday life.

Praise for Dr. Robert W. Firestone’s Work

“Seldom do we see in clinical literature the articulation of a differential hypothesis that is so clear, so testable, and so socially significant as Firestone’s conceptualization of treating the inner voice.” ~Larry Beutler

“Firestone is not a preacher. He is a clinician through and through. But maybe he   should take a chance on preaching what he practices. He calls it compassion. It is also called love.” ~ R.D. Laing

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Biography of Dr. Robert W. Firestone

Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, author, and artist, has established a comprehensive body of written work that is focused on the concept that defenses formed by individuals early in life tend to impede the individuation process, often impair their ability to sustain intimate adult relationships, and can have a damaging effect on their children. The primary emphasis of Dr. Firestone’s theory development has centered on the study of resistance in psychotherapy and combines a challenging blend of psychoanalytic and existential ideas. His complete body of work is a valuable contribution to the field of psychology and, taken as a whole, is a fully realized “paradigm” of what it means to be fully human.

R.W. Firestone was born in Brooklyn in 1930, the son of a doctor and a fashion designer. In those two sensibilities one can trace the beginnings of his diverse interests. From his father, the community G.P., on call at all hours of the day and night, he received his first exposure and appreciation for a life devoted to service. The comings and goings of the myriad of patients through his father’s home office was certainly a spark in Firestone’s lifelong interest and commitment to people. His mother’s career as fashion designer in New York was an early important influence on his developing artistic sensibilities.