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Gerald Frank, DC – A Tribute

It’s the week after Thanksgiving and I’m taking a much needed break to rest and rejuvenate.  I’ve been extremely busy for several months now.  So, I’m spending time in the sun preparing physically and emotionally for the upcoming holiday season. December is usually a painful and difficult time for my patients, with their often less-than-ideal memories and experiences of family togetherness.

This week, I’ve dipped into my article archive to pay tribute to a real giant in my life – Dr. Gerald Frank, DC, my therapist, mentor, doctoral advisor, and friend.  Gerry passed away almost 20 years ago.  What he gave me was invaluable and I miss him still.

My Giant – Dr. Gerald Frank

Everyone needs “giants” in their life, people they can look up to and who embody the character and values to which they aspire.  There have been several giants in my life, but the greatest of them all was Dr. Gerry Frank, a Reichian psychotherapist, chiropractor, and my doctoral studies supervisor.

Gerry saw that I needed to be redirected and healed from old emotional wounds.  He took me under his wing and helped me understand the value of going through pain and suffering.  He kept me going when I wanted to quit.

He also showed me something else that I didn’t understand yet, the value of authority.  Because of my past, I always thought that authority was terrible, abusive, and oppressive.  I had a real chip on my shoulder about it.  The irony of it was that I was becoming an authority myself.  And it was very hard to be a good one with my attitude. 

Gerry Frank was a very strong man and I needed him to be.  He had a lot of opinions, a lot of skills and abilities, and a lot of character, which he encouraged in me.  He helped my take my aggressiveness, anger, and, unfortunately, belligerence, and turn them into something positive and useful for helping other people.

He taught me how to help by coming alongside others.  He also taught me that real strength wasn’t walking around as though I was wearing a suit of armor, acting like a tough guy, which was only part of an image.

Gerry showed me that real strength was having the ability to cry and the ability to be soft, tender, and compassionate as well, to not be ashamed of that side of myself and to trust myself.

I learned from him that there will be times for power, strength, and aggressiveness, which I had plenty of, and times for compassion, vulnerability, softness, and tears.  He taught me to really understand my fellow man and myself.

He had, and continues to have, an enormous effect on my life.  Thank you, Gerry, for everything you did for me and my family.