Charles L. Zeiders, PsyD – Clinical Psychologist, Expert Witness in Private Practice
Charles L. Zeiders’ BIO
In the Spotlight Interview
1. You are a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist. BSO has learned you apply Christian Teachings in your role as psychotherapist and executive coach. You’re even a poet. Tell us what is meaningful to you in your work. BSO understands it begins with ethics.
CZ : Meaningful to me professionally is the reality that I only exist to advance my client’s interests. Other professional agendas are parasitic and unprofessional.
So, ethics influence my professional behavior and even inspires my poetry.
Six duties drive my professional behavior. No matter who retains me, my psychology practice must adhere to these duties. It’s non-negotiable.
1. Undivided loyalty is my prime duty. Like any professional, I’m obligated to defend the interests of my client. That’s a basic fiduciary idea that really must guide professional behavior.
2. Next, I’m bound to be very discrete, to keep the confidence of my retainers and patients. To the practice of psychology, confidentiality is vital. My clients must rest assured that their secrets will not be leaked and undermine or humiliate them. In extraordinary cases, statute demands limited reporting when danger to society looms. But otherwise I just keep their secrets.
3. Obedience to the client is another duty. If asked to treat an anxiety disorder, I must do just that; I can’t experiment, or daydream, or enlist the party in some study without their permission. Helping them on their terms is my top priority.
4. All clients must experience informed consent. At the start of our relationship, I disclose how the relationship works, and its limitations– how laws, the government, and insurance companies encroach on our professional relationship, and so forth. Limitations of the relationship need to be understood.
5. Like all psychologists, I have to maintain professional fitness. I have to be in shape for my clients. That means I keep reading, stay professionally curious, and remain abreast of breaking theory and science about the domains of psychology.
6. Lastly, I have to remain accountable. How my fees work needs to be clearly established.
2. That’s a big list! You’re a practicing Anglo-Catholic; are there particular biblical principles that support the professional duties you put forth?
CZ : Yes! One cannot serve two masters; I am my brother’s keeper; love your neighbor as yourself; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
3. How did you come to embrace these ideas?
CZ : Several years ago, I worked on an organizational development problem with an expert on fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Her name was Jerilyn Coates. She possessed an uncanny ability to distill organizational and individual behavior to its ethical essence. To sort the drama upon which we worked, she kept asking, “Did this actor fulfill their fiduciary duty? Did this actor promote the client or defend their own interests?” Her ability to make determinations about the rightness of an act based on fiduciary principles was breathtaking. Using fiduciary principles, she could diagnose both leaders and organizations. She taught me the 6 fiduciary duties of the professional. It’s helped to guide my work.
4. What is the chief professional idea you took from Ms. Coates?
CZ : Work on behalf of your client. Always.
Take us through a typical day, start to finish.
I awake, make a smoothie, read from the Book of Common Prayer, and watch the BBC. Then I ride my bike a few miles, making sure I cover at least a mile of hills. I bike over to the office, shower and jump into a suit. The phone rings, and I engage about an hour or so of coaching. Then therapy appointments begin. I spend 5 to 8 hours providing psychotherapy on the medical model with heavy cognitive-behavioral emphasis. Sometimes depth psychology. The therapy ends. I return email, conduct the billing, get back into my biking gear and ride home. Somewhere in there I field a few emergency phone calls. Sometimes, I meet with attorneys or students, depending on the need. Once I’m home for the night, I unwind by reading, and then hit the hay.
5. What are you reading now?
CZ : Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life…it’s a fascinating psycho-biography of the complicated artistic process of an American genius.
6. What is your source of daily inspiration and strength?
CZ : Family and friends and the tenets of my religion keep me inspired and motivated.
7. What are your strategies for building awareness of your professional services?
CZ : Social media promotes the psychotherapeutic part of my psychology practice, as well as my expert witness consulting. For executive coaching, word of mouth is the best referral source. About once a year, I give a lecture somewhere at an international conference, and this tends to distinguish the practice and raise its profile.
8. Where did you give your last big lecture?
CZ : Last September, I gave lectures at St John’s Divinity School at Cambridge University in the UK. What I liked about Cambridge was how smart the city felt, very much like the sense I get from the Boston area where BSO is headquartered. There is something special about locations where people dedicate themselves to learning and excellence. Somehow it fills the air and puts everyone on their game.
9. About what did you speak at Cambridge University?
CZ : Just prior to the call for papers, I published a volume of depth psychology poems entitled Wall Street Revolution and Other Poems. It’s available through my publisher, Fisher King Press https://fisherkingpress.com/n/product/wall-street-revolution. Anyway, the conference leaders were interested in my exploration of the religiously motivated entrepreneur. My topic involved the need for business psychology to develop a spiritual psychology of economic man. Some of the poems directly explored the growing phenomenon of entrepreneurs who use business activity as a means of religious expression, a way to bless the world and to be one’s brother’s keeper. I became interested in this, because this business spirituality is so different than the “rape and pillage” spirituality of some big corporations, or the selfish “every man for himself” ethos of crude Randian economics.
10. BSO has learned that a specific poem in your collection depicts spiritually motivated entrepreneurs as “new saints” and agents of social Transfiguration. Will you share that poem with BSO’s readers?
CZ : With pleasure! Here goes:
Vision of the new saints
Lovers will always be kinds of saints
But the new saints will be the entrepreneurs.
The new saints will help our species to evolve with a
Healthy program of right economic order.
I heard them pray:
“Teach us, O Christ,
To earn like capitalists
But to give like socialists
And we shall praise Thee with happy voices.”
Who prays like this? I asked.
And René Magritte took me to a place in Belgium
Where he conceived this painting
Called The Son of Man:
A man stands in a business suit
Wearing a bowler hat;
The man’s face is
Obscured by a floating apple.
The painting revealed itself to me as a secret icon of a
Yet many saints to come.
Then a lad stood before the painting
And sang this song with hopeful reverence:
“A son of man
With apple face
Transforms in Love
Transacts in Grace.”
The apple showed the new saint’s awareness of his
Capacity to sin,
Keeping him humble
And strengthening his reliance on God.
Also, the apple showed the new saint’s business art
And technology in states of grace;
The new saint’s enterprise will treat the sons
And daughters of the earth as if they were important to God.
And the new saint will bless the earth itself.
I heard the new saint say,
“Unsustainability is addiction.
And addiction is idolatry.
But I have no god but God.”
The new saint will be brilliant but never tricky.
Then a nimbus of gold shone around the head
And heart of this son of man.
Magritte did not paint this gold.
It suddenly appeared
And again I heard twice sung:
“A son of man
With apple face
Transforms in Love
Transacts in Grace.”
At the last note of the final singing
A medicine contained within the icon
And went into the world.
This vision flourished in my sight
On the eve of the Feast of the Transfiguration. [end]
11. BSO experiences your poem as a kind of speculation that an entrepreneur willing to be in a state of grace could change both business and global society. Is that true?
CZ : Yes! As usual BSO demonstrates poly disciplinary insight! My thinking is that the spiritually inspired and graced entrepreneur could represent that change at the level of individual consciousness that might in turn cause metamorphosis in collective economic consciousness and business behavior. Of course, there is something mysterious and good and transcendent at the core of this sort of change.
12. So how was your poetry and depth psychology lecture received at Cambridge University?
CZ : The European depth psychologists accepted my poem for what it is: an idealistic and aspirational manifesto and mystical image of professionals accepting spiritual empowerment to make the world a better place. One way to think of the “new saint” is as a businessman who offers his business as a fiduciary institution to the people of the earth.
13. Do you know any professionals with a “new saint” ethic?
CZ : Yes. Don Larson, CEO of the Sunshine Nut Company, is a “new saint.” Larson has established a cashew packaging plant in Mozambique. He offers fair prices to normally exploited growers, packages and sells the cashews, and then pours 90 percent of the proceeds back into the community. He supports orphans, education, healthcare, and socially responsible enterprises. Larson actualizes the vision of the “new saint.” My practice has been impressed enough to support his project financially.
14. What is your advice for entrepreneurs who are 1 -3 months away from launching a business in your profession?
CZ : Once you are licensed, keep ethical faith with your clients and be your brother’s keeper.