Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 20
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
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Princeton Personality by Jean Stratton

DEEP DISCOVERIES: "I most enjoyed teaching the medical students and residents and working with children." Dr. Kenneth Gould, who practiced pediatrics, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis for more than 40 years in Princeton, continues to teach adolescent psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as well as courses in infant and toddler birth and development. ??

Princeton Psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Gould Investigates the Life of the Mind

"My mind to me a kingdom is;"

This line from a poem by 16th century poet Sir Edward Dyer is emblematic of the work of Princeton resident Dr. Kenneth Gould. Exploring the intricacies of that "kingdom" and helping others to discover and uncover buried experiences within their own minds has been his life work. As a pediatrician, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, he has been dedicated to furthering the physical and mental health of children and of adults.

"I had always liked children and was especially interested in them," says Dr. Gould. "In high school, I began to have an interest in pediatrics and worked as a helper in a hospital. Then, I gravitated toward the idea of becoming a physician."

It was a career well-chosen. Intellectual curiosity had been a part of his life from the earliest years. Born in the Bronx, N.Y. in 1927, he was the first son of Harry and Jean Gould. His brother Robert was born seven years later.

Yankee Fan

Growing up in the Bronx in the midst of the Great Depression, Ken enjoyed sports, reading, music, movies, and science. "I was always an athlete. I played stick ball in the street, baseball in junior high and in high school, I was on the track and field team," he reports, adding that as one of the best athletes, he was able to wear the coveted green jersey when other teammates wore the standard gold shirt. He also received an award from the New York City Public School Athletic League for excellence in athleticism.

"I was a very strong Yankee fan," he continues. "I went to games with my father and my friends, and when we saw Mayor LaGuardia, we'd call out to him, 'Hey, Little Flower!' which was his nickname, and he'd wave back."

Years later, an incident further strengthened his attachment to the Yankees. "My wife and I were in Paris, at the Coach leather store, and who should walk in but Joe Dimaggio. He was never one to give autographs, but I went over and when I said I was a big Yankee fan, he gave me his autograph. I'm still a strong Yankee fan today."

Dr. Gould also enjoyed music when he was a boy, and he played the piano-accordion, taking lessons at the famous Wurlitzer store in Manhattan.

Going to the movies was another major activity, and as he says, "I liked to go to the Park Plaza movie theater. They had double features, and my favorites were Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. 15 cents for the movie and 5 cents for a candy bar!

"I liked to read, too, especially The Arabian Nights, Robin Hood, Bomba, the Jungle Boy, and The Rover Boys. I was also interested in non-fiction scientific subjects."

Mounted Policeman

Dr. Gould's parents had both grown up in the Bronx, and those days during the Depression were difficult for people. "My father grew up in an orphanage, and my parents were not well-to-do," he recalls. "But my aunt, whom I was close to, did have money. She lived on Riverside Drive and drove a Packard car. She took us on trips to various parks, and to Jones Beach and Orchard Beach.

"I also really looked up to my father's younger brother, Michael. He was a mounted policeman in Manhattan, and he'd let me see the horses."

Ken liked school and did well, joining the chemistry club both in grade school and high school. After passing the entrance test, he was accepted into the prestigious and academically rigorous Bronx High School of Science. He was up to the challenge, graduating with honors in 1944. He recalls a particularly strong influence and mentor, Charles Cogan, who taught political science.

"He was the head of the New York Teachers Federation, and he was one of the main reasons I didn't become an advocate of Communism," observes Dr. Gould. "He said Communism was an illusion. Later, I argued with members of the American Communist Party and debated with them at Union Square."

Dr. Gould was 14 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, prompting the American entrance into World War II. He remembers it well. "We were seeing a movie that Sunday, and they interrupted it to tell us about the attack. Interestingly, in grade school, I had written a paper saying the U.S. should fortify the Hawaiian Islands because I thought the Japanese were a threat."

After graduating from Bronx Science, Ken joined the Navy but was able to enter New York University for six months before being called up. Following basic training at the Naval Lakes Training Station in Illinois, he was sent to Gulfport, Mississippi and to the Navy Pier in Chicago for training in radar and sonar repair. He then reported for duty on the U.S.S. Frontier, a destroyer tender, in San Diego.

Great Experience

Ken was discharged in 1945 and looks back on his military service as a great experience. "I loved the Navy. I had a real feeling of patriotism, which I still have today."

There was an abundance of camaraderie during World War II, he points out, with the servicemen and women experiencing full support from the homefront. "The USO women in Chicago treated us wonderfully," he notes. "Everyone felt very supported."

Returning to NYU, he majored in biology and literature, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1948. "Biology helped me to become a doctor, and because of the literature, I wrote poetry," he explains.

Entering New York University College of Medicine in 1948, he was captivated both by medicine and his interest in poetry. The latter led to an unexpected association with the famous doctor/poet William Carlos Williams.

"I looked up to him because he was exemplary in two areas dear to my heart: poetry and medicine. He continued to practice medicine in Rutherford, N. J. even when he became a prominent poet. I sent him some of my poetry, based on my hospital internship experience," says Dr. Gould. "He answered and commented on the poems. He said he saw me as a reflection of what he was at one time. And he added: 'Don't try to do both. It will kill you!'

"Years later, I met him at a poetry reading at the 92nd Street Y in New York, and we talked about our correspondence."

Famous Doctor

While still in medical school, he met another famous doctor. "When I was on rotation at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, C. Everett Koop (later Surgeon general of the U.S.) was chairman of the University of Pennsylvania surgery department. He was an excellent surgeon, and he was known also for his love of children. Later, I met him at a dinner, where he was the speaker, and I mentioned I had admired him both as a surgeon and for his love of children. Dr. Koop replied: 'I still love children.'"

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Gould began a rotating internship at Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn, followed by a residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York. He recalls Professor Harry Bakwin as a major mentor. "A professor of pediatrics at Bellevue, he was my most important influence in medical school. I learned so much from him. He also played the violin, and invited us to his town house for musical get-togethers.

"In one of my later rotations, I was assigned to take care of polio patients. There were rows of iron lungs, which allowed them to breathe. There were no vaccines then, and they gave the interns a shot of gamma globulin in hopes of protecting them. I also worked in the tuberculosis ward, helping to treat kids with TB."

He later faced an even more difficult challenge when as a resident at Memorial Hospital at Sloan Kettering, he worked with childhood leukemia patients. "One day, I had to pronounce five children dead from leukemia," he remembers. "There was very little to be done for it in those days."

A rotating residency in pediatrics at Kings County Hospital and Willard Parker Hospital in Brooklyn followed, and during this time, his personal as well as professional life took a new direction.

"When I was at Willard Parker Hospital, some friends wanted to go to a girl's birthday party up in Monticello, N.Y. in the Catskills. I was the only resident with a car — I had a beat-up Ford, given to me by my aunt — so we went to the party, and it was nice. I started talking to the girl — Audrey — and we talked about music and children. She had gone to the University of Pennsylvania, lived in New York, and was visiting her parents in Monticello.

"I took her out and on our third date, we got engaged! We will have been married 52 years this June!"

Pediatric Practice

In 1955, the newly-married couple headed to Detroit, where Dr. Gould had a Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology at Children's Hospital of Michigan.

Coming back east the next year, the Goulds settled in New Brunswick where Dr. Gould opened a pediatric practice and became a respected and successful pediatrician. "50 years ago, my wife and I moved to New Jersey with our young family," says Princeton resident Alvin Gordon. "We asked our new friends and neighbors to recommend a pediatrician. The answer was unanimous: 'Get Ken Gould!'

"Over the years, I've come to respect Ken as a very knowledgeable person who is alert to and concerned about the world around him; an enthusiastic competitor, whether it be across the backgammon board, the tennis court, or the handball court; a gregarious individual with a positive outlook. He is a good friend."

Despite his enjoyment of working with children, in time, Dr. Gould became restless. "I got tired of prescribing formula and treating kids mostly for colds, etc. It wasn't challenging me," he reports. "At one time, when I was an intern at Bellevue, I had considered becoming a child psychiatrist."

Now it became a reality, and in 1963, it was back to school! This time as a resident in adult psychiatry at Philadelphia General Hospital. "I found it fascinating, and I was determined to become a child psychiatrist."

Commuting from New Brunswick to Philadelphia was another challenge now that daughters Ellen and Georgeanne were in the family, "But my wife Audrey was very supportive."

Sigmund Freud

Moving on to a Fellowship in child psychiatry at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, Dr. Gould grew increasingly interested in the workings of the mind. "I also wanted to learn more about myself," he explains. "I began to explore the writings of Sigmund Freud, and then applied to the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis. I was interviewed by three senior psychoanalysts to see if I was a suitable candidate. I passed and was accepted, and had to undergo the psychoanalytic training at the same time I was doing my psychiatric residency."

It was daunting: four years as a psychiatric resident and four times a week for five years for personal analysis at the Philadelphia Association for Psychoanalysis. Five years was a short analysis, he says!

Psychoanalysis emphasizes uncovering repressed areas in the patient's unconscious that may have a detrimental impact on behavior, explains Dr. Gould. By means of free association and dream interpretation, a well-trained analyst can help the patient confront buried experiences and begin to heal.

When in such a vulnerable situation, the patient may become especially attached to the therapist. "In a good therapeutic relationship, the psychiatrist is careful not to allow it to develop into a dependent relationship," says Dr. Gould. "A good psychiatrist should be well-trained, and relate well to people."

As his friend, retired Princeton physician Dr. William Haynes, notes, "One of Ken Gould's most important characteristics is his ability to listen. It's so important for all who practice medicine."

In 1967, Dr. Gould opened a practice, including child and adult psychiatry and psychoanalysis, in Princeton. "My wife and I always liked Princeton, and we decided to move here. We especially appreciated the cultural aspect, the opportunity to attend musical and dramatic performances at McCarter Theatre and events at the University."

Play Therapy

In his practice, Dr. Gould typically saw patients once or twice a week. Children were often referred by pediatricians, and his own experience as a pediatrician was extremely useful in his practice. He saw children as young as three, and at that age, their symptoms frequently resulted from family problems. Sessions included meeting with parents separately as well as private time with the child. Dr. Gould often used play therapy, such as toys and doll houses, to help children feel comfortable.

In the case of adults, he notes that on occasion, patients undergoing psychiatric treatment might move on to psychoanalysis in an attempt to uncover especially deep-seated problems. He believes in "psychodynamically-informed psychotherapy. Psychoanalysis is not as highly regarded as it once was, but the basic tenets of Freud's theories are still important. Drugs are also very important now. They represent the cutting edge in psychiatry. But don't throw out the baby with the bath. Psychotherapy is so necessary. A combination of drugs and psychotherapy is effective."

Passing on what he has learned to others is very important to Dr. Gould, and he continues as professor of clinical psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He has also served as staff psychiatrist at the Princeton Medical Center; psychiatric consultant for the Adolescent Unit at the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital; monthly lecturer at the Carrier Foundation on Infant, Child, and Adolescent Development to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School students; lecturer at the Princeton Adult School; and consultant at the Princeton YWCA, giving a series of seminars on problems of the single mother.

Dr. Gould holds memberships in numerous professional organizations and societies, including the Council of New Jersey Psychiatric Association; New Jersey Psychoanalytic Society (former president); American Psychoanalytic Association; and he was president of the New Jersey Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

He has also served as psychiatric consultant to the New Brunswick public schools; consultant psychiatrist at Douglass College, consultant psychiatrist at Continued from Preceding Page Edison public schools, and is a member of the consultant board, Association for the Mentally Handicapped in Princeton.

The recipient of many awards and honors, Dr. Gould is especially proud of being named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association in recognition of his outstanding service as a psychiatrist and teacher.

"Old Guard"

His writings have also appeared in many professional publications.

Dr. Gould remains very involved in his field. As his friend Dr. Haynes points out, "He just gave a wonderful talk for the 'Old Guard' on what's going on today in the field of psychiatry, and he is still teaching medical students. He and his wife have been very generous in giving their time and talents to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, including the endowment of an annual world class speaker who brings updates in the latest developments in research."

In addition to teaching, Dr. Gould is busy with numerous activities, dinners with friends, and weekly meetings of the "Old Guard."

"This is a group of 150 retired people who meet in Princeton," he explains. "They have very fine minds and achievement in common. Notable individuals from Princeton University, business, and science come to lecture and afterward, there is an excellent question and answer session."

Dr. Gould was a recent "notable" speaker, when he discussed what's ahead for psychiatry. "The beginning of the 20th Century focused on Freud's study of the mind, and it continues to be very important," he explains. "Interestingly, Freud started out as a neurologist; he felt the future of psychiatry, in addition to understanding the mind, was an understanding of the brain.

"Now, in the latter 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st century, with the advances in technology, research into the study of the brain is more and more important. It's a unique combination of the study of the mind and the brain, like a unified field theory. Physical problems of the brain have an impact on the mind and behavior. It has been said that 'the brain is a living organ of the body, expressing itself in the mind.'"

New Yorker

A proponent of the vigorous life in all ways, Dr. Gould remains physically active. Although he has given up handball, squash, and tennis, he continues to work out at the gym four times a week. He enjoys traveling, and he and his wife have been to Greece, France, England, Hungary, and Guatemala, with Italy his favorite overseas destination.

In the U.S., "Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker!" It is a cherished place to visit, and he and his wife have kept a pied a terre in Manhattan. They enjoy theater, concerts, and museums in the Big Apple.

"I love living in Princeton, however," he hastens to add. "We love everything at McCarter from Emily Mann, and Barnes & Noble is my second home! I like non-fiction, literature, history, and politics."

Dr. Gould is very proud of his family, and he is happy that his two married daughters and his four grandchildren live in Princeton, where he can see them often.

"My wife Audrey is a very successful financial advisor, he adds. She established The Gould Group, a financial consulting group, with our daughters. I admire my wife so much, and I look forward to the continuing enrichment of the life of my family. As one gets older, family relationships become more meaningful. I've been a lucky guy."

Helping others to find self-enlightenment through psychiatry and thus to experience a more fulfilling life has been Dr. Gould's mission. As in any endeavor, even the most serious, a sense of humor lightens the journey. He is well-aware of this. Prominently displayed in his study is a bright red woman's high-heeled shoe, entwined with an elaborate crystal necklace.

"I once had a patient who had a shoe fetish," he explains, "and I frequently presented his experience as a case study to my students. As a token of their appreciation, at a Christmas party, the resident students at Robert Wood Johnson gave me this very special shoe. I treasure it!"

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