Remembering Arthur Bindman (1925-2012)
By Thomas K. Fagan, PhD, and Isaac Woods
Mental health consultation has become a major area in school psychology and most books on the subject acknowledge the seminal work of Gerald Caplan whose contributions began well before his widely cited book on the topic (Caplan, 1970). Caplan's work is often cited in school psychology consultation texts (e.g., Meyers, Parsons, & Martin, 1979, Mental Health Consultation in the Schools). The contributions of Arthur Bindman are less if at all cited in many of the school psychology consultation books with the exception of Medway's (1981) chapter in Curtis and Zins' The Theory and Practice of School Consultation; a reprint of Medway's 1979 article in the Journal of School Psychology. Caplan's 1970 work cites Bindman's contributions (Bindman 1959, 1964a; Bindman & Klebanoff, 1960). This short tribute is simply to acknowledge the contributions of Arthur Bindman and to suggest some sources for further research that can enrich the history of school-based mental health and consultation services.
The following biographical information was obtained from American Men and Women of Science (1973), Kinsman (1974), Who's Who in the East (1977), and early APA membership directories. Arthur Joseph Bindman was born December 11, 1925, in New York City and died June 29, 2012, in Lexington, Mass. His parents were Samuel Sidney (a shoe sample maker) and Emma (Silbert) Bindman. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to1946, he earned his AB degree (cum laude) in 1948 from Harvard University, his MA in 1949 and his PhD in clinical psychology in 1955 from Boston University. He also completed a master's degree in public health from Harvard in 1957. He was married to Bernice Levenson for 61 years since 1950, and they had three children. Dr. Bindman held several positions for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health in the Boston region including psychologist, mental health coordinator, director of psychological services, assistant to the commissioner, regional mental retardation administrator, regional mental health administrator and regional services administrator. He served with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for 25 years and was a member of the first board of registration in psychology in that state and chaired the Registration Board in 1974-1975. He also lectured at Boston, Clark, and Tufts universities and consulted to numerous community, state and regional agencies connected to mental health and education. According to his obituary (2012), “One of his proudest professional achievements was leading the effort to deinstitutionalize patients from the state hospital in the Boston area, helping them reintegrate into society.”
He authored early articles on school psychology (Bindman, 1963-1964) and mental health consultation, including editing a special journal issue on mental health (“Roles and Functions in School Mental Health,” Journal of Education , 1964, Vol. 146, pp. 3-60, which includes a bibliography on school psychology and consultation that lists his early works and those of Caplan). In that special issue, several still meaningful questions are raised about the lines of service demarcation between education and mental health in school settings versus community settings. Bindman's article (1964b) reviews the then current thinking about the roles and functions of school psychologists, including mental health consultation and research, and provides brief examples from school practice. Other articles focus on the school counselor, guidance consultants, school social workers, the school psychiatrist and the mental health consultant. The readings are a synopsis of early thinking about school-based mental health services and programs. He was among the 39 participants at the June 1964 Conference on “New Directions in School Psychology” sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (see proceedings published in the Journal of School Psychology , 3 , 1964-1965).
Bindman's other writings focused on non-school settings and professional issues. His article on insurance coverage for psychological services (Bindman, 1966a) is an interesting perspective on what would evolve in the future. His “Problems Associated with Community Mental Health Programs” (Bindman, 1966b) takes a community psychology approach during the time when community mental health centers were being established across the country. Several other publications are mentioned in Kinsman (1974).
Bindman was a certified psychologist and school psychologist in Massachusetts, a diplomate in clinical psychology since 1960, an a ssociate member of APA in 1952, a full member since 1958, and a fellow at various points in his career of several APA divisions (12, 13, 16, 18, 27) and of the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He also presided over the Massachusetts Society of State Psychologists (1957-1958). He received a Public Service Award from the Massachusetts Psychological Association (1966), grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, and an NDEA Fellowship. He is certainly not as widely known as Gerald Caplan, but Arthur Bindman was a significant early contributor to the knowledge base of mental health consultation and its importance to school settings.
American Men and Women of Science, Volume 1. (1973). New York: Jacques Cattell Press/R. R. Bowlker Co.
Bindman, A.J. (1959). Mental health consultation: Theory and practice. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 23, 473-482.
Bindman, A.J. (1963-1964). University training of school psychologists and certification standards. Journal of School Psychology, 2(1), 43-48.
Bindman, A.J. (1964a, July-August). The psychologist as a mental health consultant. Journal of Psychiatric Nursing.
Bindman, A.J. (1964b). The school psychologist and mental health. Journal of Education, 146, 5-10.
Bindman, A.J. (1966a). Psychiatric insurance and the clinical psychologist. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 36(4), 743-746.
Bindman, A. (1966b). Problems associated with community mental health programs. Community Mental Health Journal, 2(4), 333-338.
Bindman, A.J., & Klebanoff, L.H. (1960). Administrative problems in establishing a community mental health program. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 30, 696-711.
Caplan, G. (1970). The theory and practice of mental health consultation. New York: Basic Books.
Kinsman, C.D. (1974). Contemporary authors (Volume 45-48). Detroit: Gale Reference Co.
Medway, F.J. (1981). How effective is school consultation?: A review of recent research. In M.J. Curtis & J.E. Zins (Eds.), The theory and practice of school consultation (pp. 269-277). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Meyers, J., Parsons, R.D., & Martin, R. (1979). Mental health consultation in the schools . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Obituary. (2012). Retrieved from: http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Arthur-Bindman&lc=7323&pid=158279888&mid=5155083
Who's Who in the East, Volume 6. (1977). Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, Inc.