Biography and obituary for Stanton Samenow

Stanton E. Samenow, a forensic criminal psychologist, studied criminal behavior and served as an expert witness on many high-profile murder cases including the D.C.-sniper case involving Lee Boyd Malvo.

Dr. Samenow attended the D.C. public schools and is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School (now Jackson-Reed). He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan. After working as a clinical psychologist on the adolescent inpatient psychiatric services in Ann Arbor, he joined the Program for the Investigation of Criminal Behavior at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. From 1970 until 1978, where he was the clinical research psychologist for that program. With the late Dr. Samuel Yochelson, he participated in the longest in-depth clinical research-treatment study of offenders that has been conducted in North America. The findings of that study are contained in the three-volume publication The Criminal Personality that he co-authored with Dr. Yochelson. It was through this study that he and Dr. Yochelson coined the term "errors in thinking" that has shaped cognitive behavioral approaches to criminal reform. In pop culture, their work was featured in the 84th episode of the hit HBO series The Sopranos and served as the catalyst for ending the series.

In 1978, Dr. Samenow entered the private practice of clinical psychology in Alexandria, Va. His specialty was the evaluation and treatment of juvenile and adult offenders. He delivered lectures, training seminars and workshops in 48 states, Canada, and England. These presentations were to a variety of professional groups including mental health, law enforcement, corrections, education, social services and the judiciary. He served as a consultant and expert witness for a variety of courts and agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Office of Probation. He was appointed by President Reagan to the Law Enforcement Task Force and in 1982 to the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime. In 1987, President Reagan appointed him as a Conferee to the White House Conference on a Drug-Free America.

Dr. Samenow's book Inside the Criminal Mind was originally published in 1984. A revised, updated edition was published in 2004 and again in 2022. It has been published internationally in Brazil, China and Japan. In addition, he authored numerous articles for professional publications and appeared frequently on national radio and television broadcasts, including 60 Minutes, Oprah Winfrey, Good Morning America, The CBS Morning News, The Today Show and The Larry King Show. His book Straight Talk About Criminals, was published in 1998. In March of 1989, Dr. Samenow authored Before It's Too Late: Why Some Kids Get Into Trouble and What Parents Can Do About It, a book about the prevention of antisocial behavior was published. In 1994, a three-part videotape and workbook featuring Dr. Samenow's work was released. The materials provide an interactive program for use with inmates, students or staff in mental health, corrections, substance abuse programs, and educational settings. Early in 2000, a second series of videotapes and workbooks was released regarding identifying and addressing "tactics" which antisocial juveniles and adults deploy obstructing effective communication. The third series, "The Power of Consequences," was released during late July of 2002. "Fear-The Anger Trigger" is a three-part DVD series that was released in 2010.

Dr. Samenow wrote a book based on his experience as an independent custody evaluator published in 2002. It's titled In the Best Interest of the Child: How to Protect Your Child from the Pain of Your Divorce . In 2007, he published The Myth of the Out of Character Crime.

Outside of work, Dr. Samenow enjoyed swimming in his neighborhood lake, traveling with his wife and family, playing scrabble and collected miniature schnauzer memorabilia from all corners of the globe. He spoke fluent Russian and traveled to Russia on many occasions, once in 1963 by a grant funded (without his knowledge) by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Dr. Samenow continued working until one month before his death.

He died on May 8, 2023 from complications due to leukemia.

Dr. Samenow is survived by his wife of 52 years Dorothy, his two sons Charles Samenow and Jason (Deborah) Samenow both of Washington, D.C., two grandchildren and his miniature schnauzer Lily Mae.

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