WILLIAMSTOWN --- Richard Q. Ford, 83, of 380 Syndicate Road, died at home on April 24, 2019. For over forty years he was a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in Berkshire County.
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Born in Leonia, New Jersey on March 22, 1936, he was the fourth of five children of Lloyd Stanley and Agnes Steenland Ford. Privileged to receive a full scholarship, he attended Groton School, a New England prep school located in Groton, Massachusetts, a five-year experience that transformed his life. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University, received a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He then completed a four-year post-doctoral program at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA, a small, nationally reputed institution devoted to the psychoanalytically oriented treatment of very disturbed young adults. He continued there on the medical staff for another seven years.
In 1982 he opened a private practice of psychotherapy in Williamstown, with patients from the area and from southern Vermont. He retired in 2014. During that period he consulted regularly at the Riggs Center and in 1992 became the head of its psychodiagnostic testing program. In that role he trained perhaps forty post-doctoral fellows in the art of discerning both the nature of complex internal distress and the evidence for change during treatment. The work involved especially the skilled use of the Rorschach Ink Blot Test.
He headed up a twelve year research project at Riggs led by Professor Sidney Blatt at Yale, marshaling twelve researchers from both institutions to study change during intensive psychotherapy. The result was Blatt, Sidney J., Richard Q. Ford et al. Therapeutic Change. An Object Relations Perspective. New York: Plenum Press, 1994.
Ford’s passion in the latter half of his life was applying his training to the intensive, sustained study of the brief, enigmatic stories told by Jesus of Nazareth called parables. In the field of New Testament studies, these stories constitute perhaps the most reliable source available for understanding the religious imagination of this Jewish prophet and wisdom teacher who so influenced the entire Western world. Ford published two books on these parables, the first exploring the art of listening and the second relating these stories to aspects of modern political and social malaise. At the time of his death, he was working on a third book bringing these parables to bear upon the widespread denial of modern climate breakdown.
His wife of 52 years, the former Virginia Joyce Kearns-Preston, survives him. He leaves two children, Karen Landis Ford of Concord, MA, and John Stanley Ford of Allentown, PA., a sister, Ruth E. LaFrance of Denver, CO, son-in-law Cal Hitzrot, daughter-in-law, Janet Hall Ford, and four grandchildren, Alden Ford, David Hitzrot, Jaylyn Ford, and Benjamin Hitzrot.
FUNERAL NOTICE --- A memorial service for Richard Q. Ford who died on April 24, 2019 will be held on July 6, 2019 at 2:00 at the First Congregational Church, 906 Main Street (Route 2), Williamstown, MA. A reception will follow in the church’s Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Austen Riggs Center, 25 Main Street, Stockbridge MA 01262.