Dr. Richard J. Eichler has a long affiliation with Columbia, having earned his BA, MS, MPhil, and PhD at Columbia. He joined what was then the Columbia College Counseling Service in 1986 as a staff psychologist. Since 1992, Richard served as director and subsequently executive director of the Counseling and Psychological Services division of Columbia Health.
While completing his PhD, Richard trained at a Veterans’ Administration clinic and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he completed his internship in clinical psychology. Among other professional activities early in his career, he worked on a research project on sex role socialization in nursery schools and day care centers, reflecting a long-standing interest and commitment to gender equality. Prior to joining the Columbia Health team, he provided psychotherapy to a culturally diverse population at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and concurrently studied the delivery of health care services for disabled and chronically ill children at the Preventive Intervention Research Center for Child Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Richard has taught numerous undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral courses in psychology and psychotherapy, including classes in human development at Columbia College and classes in psychodynamic psychotherapy and developmental psychopathology at Teachers College. He has also taught courses and seminars in adolescent development and college mental health practice at the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program of the William Alanson White Institute.
Dating back to his time at the Veterans Administration, he maintains an ongoing interest in the welfare of military veterans. Other areas of particular professional interest include: psychological opportunities and pitfalls of adolescence and young adulthood; early intervention and prevention strategies; the impact of cultural variables on personal development; evolving relationships through the lifespan; social injustice and trauma; psychological obstacles to academic and career success; and the application of psychoanalytic thinking to brief therapy.
Richard is also especially versed in helping students with learning disabilities navigate university life, and helping young adults and their parents renegotiate their evolving relationships. He is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and community events, addressing various topics such as transitioning to college, the social and emotional concomitants of learning disabilities, improving access to mental health care, and suicide prevention.
Richard has served as a consultant to the College Mental Health section of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, and in collaboration with its membership, co-authored a paper in response to mental health crises on college campuses. He has also served on the Clinical Advisory Board of the Jed Foundation. He is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy.