Random Sample

  • Member since: 1975. Associate since 1969.

  • Occupation: Rural, private-practice psychologist.

  • A city boy in the country: Luria grew up in New York City, where he also earned a degree at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. In 1986, he moved to a 200-year-old farmhouse in Carlisle, N.Y., population 1,600. The transition to country living wasn’t always easy. Once, Luria found some cows grazing on his front lawn. He herded them home, much to the amusement of his new neighbor. The cows Luria returned weren’t this neighbor’s dairy cows, but someone else’s beef cows.

    “I learned an important lesson about the difference between cows,” he says.

  • The confidence man: Acclimating to rural life took more than cow-identification skills, says Luria. He also had to adapt to different attitudes toward therapy. While urbanites are often happy to discuss therapy with their friends, people in Carlisle generally like to keep their therapy private, he’s found. Luria takes several steps to guarantee confidentiality, such as working with a trusted bank teller who deposits his checks without looking at who wrote them.

  • A long history: Luria has felt destined for a career in psychology since he was 13. His father, a New York City police officer and attorney, earned a master’s in psychology, and his favorite uncle was a psychiatrist. “I also come from a dysfunctional family,” says Luria, “and to some extent I’m still trying to fix it. So, psychology was the natural choice for me.” Luria also helped found the Society for Psychotherapy Research, an international, multidisciplinary association. In 1969, while still a graduate student, he fell one vote short of becoming president.

  • The real deal: In his spare time, Luria rides a black cherry, custom-tuned, 90-horsepower Harley Davidson Road Glide 2005. “I’m a real biker,” says Luria, “definitely not a wannabe.” His credentials include directing a local bike chapter from 2007 to 2010 and taking many long trips, including a 3,000-mile ride from New York to Wisconsin, and then south down the Mississippi to Springfield, Mo.

    “The most peaceful moments in my life are when I’m on my bike in the early morning, riding through a rural area with a view of the rising sun and the smell of farmland and countryside filling my nostrils,” says Luria.

—J. Clark

Each month, “Random Sample” profiles an APA member. You may be next.