Daniel Harold Casriel, M.D. (1924-1983) was an American psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and writer. He was a past president of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians and founded the Daytop treatment centers.
After graduation from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine at age twenty-five, Casriel began his residency at the Kingsbridge Veterans’ Administration Hospital. Less than a year into his residency, he was drafted and sent to Okinawa where he served as an psychiatrist and captain in the Army Medical Corps during the Korean War.
Together with Roman Catholic priest Monsignor William O’Brien, Joseph Shelly and social worker Alexander Bassin, Casriel co-founded Daytop Village, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Staten Island that treated over 200,000 people with a success rate of 80%. Casriel and his three partners started the project in 1963 after being inspired by Synanon, a therapeutic community in California. The Daytop model set the standard for future treatment centers around the world.
Casriel was the author of ”A Scream Away from Happiness,” ”Daytop: Three Addicts and Their Cure” and ”So Fair A House: The Story of Synanon.”
Beyond shaping the field of addictions treatment, psychotherapy and birthing the practice of bonding psychotherapy, Casriel influenced the launch of relationship education. His intensive couples workshops for Lori Heyman Gordon’s Family Relations Institute in Northern Virginia provided the framework for what emerged into the range of PAIRS’ relationship education seminars and trainings that continue to touch lives throughout the world.
Casriel popularized the theory that the “emotion of love” comes from the anticipation of pleasure.
Based on Casriel’s theory, “bonding,” which he defined as “the unique combination of emotional openness and physical closeness with another human being,” skills to help people more consistently fulfill bonding needs became a key goal of PAIRS classes and training. Casriel taught that symptoms of bonding deprivation include: “illness, fatigue, depression, rigidity, constriction, isolation, and the range of anti-social behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, gambling and sex addictions.” Casriel considered bonding a biologically-based need similar to the need for food, water, air, and shelter, yet unique as the only biological need people cannot meet for themselves.
Dan Casriel died on June 7, 1983 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at his home in Manhattan. He was 59 years old.
Articles on danielcasriel.com are based on trainings Dr. Casriel facilitated for the launch of PAIRS programs for the public and professionals, personal notes, and conversations with the editor.