REMEMBERING WILLIAM RICKLES
J. Zeb Little, M.D., Ph.D.
William “Rick” Rickles, M.D. M.S. died peacefully on April 4th, 2016 after a brief illness. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather as well as a loved and respected member of the psychiatric, psychoanalytic and neurophysiology communities.
Rick was born in Marshall, Texas on August 22, 1933. He attended Southern Methodist University for his Bachelor’s degree followed by a Masters degree in Neurophysiology at Baylor Medical School. He completed his degree in medicine at Harvard University Medical School and went on to become a Grass Fellow at Wood’s Hole Marine Biological Institute. He subsequently joined the Air Force as a flight surgeon where he was soon asked to lead the military’s nascent Primate Research Laboratory at New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base. Following his military service, Rick moved to Los Angeles to complete his residency at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, and went on to spend fifteen years as director of their Psychophysiology Research Laboratory. During this time he completed his Psychoanalytic training at the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. After stepping down from his position at UCLA to focus on his private practice, he joined the UCLA psychiatric clinical faculty. In that role he lectured, supervised and taught group process to residents. In 2011 he became a member of the PCFA Executive Board.
Rick was an active researcher, lecturer and clinician who blended elements from his analytic and biological training to create cutting edge treatments that included early use of virtual reality and neurofeedback in the treatment of anxiety disorders, all while maintaining an active analytic practice. He never tired of learning and regularly engaged in new research endeavors, frequently publishing his results. He remained an active member of the psychoanalytic and neurophysiology communities throughout his career with frequent lectures and presentations in both local and national meetings that drew on his broad education and experience.
He embraced his friendships and enjoyed a wide range of interests outside of academics. He was on the ski patrol of Mount Baldy for many years, was an avid tennis player, book club member, and photographer. He played piano and recorder, and loved Renaissance and Baroque music. When he met his wife Patti in the early 1990’s, he joined her in learning to ice skate and soon found a love for ice dancing which they pursued together for many years. Blessed with an activemind and abundant energy, Rick was known for his enthusiastic embrace of new experiences from Gestalt therapy and Tavistock groups during the 60’s to recent ventures into horticulture and flying drones. Many evenings he could be found ferrying family and friends through the Venice Canals in his motorized canoe.
Rick is survived by his wife Patti, daughter Nicolette, sons Ricky and Derek, and grandchildren River and Lukas. He will also be remembered by his many friends, colleagues and patients who benefited from his loving presence in their lives.