Ever since high school in Vienna, Austria, from age 16 on, I have written creatively and maintained a journal. I find that writing for me is as necessary as food and sleep. I write poetry, short stories, novels and books on psychiatric topics that are informed by the research and science I have learned and practiced over the years, but approach the problems from a literary perspective. My going Emeritus at Stanford has allowed me to re-kindle this aspect of my life and dedicate significant portions of time to this pursuit.
As I grew up speaking German, I faced a complex decision, having lived in the US for the past several decades: which language to write in? I currently find that prose is easy in both languages, but I slightly prefer English. In poetry, German gives me greater facility of formal expression (such as rhyming), but free form poetry is possible in both languages.
I find that my writing and my psychiatric practice mesh beautifully: as I help patients develop and reshape the narrative of their lives, I employ similar skills when I write about fictional and non-fictional characters. My practice and my creative writing stand in a constant, refreshing dialectic which invigorates both.
All along, I have received encouraging feedback and support from many individuals to whom I am grateful: Hermann Mayr, Karl Vatzek and Norbert Nolz, to name the earliest ones. The members of the Pegasus group, especially Irvin Yalom have been persistent in their constructive feedback and criticism. And some students in my classes have been instrumental in helping me re-develop this side of myself: GG, CvL, JS, LVF, LM, PG, VGAF to mention a few.
Consultation to Authors
Dr. Steiner has worked with professional writers on character structure and development in plays, novels, short stories and non-fiction writing. He provides regular consultation to writers who seek to enrich their writing by adding the insights of modern psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience.