Leston Havens MD felt grateful to grow up in a family that valued a broad education and sense of community. The Havens family migrated from England and helped settle Shelter Island, New York. His paternal grandparents the Murphys, left Ireland for a better life to become schoolteachers in the U.S. only to encounter Boston hostility towards the Irish. In New Jersey, they were welcomed. The joining of the Havens and Murphy families produced not only more personal growth from their very early struggles but an appreciation for the academic well roundness available to them. (1978 Personal recollection Edith Havens Goodrich). As the short quotes (1996) below illustrate, Havens was exposed to a rich classical and cultural education that fed his thinking about how best to understand and help in a multitude of human conditions
Once Havens had decided upon psychiatry as a career better suited to his goals than that of law, he then studied, wrote and lectured in an attempt to fully understand, distill and compare the contributions made by the researchers and physicians such as Pierre Janet, Jean Charcot, Emil Kraepelin, Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Elvin Semrad, Harry Stack Sullivan and Paul Roazen, In the links below we have included a selection of published journal articles by Havens discussing the contributions to the field of psychiatric thought and patient care of the above-mentioned theorists . While Elvin Semrad MD was an important influence on Havens for sixteen years, Havens didn’t write an entire article about him but often referred to his approaches within articles or other media. We are pleased to be able to make the following Semrad media available for the first time on the Web: a 1962 converted reel to reel audio tape with Dana Farnsworth MD, Havens, Francis D’Eseaux MD interviewing Semrad on Teaching Residents at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, a Havens Memorial speech about Semrad and Boston Psychiatry , and The Complete 1984 Cambridge Hospital Department of Continuing Education/Harvard Semrad Conference converted cassette audio tapes honoring Semrad’s impact on clinicians. The course directors were Douglas Jacobs MD and Susan Miller-Havens RN. The speakers were George Vaillant MD, Gerald Adler MD, Max Day MD, Terrance Maltsberger MD, Donald Gair MD, Harold Searles MD, Alan Siegel EdD, and Leston Havens MD.