Amini, Fari(borz) 1930-2004

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AMINI, Fari(borz) 1930-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born July 23, 1930, in Tehran, Iran; died of complications following a heart attack June 13, 2004, in Greenbrae, CA. Psychiatrist, educator, and author. Amini was the founder of the Amini Foundation for the Study of Affect, and was well known for his research on how memories from childhood relating to emotion become embedded into the psyche and later govern our relationship behaviors. Born in Iran, Amini was a bright student who taught himself English and then immigrated to the United States in 1949, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1963. He earned a degree in mathematics, summa cum laude, from the University of California at Berkeley in 1953, and followed this with a medical degree in psychiatry from the University of California at San Francisco in 1957. After completing a residency at the University of Michigan's Neuropsychiatric Institute, and working as a fellow in child psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1962 to 1963, he returned to San Francisco for training at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute from 1964 to 1971. Having joined the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCSF in 1963, he became a faculty member in 1973, directed the youth service department of psychiatry from 1970 to 1977, and was director of clinical services beginning in 1981. Amini also served as director of residency training from 1976 to 1981 and of the outpatient department beginning in 1977. He was made a full professor of psychiatry at UCSF in 1983, later retiring as professor emeritus. During his time at UCSF, Amini developed a theory based on the fact that the brain is comprised of three basic regions: one controlling basic bodily functions, one controlling reason, and one controlling emotions. He believed that emotions are a type of language that is just as powerful as the spoken word, and that people learn their emotional vocabularies as children from their relationships with adults. When people learn an inadequate or inappropriate emotional vocabulary, they can have difficulty dealing with relationships, stress, and other issues as adults. To treat such patients, Amini believed the psychotherapist needs to have a more active dialogue with patients and help them learn, through repetitive, positive emotional feedback, a new affective vocabulary. His theories are expressed in the book A General Theory of Love (2000), which he wrote with fellow psychiatrists Thomas Lewis and Richard Lannon. The Amini Foundation, which he founded, was also established to further research in the area of emotional learning.



Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2004, p. B13.

New York Times, June 28, 2004, p. A17.

San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 2004, p. B7.