Sunday, June 27
More CEOs These Days Seek Therapy
Scott Flanders, the chairman and CEO of Columbia House, a New York marketer of
entertainment products, says he's glad he had therapy when he was still in his 30s and
climbing through middle management. At the time, he got along well enough with
superiors and subordinates, but he had intense rivalries with peers. A human-
resources executive at the publishing company where he worked encouraged him to
attend a week-long seminar in human behavior at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan.
Soon after, he began weekly psychotherapy with a Menninger-trained psychiatrist and
stuck to the process for five years. He says therapy helped him realize that much as he
craved success, he also felt unworthy of it. "My therapist once said, 'Scott, you'd be
happier if you lost everything and could start over,' and that's when he got my
As Mr. Flanders talked about his rivalries with his siblings, it became easier for him to
start forming alliances with peers "who really wanted me to succeed," he says, noting
that "I was complicit before in encouraging them to hate me." One of his fiercest former
rivals is now a close friend and golf partner.