Irene Tobis, PhD
psychologist ~ photographer ~ historian
Welcome to my homepage.
Vegetables Forward! food photography.
See other pages on this site for more about these activities and contact info.
See my CVs (psychology & photography) for credentials and experience. These days what I'm up to is:
I currently split my time between the USA and Canada - Austin, Texas, and Ottawa, Ontario.
I am a psychologist with 30+ years of experience in a variety of settings in the US and a strong interest in physical as well as psychological health. I provide cognitive-behavioral treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder and related issues, including perfectionism, procrastination, underachievement, burnout, body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders, hoarding and chronic disorganization.
I work as a consultant and coach on personal and professional productivity and work/life transitions.
I live with my husband, the incomparable Michael Tobis. He is from Montreal; this past year we've been enjoying getting to know Ottawa, Canada's capital. The bike trails up and down the canal and the rivers and every which way in and around town are heavenly – in summer. We haven't yet take up skiing. The visual arts scene is impressive; we've been taking in galleries and museums. We share an interest in tasty, healthy food, and we cook at home quite a lot. We host a Tex-Mex-style Taco Tuesday at least once a month.
I've recently taken up part-time studies at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa.
I'm not very active on social media – yet. I'm absolutely fascinated with the phenomenon of social media, tho, how it is so dramatically changing the ways in which people are relating to and communicating with each other. Over the course of my career as a psychologist I've appreciated for the need for good boundaries, confidentiality and privacy. But sometimes I've felt as I might as well be working for the CIA, with privacy becoming isolation. As a photographer, however, I quite enjoy both online and in-person social exchanges. I've just begun to venture into Instagram & Twitter .
I take photos of vegetables at the farmers' markets in Ottawa and elsewhere. I hope to be selling my photos, as kitchen wall art and greeting cards, at farmers' markets this summer – see Vegetables Forward!
Nostalgia & the Arc of History. I've recently taken on the project of a writing a second edition of a paper I wrote in 1997, for my senior project when I was a history major at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The Emergence of the "Anti-Fraternity": Social Change at Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Gamma Rho Chapter, Northwestern University, 1967-1977 was based on interviews of members of that fraternity through those years of cultural flowering and tumult. There's some interest now, among the "brothers", including me, since I was a participant as well, in reflecting on those years. I'm calling for contributions, whether of old or new words or photos or songs, for an anthology. There's a reunion planned for late April 2019. Please get in touch if you might like to help with the history and/or to attend the reunion.
Memoirs. For most of my life my Buddhist-minded friends were telling me to live in the now. I did live in the now – but more often in the near future. Work to be done. Problems to be solved. Business to be attended to. I've seen people take the time, tho, in psychotherapy, to reflect, to put things in perspective, and that seems to be worth doing. I now have a couple of good friends who are personal historians. Encouraged by my friend who said it's best to start now and not wait until you're 90, I'm starting with an hour each week for memoir writing. That will have to do, for now.
Memoirs used to be written things. But my life began sometime after cameras were in the hands of ordinary people. My memories crystalized around photographs my mother took.
That's one of my favorite old photos, of me with my mother, Julia Nowodworska (1923-2016). She gave me the world. She handed her camera to someone – probably my brother – that day on the mountaintop. Colorado or New Mexico. I don't actually remember that day, but I remember her and many days like that.