Schnarch, David, Ph.D.

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

David Schnarch

(1946 - 2020)


A product of the Bronx, David Schnarch spent "free time" of his youth running merchandise from one end of Grand Central Station to another. His family owned two womenswear shops within the 49-acre train terminal servicing New York City.

Considered one of the preeminent authorities in sex therapy internationally, David and his wife, Dr. Ruth Morehouse, relocated to Evergreen from New Orleans in January of 1996. Concerned about raising a young daughter in a city of violence and wanting her to attend public schools, Schnarch and Morehouse decided they needed to “walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”

Advice they were accustomed to giving others – to make choices according to what they really hold dear rather than according to fear – would cause them to close two healthy practices in New Orleans and move halfway across the country without any client referral base.

Schnarch had visited Colorado numerous times as a young man and had dreams of someday finding a way to live and work in Aspen. But it was a herd of elk moving across the backyard of a home he was visiting in the Chief Hosa area that caused him to look seriously at Evergreen instead.

As a result of his landmark book, Constructing the Sexual Crucible: An Integration of Sexual and Marital Therapy, in 1991, Schnarch’s reputation as “a therapist of last resort” began to build, and by 1996 he had developed a clientele willing to fly in from great distances for intensive therapy. Proximity to a major airport, excellence in public schools and a peaceful setting were the most important factors that influenced a move to Evergreen, Colorado.

The weekend they visited Evergreen to look for a home, the headlines in New Orleans were about a shooting of three 12-year-olds, while in Evergreen the lead story was about high school kids eating lunch in the supermarket parking lot and leaving trash behind. The contrast confirmed the decision.

The husband-and-wife team founded the Marriage & Family Health Center in Evergreen – a relatively small boutique clinic – where they are co-directors with a small staff.  “We treat the worst cases,” Schnarch says. “We’ve treated clients of every religion and culture, gay and straight.”

Most of their clientele fly in from all parts of the globe – from as far away as Japan, South America, Europe, the Philippines and Israel – after already having seen multiple therapists in failed attempts to improve their sex lives. They treat many A-list actors and directors as well as high-profile politicians.  Seeing someone walking Main Street who looks like someone famous just might not be a lookalike. Their clients like coming to Evergreen, some commenting that Evergreen is like the Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at Christmastime, says Schnarch. They tell him Evergreen is very down to earth, and he agrees.

“I like the sense of peace in Colorado – the activities, mentality, the ‘live-and-let-live’ attitude,” he says. Although his wife is much more visible in the community, serving on various nonprofit boards and supporting the arts, Schnarch is more visible in the grocery store, barbershop, at Chicago Hot Dogs, and Baskin Robbins. Despite traveling to exotic places all over the world, Schnarch is pleased to say, "I've never found a place I'd want to live more than Evergreen."

Half of the year Schnarch travels abroad, giving presentations to other therapists as well as to couples, thus far in 27 different countries and on nearly every continent. “Couples are the same all over the world. Once married, they all look American,” he says, with the exception of polygamy.

“Their problems are universal,” he points out, “including for same-sex couples – even in the most sexually liberal countries – Finland, Sweden and Norway.” He’s drawn this conclusion from reading the case studies therapists must write prior to participating in his workshops.

Schnarch is the founder of Crucible® Therapy, regarded by many as the most sophisticated integration of sex, intimacy, spirituality, personal development, and marital therapy developed to date. He is the Director of the Crucible® Institute. His other books include: Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Emotionally Committed Relationships; Resurrecting Sex: Resolving Sexual Problems and Rejuvenating Your Relationship, and Intimacy and Desire.

He was the first recipient of the Professional Standard of Excellence Award in 1997 by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). In 2011 he was recognized by AAMFT with the Outstanding Contribution to Marriage and Family award. Schnarch has been featured in television, radio, and print media around the globe. He’s been the subject of a one-hour feature on national, prime-time TV: NBC’s Dateline, which was filmed over a week’s time in Evergreen in 2006.

In 2013 he was selected to receive the American Psychological Association (APA) Award for Distinguished Professional Contribution to Independent Practice for his full body of work as a clinical psychologist over the last 20 years and founder of Crucible® Therapy.

He’s also been featured in Town and Country Magazine and CNBC-TV Real Personal and has appeared on Today, and Good Morning America, and in USA Today, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Family Therapy Networker, Psychology Today, Self, Shape, and Mirabella. His work has been cited in Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, McCall's, Glamour, Redbook, and other magazines.

In 2012 he became Board Certified in Couples and Family Therapy, the highest achievement in the field, putting him in a very small category recognized by the American Board of Professional Psychologists. The competency-based designation makes him 1 of about 200 in the United States to hold that distinction.

Schnarch and Morehouse live in Evergreen Meadows.

Source:  Interview with David Schnarch