HAGERSTOWN - It is with heavy heart that we share with you the loss of our father, Nicholas J. Long. Nicholas passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday night, February 26, 2022, at 10:08 p.m. at the age of 92. Dr. Long leaves a legacy of groundbreaking work in the field of children’s mental health, most notably Life Space Crisis Intervention. He has influenced thousands of practitioners the world over and through them touched the lives of millions of children. His mission to help troubled and troubling children will go on through the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute and its senior and master trainers.
Nicholas was born December 5, 1929, to the late William Felix and Anna Ferberdino Long. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Denby High School in 1948. His parents and two sisters, Dorothy and Rose, were supportive family members who encouraged Nicholas’s education. He attended Wayne State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 1952. He went on to earn his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Child Development and Educational Psychology/Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan in 1956. Dr. Long’s post-doctoral training in Child Psychotherapy was at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Washington, D.C. where he served in residence as Chief of Children’s Treatment working with violent youth under the direction of Dr. Fritz Reidl from Austria.
Dr. Long held several positions at Indiana University and became an Associate Professor in 1959. In 1962, he launched his professional career in Washington, D.C. as Director of the Hillcrest Children’s Center for troubled children. A highlight of his career was meeting Dr. Anna Freud when she visited the Hillcrest Children’s Center in the 1960’s. He returned favor with a visit to her clinic on a trip to Europe in the 1970’s. Dr. Long would go on to become an American University professor and the founder and Director of The Rose School. He retired from AU in 1989 and received his Professor Emeritus the following year.
As a Professor of Special Education in the 1970’s and 80’s at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Long designed the first psycho-educational program for children at The Rose School. Building on concepts originated by his mentors, he developed what came to be known as Life Space Crisis Intervention. By the 1990’s, the demand for training was growing, and together with Frank Fecser, Ph.D., Dr. Long founded the Life Space Crisis Institute which certifies senior and master trainers in this intervention across the U.S. and Europe. Today, LSCI can be accessed in the United States, Belgium, Portugal, Romania, Hungary, Germany, France, Norway, The Netherlands as well as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Over his career, Dr. Long contributed to the field by co-authoring several textbooks, manuals, publications, video and TV series and journal articles. Of them, most notable are Conflict in the Classroom (seven editions from 1956 to 2015) and The Conflict Cycle paradigm. Others include Life Space Crisis Intervention teacher training manual and texts, The Angry Smile, Turning Down the Heat and The Therapeutic Power of Kindness. He contributed numerous journal articles for the Journal of Reclaiming Children and Youth. Dr. Long was known for delivering inspiring key-note speeches, for his grant writing triumphs and received many lifetime awards and honors over his 60+ year career, including honors for The Rose School in the Congressional Record within the U.S. House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Family in the 1980’s and the International World of Children Award in 2004. He also was honored to serve the National Geographic Society’s World Magazine for Children from 1972 to 1986 as their child psychological consultant with 900,000 subscribers.
Nicholas loved life and was a doer, optimist, and builder-problem solver. He loved his family deeply, enjoyed many fun get-togethers with friends and was a caring mentor to LSCI trainers and former students. He was a big football fan of the then Washington Redskins and avid tennis player. Nicholas was active in his community, most notably with his beloved Chess and Torch Clubs and men’s breakfast group. He was a lifelong learner, enjoyed the philosophers and was an avid reader. While traveling, Nicholas set up many inclusive and welcoming chess matches in the towns he visited. He was known for his outdoor bonfire Christmas parties with fireworks on some of the coldest days of the year, a Christmas tradition. Nicholas will be greatly missed by all who experienced his kindness, generosity, and joy for living.
Nicholas was preceded in passing by former wife Wilma Shull and Jody Long, Ph.D., his wife of 54 years. He is survived by his dear companion, Irene Little, and his extended family: son Warren and Sheryl Long and their two sons, Keith Ryan; son Jeffrey and Kathy Long and their two children, Kara and Nolan; daughter Jennifer and Brooks Coburn and their daughter, Julia; son Matthew Long and his daughter Taylor and husband, Alex Modica; and daughter, Andrea (“Anji”) Long.
A private family internment will be held for Nicholas at Rest Haven Funeral Home on Saturday, March 12th. His family warmly welcomes your personal stories and memories on this page (rsthvn.com). In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in his memory to go to The Nicholas J. Long LSCI Trainer Scholarship Fund at LSCI, c/o Michelle Deming, CFO, PO Box 2932, Hagerstown, MD 21740.
If interested, also please view Nicholas James Long, Ph.D.’s obituary in the Washington Post, which will be published on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Our father cherished all of his family, personal friends, colleagues, trainers, and former students. This we can forever hold in our hearts. His dying wish was for us to have happiness and fulfillment in our lives.