Lawrence Earle Moore
Lawrence Earle Moore, Ph.D., April 1935-April 2013

Dr. Lawrence Moore died peacefully at home in Sonoma County, California from complications of heart failure at the age of 78. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Birgit Rohde-Moore, and by his daughter, Karin Moore of Berkeley, whom he raised from age four as a single father.

Dr. Moore was born in the San Francisco Bay Area where he resided for most of his life. He also lived periodically in Stockholm, Sweden as well as in Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany, where he was licensed to practice psychology.

Dr. Moore received two bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Liberal Arts at the University of California at Berkeley. He studied briefly at Purdue University in Indiana, then earned a master’s degree in Psychology at Stanford University. He later earned a doctorate in Psychology at the University of Oregon. He also received certificates for advanced education in Germany.

Dr. Moore practiced Clinical Psychology privately in Berkeley and Oakland for many years. He was an expert in the application of clinical hypnosis, and was active for two decades in the San Francisco Academy of Hypnosis. Later in his career he specialized in the psychological treatment of pain, burns, and chronic hand injuries. During this time, he practiced psychotherapy and behavioral medicine at Alta Bates Burn Center in Berkeley, St. Francis Memorial Hospital Burn Unit in San Francisco, and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland.

Dr. Moore’s tenure at the University of California’s Cowell Hospital was noteworthy. While serving as a Staff Psychologist in 1969 he treated a graduate student who eventually murdered Tatiana Tarasoff. When Dr. Moore realized that his patient was dangerous, he took decisive steps to alert appropriate authorities and hand-carried a letter to campus security urging them to take action to prevent any harm that his patient might attempt to carry out. He recommended that his patient be involuntarily committed. The tragic murder resulted in a landmark legal finding that extended the options and responsibilities of psychotherapists in such confidential clinical situations. Prior to this controversial case, psychotherapists had formal duties to patients but not to third parties. All therapists now memorize the duty to warn and take action to protect potential targets of danger, known as the “Tarasoff Duty.”

Throughout his long and distinguished career he belonged to many professional organizations dedicated to the advancement of his profession as well as civic organizations such as MENSA.

He was a brilliant, unique, and larger-than-life man; irreverent and wickedly funny, witty, opinionated, caring, and kind-hearted. He was an irrepressible spirit; a delightful, unusual, and unforgettable character with strong values. At the same time, he was a very sensitive man with a great capacity for empathy and insight into others. He will be dearly missed.

Readers are invited to sign the online Guest Book for Dr. Lawrence Earle Moore. And feel free to share your messages of condolence and/or memories of Dr. Moore in the comments.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...