Alan Roland was born on June 20, 1930 in Brooklyn, NY. His grandparents were part of the large Eastern European Jewish immigration to America in the 1890s. Alan’s father was an artist recognized in Who’s Who in America and through various art exhibition awards. His paternal grandfather was a star on the Yiddish stage in the 1920s. From the time he was four years old, Alan went for Saturday art and piano lessons. He attended high school at Poly Prep, later going to Wesleyan University. He soon after transferred to Antioch College in 1950, having become interested in Indian philosophy and Asian studies on his own. Many of his co-op work periods at Antioch related to these interests. He then went on to a doctoral clinical psychology program at Adelphi University in 1955, and afterward to the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis for psychoanalytic training. Besides four books he has authored and four more that he edited and contributed to, he has written over fifty articles and book reviews.
In 1964, two years after marrying Joan Gardner, who was then getting a doctorate in Middle Eastern History from Columbia University, they went to India for six weeks. They liked it so much they vowed to return for long-term research, which they did thirteen years and two children later in 1977. Alan was the first American psychoanalyst to work with patients in India, later going to Japan in 1982 to work psychoanalytically there for an inter-Asian comparison. This clinical research resulted in his first book, In Search of Self in India and Japan: Toward a Cross-Cultural Psychology, Princeton University Press. He later periodically returned to both India and Japan, as well as working with Asian Americans in New York City, his writing two more books, Cultural Pluralism and Psychoanalysis: The Asian and North American Experience, Routledge and, more recently, Journeys to Foreign Selves: Asians and Asian Americans in a Global Era, Oxford University Press.
Meanwhile, by 1969 through his own psychoanalysis, Alan’s childhood involvement in art and drama became rekindled. He regularly attended an etching workshop and began writing plays, librettos and drama criticism, some of this later published in his book, Dreams and Drama: Psychoanalytic Criticism, Creativity and the Artist, Sage (UK), Wesleyan University Press (USA). His intaglio prints and watercolors have been given awards, and he exhibits regularly through the American Society for Contemporary Artists, originally, the Brooklyn Society of Artists, to which his father belonged. Alan has had a musical theater play, Flight of the Ibis, set in 10th century Cordoba, performed on November 17, 2011, May 3, 2014 and October 26, 2014; while an earlier opera-oratorio, War of the Sons of Light, was published by Boosey and Hawkes in 2011, along with the music for it by noted Israeli composer Ami Maayani.
Currently, Alan is still practicing as a psychoanalyst, painting and writing.