My story about bees started (and I did not know this at the time) as a teenager. With my siblings I spent the two months of the summer in the Swiss Alps, where the family had rented a chalet. During the war, most men where mobilized and we took to helping the peasants in their chores. This is how I befriended an elderly beekeeper. At that time bees did not interest me, just the relation to the old man did.
Many years later, living then in the suburbs of NYC, and practicing as a psychiatrist, I was looking for a model to represent psychotherapy. This model had to entailed a relationship between two parties extending over some time, and benefitting both. One party (the therapist) worked for the other, but could only know very little about this other. If, during the time they worked together they indeed were quite closely linked, ultimately their individual fates were completely independent from each other. The relationship – the foundation upon which the work to be done relies – was destined to change into an identification.
I stumbled by accident (so I believed then) onto the situation of a beekeeper and his bees. And indeed this model, that working with bees implies a relationship, became central to my thinking. That is when I started beekeeping with two hives, which later expanded to as many as twenty. And now, living in Maine, I continue with nine hives.
When I met Charles Mraz, an elderly beekeeper, some 25 years ago, I quite naturally took to learning about Apitherapy.
At that time, the old Apiotherapy Society, moribund, had received a new life and a new name from the capable hands of Brad Weeks, its President, who invited me to take the Vice-Presidency. Upon his leaving New England for the west coast, in 1995, I assumed the Presidency, which I held for the next ten years.
During these years, AAS developed a strong teaching curriculum, with courses given once or twice a year culminating with a test that both measured and reinforced the knowledge acquired during the classes. I assumed the responsibility of the academic curriculum and of the structure of the tests. AAS also created an informational Network: a list of persons throughout the Country and with some representation outside, ready to assist people in their quest for access to Apitherapy.
Also then, I got to know and work with, Apimondia, the International Association of Beekeeping Organizations and became the President of its Apitherapy Commission, which I still hold.
I also became strongly involved in a Belgian company, Api-Ar International, that specializes in the creation and manufacture of Health related Bee Products with Aromatic oils.
All these activities afforded me the opportunity to travel to the five continents, each time giving a chance to learn, as well as to teach. I owe the development of my thinking and my experience about Apitherapy to the people I treated or consulted with, as well as to these three organizations, and became convinced that Apitherapy, even more so than Apiculture, takes place in a relationship.
In early 2008, I assumed the Vice-Presidency of AAS.