KUMC's Bruce Liese is Kansas City's radio therapist

April 12, 2011

By C.J. Janovy

Bruce S. Liese, PhD

Bruce S. Liese, PhD, a psychologist in the Department of Family Medicine, spends twelve to sixteen hours a day, two days a week, seeing patients with distressing mental and emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions, family and marital problems. He's also a professor, so students and residents watch and learn as he treats his patients. And he oversees students getting PhDs in psychology who offer free psychological services through the Family Medicine department.

More and more these days, he's also fielding calls from random Kansas Citians who call into to the "Central Standard" radio talk show, 10-11 a.m. Monday through Thursday on KCUR 89.3 FM.

His most recent string of appearances as a radio psychologist began back in November, when Liese went on the program during Thanksgiving week for a show on "Healthy Relationships for the Holidays."

 Then, this Valentine's Day, he went live to answer the eternal question, "What is Love?"  

The show's producers invited him back on March 15 to wrestle with a potentially more challenging radio topic: "What the Heck is Anger?"

Liese remembers a woman listener who e-mailed the question, "How could I not be angry after finding out my fiance was messing around with another woman?"

Anyone would be angry, Liese responded. But what he also offered was perspective.

"I thought it would have been obvious to anyone listening that she was lucky to find out before she married him!" Liese says. What made for great radio was the irony of the situation. "She got the best deal of all," Liese says. "She got divorced from a bad situation before she was even married! Not many get that chance."

The next topics on the Central Standard schedule are "Self Discpline" on April 18, and "Forgiveness" on May 23.

"I like public health, and I see this as public health service," says Liese. "I've been here teaching psychology at KUMC for 28 years, so it comes naturally. I've always done lots of volunteer stuff through the medical center - the medical center's taught me so much. I'm just passing it on to the community."

Liese cautions that there's a big difference between seeing patients in his clinic at the medical center and talking with strangers on the radio. "When I am with my patients I know who I am talking to. When I'm on the radio I have absolutely no way of knowing who I'm talking to, so I want to be more thoughtful and mindful about the whole range of possibilities," he notes. "I really do want to make sure that anything I say has the greatest potential for benefitting the whole community."

His work in the Department of Family Medicine and his current radio gig aren't the only ways in which Liese serves the community. He's been president of the Lecompton city council, and is a planning commissioner for Lawrence and Douglas County.

And, in what is perhaps testimony to the importance of living a balanced life, Liese is also a Coast Guard-licensed Merchant Mariner who owns a sailboat store, Kansas City Sailing, in Lawrence.

He writes a blog on the store's website, where he recently posted a photo of sunset over Clinton Lake. The headline: "Sail in Paradise!"

All of which leads to a logical question: Who wouldn't want to take mental health advice from Dr. Liese? 

Last modified: May 25, 2011