Dr. Samenow received his B.A. (cum laude) from Yale University in 1963 and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1968. After working as a clinical psychologist on adolescent inpatient psychiatric services in the Ann Arbor (Michigan) area, he joined the Program for the Investigation of Criminal Behavior at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. From 1970 until June, 1978, he was clinical research psychologist for that program. With the late Dr. Samuel Yochelson, he participated in the longest in-depth clinical research-treatment study of offenders that has been conducted in North America. The findings of that study are contained in the three volume publication The Criminal Personality (Lanham, Md.: Roman and Littlefield) that he co-authored with Dr. Yochelson.
In 1978, Dr. Samenow entered the private practice of clinical psychology in Alexandria, Virginia. His specialty has continued to be the evaluation and treatment of juvenile and adult offenders. Dr. Samenow has delivered lectures, training seminars, and workshops in 48 states, Canada, and England. These presentations have been to a variety of professional groups including mental health, law enforcement, corrections, education, social services, and the judiciary. He has served as a consultant and expert witness for a variety of courts and agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dade County (Florida) Public Schools, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the U.S. Office of Probation. In 1980, he was appointed by President Reagan to the Law Enforcement Task Force and in 1982 to the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime. In 1987, President Reagan appointed him as a Conferee to the White House Conference on a Drug-Free America.
Dr. Samenow's book Inside the Criminal Mind (NY: Times Books/ Random House) was originally published in 1984. A revised, updated edition was published in 2004 (NY: Crown Publishing/Random House). In 1999, a Japanese translation was published (Tokyo: Kodansha). In addition, he has authored numerous articles for professional publications and appeared frequently on national radio and television broadcasts, including 60 Minutes, The Phil Donahue Show, Good Morning America, The CBS Morning News, The Today Show and The Larry King Show. Straight Talk About Criminals, was published by Jason Aronson in April of 1998.
In March, 1989, Dr. Samenow's book about prevention of antisocial behavior was published. It is titled Before It's Too Late: Why Some Kids Get Into Trouble and What Parents Can Do About It (NY: Times Books/Random House). The book was revised and expanded in 1999. The book was published in Japan (by Kodansha), in Taiwan (by Life Potential Publishing Co.), and in Poland (Warsaw: Proszynski i S-ka). The paperback edition was published during November of 2001.
Dr. Samenow's book "The Myth of the Out of Character Crime" was published in 2007. A paperback edition was published in 2010.
In 1994, a three-part videotape and workbook featuring Dr. Samenow's work was released ("Commitment to Change: Overcoming Errors in Thinking" distributed by FMS productions, Carpinteria, California). The materials provide an interactive program for use with inmates, students or staff in mental health, corrections, substance abuse programs, and educational settings. Early in 2000, a second series of videotapes and workbooks was released regarding identifying and addressing "tactics" which antisocial juveniles and adults deploy obstructing effective communication. The third series, "The Power of Consequences," was released during late July of 2002. "Fear—The Anger Trigger" is a three part DVD series that was released in 2010.
Dr. Samenow wrote a book based on his experience as an independent custody evaluator published in 2002. It is titled In the Best Interest of the Child: How to Protect Your Child from the Pain of Your Divorce.