Sheldon Kopp, 70, Psychologist Who Wrote About Self-Esteem

Sheldon Bernard Kopp, a clinical psychologist and author of books designed to bolster the reader’s self-esteem, died on Monday, his 70th birthday, at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. He lived in nearby Silver Spring, Md.

The cause was cardiac arrhythmia and pneumonia, his family said.

Dr. Kopp, who practiced in Washington for 35 years, wrote 17 books. Much of his writing was meant to guide readers in finding importance in their lives.

A book that got much attention was ”If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him,” published in 1972. Like many of the others, it was issued by Science and Behavior Books. In the book, Dr. Kopp analyzed the ways in which people sought to recognize significance and value in themselves, rather than rely on gurus. The book remains available from Bantam’s New Age imprint.

”Back to One: A Practical Guide for Psychotherapists” (1977), ”Even a Stone Can Be a Teacher” (1985) and ”Blues Ain’t Nothing but a Good Soul Feeling Bad: Daily Steps to Spiritual Growth” (1992) are also in print. His other titles include ”The Naked Therapist” (1976) and ”An End to Innocence” (1978).

Dr. Kopp was born in the Bronx and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1951. He received a master’s in 1953 and a doctorate in 1960 from the New School for Social Research, then interned and worked in New Jersey institutions and agencies.

He was a clinical psychologist and acting department head at Trenton State Hospital before going to Washington in 1961. He was the chief clinical psychologist in the District of Columbia Adult Mental Health Clinic before going into private practice.

Dr. Kopp is survived by his wife of 46 years, Marjorie Ice Kopp; three sons, Jonathan, of Novato, Calif., David, of Atlantic City, and Nicholas, of Germantown, Md., and four grandchildren.

Published: April 3, 1999