In Memoriam: Matthew Orenstein MS ’12, PsyD’15
Matthew Orenstein MS '12, PsyD '15, died Sept. 25, 2021, at age 36 from sarcoma. Orenstein was a resident of Cambridge, Mass. He was awarded a B.A. in psychology in 2008 by Denison University in Granville, Ohio. While studying for his PsyD degree at Pacific, he undertook training in Buddhist psychology informed Gestalt therapy (BTGT) at Portland’s Gestalt Therapy Training Center NW. A trained practitioner of Buddhist mindfulness meditation practices, his dissertation entailed “Examining the Efficacy of a Process versus Outcome-Based Approach to Measuring Mindfulness.” Alone or with friends, Matt would often drive on weekends to the Pacific coast and camp overnight on one of Oregon’s beautiful beaches. He was originally diagnosed with sarcoma just after satisfying the requirements of his doctoral internship in professional psychology at the University of Northern Colorado. Informed by vigorous and extensive research and consultation with experts across numerous disciplines, Matt charted his own plan of traditional and integrative treatments during which he continued fulfilling his licensure requirements and enhancing his clinical techniques by seeking advanced training in meditation, Gestalt Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In 2021, Dr. Orenstein earned his license to practice in Massachusetts while serving as a clinical psychologist and group coordinator in the Counseling Services Department of UMass Lowell. Therapist at heart, Matt authored a blog for his friends about this experience and created a Facebook Group for fellow young adult sarcoma patients. Believing in the contribution of a healthy body to combatting sarcoma, he skied, enjoyed hiking, camping and kayaking and flew trick kites, preferably on a nearby Atlantic Ocean beach. His perseverance, humor (weird karaoke was a favorite), and sense of hope was never extinguished by the cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Kimberly Starbuck, an environmental research scientist and lecturer at UMass Boston; his parents, Barbara Feibelman and Kenneth Orenstein; his sister, Clare (and Jake); and nephews Graham and Liam.