Sullivan, Harry Stack


Sullivan, Harry Stack
born Feb. 21, 1892, Norwich, N.Y., U.S.
died Jan. 14, 1949, Paris, France

U.S. psychiatrist.

He engaged in clinical research at the Pratt Hospital in Maryland (1923–30), pursuing his interest in the use of psychotherapy to treat schizophrenia, which he viewed as stemming from disturbed interpersonal relationships in early childhood. He asserted that psychiatric symptoms arise out of conflicts between the individual and his human environment and that personality development likewise stems from a series of interactions with other people. He helped establish the William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation (1933) and the Washington School of Psychiatry (1936), and he also founded (1938) and served as editor of the journal Psychiatry. His works include The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (1953) and The Fusion of Psychiatry and Social Science (1964).

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▪ American psychiatrist
born Feb. 21, 1892, Norwich, N.Y., U.S.
died Jan. 14, 1949, Paris

      U.S. psychiatrist who developed a theory of psychiatry based on interpersonal relationships. He believed that anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms arise in fundamental conflicts between the individual and his human environment and that personality development also takes place by a series of interactions with other people. He made substantial contributions to clinical psychiatry, especially the psychotherapy of schizophrenia, and suggested that the mental functions of schizophrenics, though impaired, are not damaged past repair and can be recovered through therapy. Possessing an extraordinary ability to communicate with schizophrenic patients, he described their behaviour with clarity and insight unrivalled at that time.

      Sullivan received his M.D. from the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery in 1917. At St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., he came under the influence of the psychiatrist William Alanson White, who extended the principles of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis to the severely ill, hospitalized psychotic, rather than restricting them to the more functional neurotics treated by most Freudian analysts of the time. In his interviews with schizophrenic patients, Sullivan's uncommon ability in psychoanalysis first became evident.

      While engaged in clinical research at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, Towson, Md. (1923–30), Sullivan became acquainted with the psychiatrist Adolf Meyer (Meyer, Adolf), whose practical psychotherapy emphasized psychological and social factors, rather than neuropathology, as the basis for psychiatric disorders. As research director at Pratt from 1925 to 1930, Sullivan showed that it is possible to understand schizophrenics, no matter how bizarre their behaviour, with sufficient contact. He interpreted schizophrenia as the result of disturbed interpersonal relationships in early childhood; by appropriate psychotherapy, Sullivan believed, these sources of behavioral disturbance could be identified and eliminated. Developing his ideas further, he applied them to the organization of a special ward for the group treatment of male schizophrenics (1929). During the same period, he first introduced his concepts into graduate psychiatric training through lectures at Yale University and elsewhere.

      After 1930 Sullivan devoted himself chiefly to teaching and elaborating his ideas, working with social scientists such as the anthropologist Edward Sapir. He extended his early concept of schizophrenia to a theory of personality, arguing that both normal and abnormal personalities represent enduring patterns of interpersonal relationships, thus giving the environment, in particular the human social environment, the major role in personality development. Sullivan argued that the individual's self-identity is built up over the years through his perceptions of how significant people in his environment regard him. Different stages in the course of behavioral development correspond to different ways of interacting with others. To the infant, the most significant person is its mother; anxiety results from disturbances in the maternal relationship. The child then develops a mode of behaviour that tends to lessen this anxiety, establishing the personality characteristics that will prevail in adulthood.

      Sullivan helped to found the William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation in 1933 and the Washington (D.C.) School of Psychiatry in 1936, and after World War II he helped establish the World Federation for Mental Health. He also founded (1938) and served as editor of the journal Psychiatry. During the later years of his life he more fully articulated his ideas in The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (1953), The Fusion of Psychiatry and Social Science (1964), and other works. After his death Sullivan's theory of personality and his psychotherapeutic techniques had a continually growing influence, particularly in American psychoanalytic circles.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sullivan,Harry Stack — Sullivan, Harry Stack. 1892 1949. American psychiatrist who theorized that personality is largely determined by one s interpersonal relations and the assimilation of societal values. * * * …   Universalium

  • Sullivan, Harry Stack —    (1892–1949)    An advocate of psychotherapy for schizophrenic patients and of interpersonal theory, Sullivan was born in Norwich, New York. He earned his M.D. from the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery in 1917, trained in psychoanalysis… …   Historical dictionary of Psychiatry

  • Sullivan, Harry Stack — (21 feb. 1892, Norwich, N.Y., EE.UU.–14 ene. 1949, París, Francia). Psiquiatra estadounidense. Se dedicó a la investigación clínica en el Hospital Pratt, en Maryland (1923–30), siguiendo su interés en el uso de la psicoterapia para tratar la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Салливан Гарри Стэк / Sullivan, Harry Stack — (1892 1949). Салливан был убежден в том, что личность формируется в межличностных отношениях; более того, он считал взаимоотношения между пациентом и терапевтом решающим фактором успешной терапии …   Психологическая энциклопедия

  • Harry Stack Sullivan — (eigentlich Herbert Stack Sullivan; * 21. Februar 1892 in Norwich, New York; † 14. Januar 1949 in Paris, Frankreich) war ein US amerikanischer Psychiater und Vertreter der Neopsychoanalyse. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biografie 2 Interpersonale Theorie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harry Stack Sullivan — (New York 1892 Paris 1949) est un psychiatre et psychanalyste américain. Il est connu pour avoir défini la psychiatrie comme « l étude du comportement interpersonnel ». Biographie Sullivan obtient son doctorat en médecine à Chicago en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Harry Stack Sullivan — Herbert Harry Stack Sullivan (February 21, 1892, Norwich, New York – January 14, 1949, Paris, France) was a U.S. psychiatrist whose work in psychoanalysis was based on direct and verifiable observation (versus the more abstract conceptions of the …   Wikipedia

  • Harry Stack Sullivan — Herbert Harry Stack Sullivan ( 1892 1949) fue un psiquiatra estadounidense cuyo trabajo en psicoanálisis estuvo basado, a diferencia de las observaciones más abstractas del inconciente de Sigmund Freud y sus discípulos, en observaciones directas… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Harry Stack Sullivan — noun United States psychiatrist (1892 1949) • Syn: ↑Sullivan • Instance Hypernyms: ↑psychiatrist, ↑head shrinker, ↑shrink …   Useful english dictionary

  • Stack Harry Sullivan — Harry Stack Sullivan (* 21. Februar 1892 in Norwich, New York; † 14. Januar 1949 in Paris, Frankreich) war ein US amerikanischer Psychiater und Vertreter der Neopsychoanalyse. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Biografie 2 Interpersonale Theorie …   Deutsch Wikipedia