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Bever, C.T. (1993). Collaboration and Conflict: Ernest E. Hadley and Harry Stack Sullivan, 1930-1945. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 21(3):387-404.

(1993). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 21(3):387-404

Collaboration and Conflict: Ernest E. Hadley and Harry Stack Sullivan, 1930-1945

C. T. Bever, M.D.*

Psychoanalysis developed in Washington only slightly behind New York, but in a strikingly distinct fashion. Hospital based, the application of the new approach to mental disorders shifted the emphasis to the psychoses away from the conditions seen in private practice. Predominantly native-born psychiatrists Americanized the Freudian import. Although inspired by the new approach, the particular details of metapsychological theory were accepted more critically than in immigration-oriented Manhattan.

Within this local context, Ernest E. Hadley (1894-1954) and Harry Stack Sullivan (1892-1949) formed a remarkably productive partnership. Sullivan, the “agitator,” was “the idea man” (IBB); Hadley, the “administrator,” was the industrious workhorse. Their dissimilar personalities and styles were complementary, but the intrinsic incompatibilities inevitably strained their relationship ultimately to the breaking point.

Both were alive and active in 1947, when the reputations of St. Elizabeths Hospital and of Sullivan had attracted me to Washington. Hadley introduced me to the Washington School of Psychiatry and the Washington-Baltimore Psychoanalytic Institute, which at that time were joint. His warm but reserved friendliness eased the admission procedure. Later Hadley supervised me on the case that provided the basis for my graduation. Working with him was easy, pleasant, and productive.

Sullivan lectured regularly to impressively large audiences. These lectures were recorded and formed the basis for some of his posthumously published books.

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