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Emde, R. (2017). Remembering Daniel Stern (1934–2012): A Legacy for 21st Century Psychoanalytic Thinking and Practice. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(4):216-219.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(4):216-219


Remembering Daniel Stern (1934–2012): A Legacy for 21st Century Psychoanalytic Thinking and Practice

Robert N. Emde, M.D.

The editors of this issue have invited me to highlight in this obituary the contributions of Dan Stern to psychoanalysis. As a longtime friend and colleague who worked with him in many settings, sharing interests in early development, clinical work, and the wonders of art and life—I am pleased to do so. Dan wrote books that were widely read and translated into multiple languages. His easy-flowing writing, like his speaking style, almost poetic at times in his use of metaphor and intuition, as well as his gentle way of engaging his audience to join him in exploring a widening world, was wonderful. He was an integrator who took new findings and visions from science and added his own insights gleaned from observations, experiments, clinical encounters, as well as his creative imagination. As Robert Michels put it, in his moving memorial given at Rockefeller University in New York on December 6,

Dan built bridges, and was extraordinarily skillful at moving back and forth across them and leading others to follow him. Bridges between research and practice, between developmental psychology and dynamic psychotherapy, between infant observation and clinical reconstruction, between the interpersonal and the intrapsychic, between science and art, between explanation and understanding.

A bit of biography: Born and raised in New York, he attended Harvard University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received some training in internal medicine at Belleview Hospital, following which he spent two years at the National Heart Institute doing research, then completed his psychiatry residency and his psychoanalytic training at Columbia University.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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