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Nahum, J. (2018). Daniel N. Stern, M.D., A Remembrance. Psychoanal. Inq., 38(2):116-119.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 38(2):116-119

A Remembrance

Daniel N. Stern, M.D., A Remembrance

Jeremy Nahum, M.D., for the Boston Change Process Study Group

For the last 18 years of Dan’s life, he was a consummate intellectual force in the Boston Change Process Study Group as we grappled with how developmental research could be used to understand change processes in psychodynamic and other forms of therapy. In his pioneering work synthesizing developmental and psychoanalytic thinking, he blazed a path for us all, and his thinking profoundly affected generations of psychoanalysts and developmental psychologists. Since the early 1970s, Dan made creative and seminal contributions at the interface of psychoanalysis and developmental psychology. By the 1990s, this work was so seminal that it called for basic changes in the older theoretical framework of psychoanalysis. The Change Process Group formed around this need and gathered together a diverse group of psychoanalytic and developmental thinkers with often divergent views about how to pursue such a goal. This endeavor seemed, to some observers, to be a grandiose and impossible task at best, and at worst, possibly a breeding ground for intense intellectual conflict and frustration. It proved to be the adventure of a lifetime.

Dan was intellectually fearless, willing and able to play with ideas openly with us. It was his signature, the signature of a creative person. He was unfazed, unthreatened when his ideas were disputed or scorned, and welcomed reasoned rebuttals. You could say to him, “Dan that doesn’t make any sense for x y z reasons,” and he’d say, “OK, how about a or b instead”—with a mischievous glint in his eye.

[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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