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Nahum, J.P. (2019). Prologue: In Honor of Louis Sander’s Contributions to Psychoanalytic Theory, Practice, and Research. Psychoanal. Inq., 39(1):1-2.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 39(1):1-2


Prologue: In Honor of Louis Sander’s Contributions to Psychoanalytic Theory, Practice, and Research

Jeremy P. Nahum, M.D.


Louis Sander. Photograph by Allen Palmer.

Psychoanalysis has evolved, expanded, and grown tremendously in the last 50 years, in no small measure due to the contributions of developmental studies carried out by psychoanalysts, first and foremost of whom has been Louis Sander. On his shoulders have stood many of the foremost thinkers in development and psychoanalysis.

This issue continues to explore his contributions and their influence on subsequent clinicians, theorists, and researchers. Although there have already been two journal issues (Infant Mental Health Journal, 21, 2000; Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12, 2002) honoring his work, his death in 2012 has spurred us to consider further his contributions and his expanding influence. Not only have his studies required psychoanalysts to rethink many foundational assumptions of theory, Sander’s studies have also illuminated a great deal about what makes analysis effective, shining a light on previously unrecognized therapeutic mechanisms (Boston Change Process Study Group, 2010). Although a single journal issue can hardly do justice to all his insights and include the work of the many whom he has influenced, we hope it will lead to further advances.

All of the contributors to this journal issue have used Sander’s seminal thinking to enrich the field, building on his ideas in their own creative endeavors.

Here, we have brought together researchers, clinicians, and theorists who have been influenced by Sander’s visionary ideas. As the issue editor, I provide a more personal reflection on the man, as well as attempt to contextualize his contributions to human understanding. His profound effect on my perspectives on psychoanalysis, as well as on life, were the upshot of my good fortune in working closely with him for almost 30 years.

Seligman has been at the forefront of efforts to bring Sander’s profound vision to the attention of a wider psychoanalytic audience.

[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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