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Kanter, J. (2014). Sullivan Revisited—Life and Work: Harry Stack Sullivan's Relevance for Contemporary Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. By Marco Conci. Trento, Italy: Tangram Edizioni Scientifiche, 2012, 506 pp., €32,00.. Psychoanal. Rev., 101(6):929-931.

(2014). Psychoanalytic Review, 101(6):929-931

Sullivan Revisited—Life and Work: Harry Stack Sullivan's Relevance for Contemporary Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. By Marco Conci. Trento, Italy: Tangram Edizioni Scientifiche, 2012, 506 pp., €32,00.

Review by:
Joel Kanter, M.S.W., LCSW-C

As the “relational” model has entered the mainstream of psychoanalytic discourse, there has been a renewed interest in the life and work of Harry Stack Sullivan. The late Stephen Mitchell, the intellectual leader of the relational model, trained at the White Institute, and openly embraced Sullivan's interpersonal theory as an essential cornerstone of relational psychoanalysis. Similarly, over the past two decades, the emerging field of gay studies became interested in Sullivan and explored the impact of his sexual orientation on his professional contributions. Although marginalized for decades within psychoanalysis as both a renegade and a homosexual, Sullivan's interpersonal theory and personal lifestyle can now be comfortably accepted by the analytic mainstream.

As such, Marco Conci's comprehensive volume on Sullivan's life and work admirably documents Sullivan's thinking and its incorporation into the contemporary psychoanalytic discourse. Conci, an Italian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing in Germany, begins by outlining the early history of psychoanalysis in the United States as context for a biographical chapter on Sullivan's personal and professional life. This is followed by a chapter on Sullivan's contributions to the neo-Freudian movement of the 1930s and 1940s. The second half of the volume reviews Sullivan's ideas about schizophrenia and its treatment, his collaboration with leading social scientists, his clinical and developmental theories, and the incorporation of his interpersonal perspective into contemporary psychoanalytic theory.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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