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Ramsay, A. (2015). Maurice Dongier 1925-2015. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 23(2):406-409.

(2015). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 23(2):406-409

Maurice Dongier 1925-2015

Alec Ramsay

Maurice Dongier had many identities and came to be appreciated by colleagues and friends of many persuasions over his Montreal years. His professional contributions and involvements enriched many areas; in an era marked more by a trend to super-specialization, Maurice provided a refreshing example of how high professional accomplishment can be enhanced on a backdrop of broad curiosity about the world and everything in it. His mind was active and inquisitive, never doctrinaire; tangential excursions were not distractions but often led to enlightened modifications of theoretical or clinical positions. He tackled the difficult issues impeding dialogue between basic scientists in psychiatry and their clinical colleagues, and consistently tried to bridge those gaps.

The breadth of his academic and clinical perspective in psychiatry was impressive. His European psychiatric education ensured a knowledge of neurology, which most Canadian psychiatrists lack; this and many other qualifications led to his selection in the early 1970s as chairman of Psychiatry at McGill University and psychiatrist-in-chief at the Allan Memorial Institute. However, he also undertook a very contrasting path in the exploration of psychoanalysis, and in Montreal obtained the status of training analyst in the Quebec English Branch of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Institute. Arriving in the midst of a Quebec society in a tumultuous identity struggle, Maurice immersed himself and supported others in attempts to bridge the “two solitudes” in their psychiatric and psychoanalytic components.

As much as Maurice excelled at administrative and academic levels, he was always ready to help out in clinical endeavours when staffing gaps occurred. Also, he was careful to acknowledge and express appreciation for all members of the mental health team.

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