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Greenberg, J. (2001). Stephen A. Mitchell: 1946-2000. Contemp. Psychoanal., 37(2):189-191.

(2001). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 37(2):189-191

Stephen A. Mitchell: 1946-2000

Jay Greenberg, Ph.D.

Stephen Mitchell died on December 21, 2000 at the age of fifty-four. His death, which immediately had a shocking impact on the psychoanalytic world, is an immeasurable loss both to our discipline and to those of us who were personally touched by this extraordinarily talented, vital, and compassionate man.

Steve's accomplishments are well known to everyone in our field. As an author, he was as prolific as any analyst has been for many years. In addition to scores of articles, he wrote or edited eight books: Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory (with Jay Greenberg, 1983); Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis: An Integration (1988); Hope and Dread in Psychoanalysis (1993); Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought (with Margaret Black, 1995); Influence and Autonomy in Psychoanalysis (1998); Relational Psychoanalysis: The Emergence of a Tradition (coedited with Lewis Aron, 1999); Relationality: From Attachment to Intersubjectivity (2000); and Can Love Last? The Fate of Romance Over Time (to be published this year).

In addition to his writing, Steve was a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute and a faculty member and supervisor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He was the founding editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues. Since its first issue in 1991, Dialogues has been the major forum for the promotion and dissemination of relational thinking. It is characteristic of Steve's openness and generosity as a thinker that the journal he conceived would be structured around dialogue, so that most articles were accompanied by discussions and responses that allowed the expression of a range of theoretical and clinical perspectives. At the time of his death, he and a group of colleagues were in the process of organizing the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, of which he was to be the first president.

Many of Steve's stories about growing up were focused on political and social debate in his family, and he was most drawn to those colorful characters in the family who despised prevailing orthodoxies.

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