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Fonagy, P. (2005). An Overview of Joseph Sandler's Key Contributions to Theoretical and Clinical Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Inq., 25(2):120-147.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 25(2):120-147

An Overview of Joseph Sandler's Key Contributions to Theoretical and Clinical Psychoanalysis

Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA

Joseph Sandler was instrumental in bringing about what Ogden (1992) has termed the “quiet revolution” in psychoanalytic theory over the past several decades. His accomplishments reflected his capacity to combine empirical research skills with the highest order of understanding of psychoanalytic theory. From the more traditional frame of reference acquired through his analytic training, Sandler gradually evolved a complex integration of ego psychology and object relations theory that has become increasingly dominant. Throughout this process, Sandler strove to keep theory tied to clinical activity. While most analysts pay lip service to the intimate relationship of theory and practice, Sandler, using the Hampstead Psychoanalytic Index as his framework, researched the applicability of psychoanalytic concepts to the clinical setting. This resulted in reconceptualizations of some of the basic building blocks of psychoanalysis. His training as an experimental psychologist gave him a fresh perspective on traditional concepts, which he supported and altered on the basis of empirical research. His immersion in child development at the Anna Freud Centre also influenced his intellectual development.

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