February 21st is the anniversary of the birth of Harry Stack Sullivan in 1892!
Sullivan was a:
“U.S. psychiatrist who developed a theory of psychiatry based on interpersonal relationships. He believed that anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms arise in fundamental conflicts between the individual and his human environment and that personality development also takes place by a series of interactions with other people. He made substantial contributions to clinical psychiatry, especially the psychotherapy of schizophrenia, and suggested that the mental functions of schizophrenics, though impaired, are not damaged past repair and can be recovered through therapy. Possessing an extraordinary ability to communicate with schizophrenic patients, he described their behaviour with clarity and insight unrivalled at that time” (entry in Encyclopedia Britannica online)
Sullivan was also active in founding several schools and journals:
- 1936: Founded the Washington School of Psychiatry with William Alanson White
- 1938: Founded the journal Psychiatry and served as its editor
- 1943: Played a role in the founding of the William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation
- 1948: Helped to establish the World Federation for Mental Health
Among his publications are:
- Conceptions of Modern Psychiatry
- The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (edited by H.S. Perry & M.L. Gawel)
- The Psychiatric Interview
- Schizophrenia as a Human Process
Sullivan passed away January 14, 1949. Sullivan served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.