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Psychiatry. 1985 May;48(2):141-58.

Recollections of Harry Stack Sullivan and of the development of his interpersonal psychiatry.


Some of us who knew Harry Stack Sullivan during the last two decades of his life and followed the development of his though estimated that his professional career, starting with the completion of the course work at the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery, 1915, could be divided roughly into four separate periods of some eight years each in duration. The first period may be called the Chicago period, 1915-1921; the second the Washington-Baltimore period, 1921-1931; the third the New York period, 1931-1939; and the fourth, the period of the Washington School of Psychiatry, 1939 to approximately 1947. This leaves a period of about a year, or possibly a little longer, which I wish to designate as the fifth period, cut short by Sullivan's sudden death in January 1949. The last period consisted of his separating himself from the Washington School of Psychiatry and from teaching the theory of interpersonal psychiatry while simultaneously exploring the feasibility of a psychiatry of social groups or even of society itself. The first name for this extension of the concept of interpersonal relations to the entire social field was the title given to the White Memorial Lectures delivered by Dr. G. Brock Chisholm in 1945, namely, "Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress."

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