2nd Edition

Harry Stack Sullivan Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy

By F. Barton Evans III Copyright 2024
    302 Pages
    by Routledge

    302 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book covers the works and life of Harry Stack Sullivan (1892–1949), who has been described as "the most original figure in American psychiatry".

    Challenging Freud’s psychosexual theory, Sullivan founded the interpersonal theory of psychiatry, which emphasizes the role of interpersonal relations, society, and culture as the primary determinants of personality development and psychopathology. This concise and coherent account of Sullivan’s work and life invites the modern audience to rediscover the provocative, ground-breaking ideas embodied in Sullivan’s interpersonal theory and psychotherapy that continue to advance. This revised second edition is updated to reflect new research and ideas - such as an expanded section on Sullivan’s groundbreaking ideas about homosexuality and new sections on his concept of anxiety in infancy and on psychological trauma and how interpersonal theory impacts attachment theory, human sexuality, psychopathology, personality assessment, psychotherapy, and social issues.

    This book, which has been a primary resource on Sullivan’s works for over 25 years, will continue to be of interest to a range of psychotherapy professionals and practitioners including beginning and experienced psychotherapists, psychological assessment practitioners, interpersonal researchers, and teachers of personality theory.

    SECTION I Historical perspectives  1.     Introduction  2.     Harry Stack Sullivan, the Man  SECTION II The interpersonal theory of psychiatry  3.     Basic Concepts  4.     Infancy: The Beginning of Interpersonal Living  5.     Developmental Epochs of Childhood and the Juvenile Era: The Expansion of the Interpersonal World  6.     Developmental Epochs of Adolescence: The Long Transition to Adulthood  SECTION III Applications  7.     The Interpersonal Theory of Mental Disorder  8.     The Psychiatric Interview and Modern Interpersonal Personality Assessment  9.     Interpersonal Psychotherapy  10.  Social Psychiatry and the Problems of Society


    F. Barton Evans III is a retired clinical and forensic psychologist, former Professor of Psychiatry at East Tennessee State University, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at George Washington University. He is a Life Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Personality Assessment.

    "This book is the authoritative source on one of the most influential and underappreciated thinkers in mental health in the 20th century, written by a world-class expert who trained in Sullivan's milieu and applied interpersonal principles for his entire illustrious career. As in the first edition, Evans provides a thorough treatment of Sullivan's thinking about development, psychopathology, assessment, psychotherapy, and broader social problems. In this new edition, he elaborates significantly on how Sullivan's approach to clinical and social issues can be understood through a contemporary lens and inform current practice. A must read for anyone who wants to understand this central player in the story of medicine and social science and situate their clinical work in the historically rich and eminently humane context offered by interpersonal theory."

    Christopher Hopwood, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Zurich

    "Evans' book on Harry Stack Sullivan is the best summary of Sullivan's work on the market today. It clearly describes all his basic concepts and their clinical implications. And this second edition contains clinical material illustrating an interpersonal approach to trauma work. Patients re-enact their traumas in therapy in order to tell the history of their interpersonal suffering. And if the therapist can listen with a relational ear, he can provide a climate of safety where the unsayable in the past can be said in the present. If for no other reason, the interpersonal understanding of anxiety and the strategies of self-other protection alone will reward the reader with new vistas of understanding."

    Jon Frederickson, MSW, Faculty, Washington School of Psychiatry; Author, Co-Creating Change and Co-Creating Safety

    "In this engaging new edition of his 1996 book, Barton Evans shows himself to be the pre-eminent authority on all things Sullivanian. Readers will be intrigued as Evans connects Sullivan’s life story to his interpersonal theory and then traces the influence of Sullivan’s concepts on modern psychotherapy, psychological assessment, social psychology, and psychiatry. Sullivan remains an underappreciated genius, and Evans helps us recognize his immense and far-reaching impact. Readers interested in Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment (C/TA) will especially appreciate Evans’ discussion of current interpersonal models of psychological assessment."

    Stephen E. Finn, Ph.D., President, Therapeutic Assessment Institute; Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

    "Dr. Evans succeeds in this masterful effort to "re-collect" the silent, forgotten, and sometimes maligned contributions of the genius Harry Stack Sullivan. Evans’ scholarly research and skillful explanation of Sullivan’s largely unacknowledged imprint on contemporary developments in psychoanalysis, theories of anxiety and psychopathology, and the vicissitudes of child development reminds us of how his ideas never really disappeared. In this gem of a book, Evans makes clear that at the heart of Sullivan’s theories was the enduring strength of interpersonal connections, which can "heal the developmental warps" that unfortunately occur in some. In Evans’ beautiful words, it is the "love between humans which ultimately liberates us." These words have never been more important than they are now."

    James H. Kleiger, Psy.D., ABPP, ABAP, Independent Practice Bethesda, MD; Past President, Baltimore-Washington Psychoanalytic Institute