Sandler, Joseph (1927-1998)

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SANDLER, JOSEPH (1927-1998)

Joseph Sandler, English physician, psychoanalyst, and psychologist, was born in Cape Town, South Africa on January 10, 1927 and died in London on October 6, 1998.

Sandler's family was Jewish. He received his Master's degree in psychology at age nineteen, from the University of Cape Town. He moved to England in the late 1940s to further specialize in psychology, and received his PhD from London University at age twenty-three.

He then began his medical education at University College London, and applied to become a psychoanalyst. In 1952 he qualified as psychoanalyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society, having been trained by the classical Freudian psychoanalyst Willie Hoffer, and then by his wife, Hedwig Hoffer. He became a training analyst at the age of twenty-eight, and specialized also in child analysis. Subsequently he was awarded both a MD and a D.Sc. Sandler had a outstanding career both as theoretician and clinician, but also as an administrator in psychoanalysis. He is considered a central figure in the second half of twentieth century psychoanalysis.

He was editor of the British Journal of Psychology (1959-1963), and then became the editor of the International Journal of Psycho-analysis from 1969 to 1978, and he founded the International Review of Psychoanalysis. He was the first Sigmund Freud professor of psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then became the first full-time Sigmund Freud professor of Psychoanalysis at London University, until his retirement in 1992, the year in which was nominated Professor Emeritus.

He held several honorary degrees. He held more than twenty visiting professorships, and was elected President of the International Association of Psychoanalysis in 1989.

As a theoretician, Sandler is remembered for his effort to reexamine and update the theoretical and clinical issues of classical psychoanalysis. He was the leader of the so-called Hampstead Index Project, working with Anna Freud and her colleagues for many years at the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic during the 1960s and the 1970s. He became more and more interested in trying to bridge the gap between classical Freudian psychoanalysis and the British school of object relations. His close friend Arnold Cooper described his work as "the silent revolution in psychoanalysis."

Sandler was the author of more than 200 papers and author, editor, or co-editor of forty-four books. The most important of his papers are collected in From Safety to Superego (1988), The Patient and the Analyst, written in collaboration with Christopher Dare and Alex Holder (1973), and particularly in Internal Objects Revisited (1998), which he wrote together with his wife, Anne Marie Sandler.

In addition to being a prolific author, Sandler was also a great facilitator of the work of colleagues and young psychoanalysts. He also pioneered the rapprochement between psychoanalysis and empirical research, creating the annual research conference of the IPA at University College, London. This annual meeting of researchers has been given in his name since his death.

Sandler was married twice, having lost his first wife, and he had three children.

Riccardo Steiner

See also: British Psycho-Analytical Society; Evenly-suspended attention; Great Britain; Identification; International Journal of Psychoanalysis, The ; International Psychoanalytical Association; Israel; Object relations theory; Primary identification; Projective identification; Pscyhoanalyst; Tavistock Clinic; Technique with children, psychoanalytic; Therapeutic alliance.


Sandler, Joseph. (1988). From safety to superego. New York, London: Karnac Books International Universities Press.

Sandler, Joseph, Dare, Christopher, and Holder, Alex. (1997). The patient and the analyst: The basis of the psychoanalytic process. New York: International Universities Press.

Sandler, Joseph, and Sandler, Anne-Marie. (1998). Internal objects revisited. London: Karnac Books.

Steiner, Riccardo. (1999). Some observations on 'projection, identification, projective I fication. (Joseph Sandler, Ed.) International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70, 727-35. (Original work published 1989)

Fonagy, Peter; Cooper, Arnold; and Wallerstein, Robert S. (Eds.) (1999). Psychoanalysis on the move: The work of Joseph Sandler. London, New York: Routledge.

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Sandler, Joseph (1927-1998)

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