David E. Scharff, M.D. is Chair of the Board, Co-Founder and Former Director, International Psychotherapy Institute; Chair, The International Psychoanalytic Association’s Working Group on Family and Couple Psychoanalysis; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Georgetown University; Supervising Analyst, International Institute for Psychoanalytic Training; Teaching Analyst, Washington Psychoanalytic Institute; Honorary Fellow, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, London; Former President, American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, and former Vice-President, International Association for Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. He is a Child and Adult Analyst in Private Practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Educated at Yale, Harvard Medical School, The Tavistock Clinic and The Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Dr. Scharff has been author and editor of more than 30 books, with foundational texts on family and couple and individual psychoanalytic therapy, the work of Ronald Fairbairn, sexual difficulty, and innovative training of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. He has organized more than 100 conferences in the United States and abroad, and taught internationally on five continents including 28 countries. His recent initiatives have focused on teaching psychoanalytic couple and family therapy in China, where he has organized an innovative continuous training program for students from all across China and Taiwan. To this end he is founder of a journal devoted to the newly emergent field of psychoanalysis in China, called “Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in China.” At the same time as Chair of the Couple and Family Psychoanalysis Working Group of the International Psychoanalytic Association, he has, together with members of the group, organized meetings of the working group and international congresses that further the study of family and couple psychoanalysis around the world.
Recent publications in these areas have included “Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy” edited with Jill Scharff; “Fairbairn and the Object Relations Tradition,” edited with Graham Clarke; “Psychoanalysis in China,” edited with Sverre Varvin; and “The Interpersonal Unconscious,” written with Jill Scharff. Books in process include “Enrique Pichon Riviѐre: A Psychoanalytic Pioneer,” edited with Roberto Losso and Lea Setton; and “Family and Couple Psychoanalysis Around the World”, edited with Elizabeth Palacios.
This volume is an attempt to increase our understanding of the dimensions of psychotherapy by looking at fundamental but usually unexamined elements that constitute the setting and process in which clinicians engage every day.
Our work ends with loss. Our patients, who have lost parts of themselves and their objects, come to us to find them once again. To work with them we must, in turn, lose ourselves in each of our patients. If things go well —and with their help — they and we eventually find ourselves again. It is a mutual refinding.
One of the richest areas of growth for a trainee at every stage is in the interplay between the professional’s personal issues and the issues of the client. In the object relations approach to therapy, we focus our work in this area because this is where we can understand clients from inside their resonance with our own object relations.