Personality matters: A special issue in honor of Sidney J. Blatt Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This special issue in honor of Sidney J. Blatt includes a collection of articles written by his Israeli friends, col- leagues and former students. Blatt, a professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale University, a senior psychoanalyst at the Western/New-England Psychoanalytic Institute in New Haven, Connecticut, and a world-renowned clinician, theoretician, and investigator, has made an invaluable contribution to the understanding of personality processes in development, psychopathology, and the therapeutic process, as well as to Israeli clinical psychology and psychiatry. Articles in this special issue relate Blatt's work to the author's findings regarding mental representations of self-and- others, suicide and self-destructive behavior, depressive personality styles, adolescent development, personality as- sessment, and evidence-based treatment. An interview with Blatt, and his response to the articles in his honor, con- clude this special issue. There are two good reasons to launch this special issue in honor of Sidney J. Blatt: one is more concep- tual in nature, the other particularly pertinent to the Israeli situation. The more conceptual reason is that the theoretical and empirical work of Blatt, extended over more that five extremely productive decades, teaches us about the formidable role of personality processes in normal development, psychopathology, and the outcome, and process, of mental health treatment, both psychological and pharmacological. In an era in which biological psychiatry on the one hand, and the focus on brief, manualized psycho- therapies on the other hand, dominate our profes- sion, Blatt's legacy serves as a crucial reminder that it is the person, with her particular way of making sense of herself and the work around her, who suf- fers, is the one who needs help, and is the one who will ultimately respond — or not — to our interven- tions. Without taking the person into account, our conceptualization of mental suffering and its treat- ment runs a serious risk of being highly

publication date

  • January 1, 2007