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Robert D. Stolorow
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Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D., Ph.D. is a Founding Faculty Member and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles; a Founding Faculty Member at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity, New York City; and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the author of World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (2011) and Trauma and Human Existence: Autobiographical, Psychoanalytic, and Philosophical Reflections (2007), and coauthor of Worlds of Experience: Interweaving Philosophical and Clinical Dimensions in Psychoanalysis (2002), Working Intersubjectively: Contextualism in Psychoanalytic Practice (1997), Contexts of Being: The Intersubjective Foundations of Psychological Life (1992), Psychoanalytic Treatment: An Intersubjective Approach (1987), Structures of Subjectivity: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Phenomenology (1984), Psychoanalysis of Developmental Arrests: Theory and Treatment (1980), and Faces in a Cloud: Intersubjectivity in Personality Theory (1993 [1979], 2nd. ed.). He is also coeditor of The Intersubjective Perspective (1994) and has authored or coauthored more than two hundred articles on aspects of psychoanalytic theory and practice.

He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Harvard University in 1970 and his Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy from the Psychoanalytic Institute of the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, New York City, in 1974. He also received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California at Riverside in 2007. He holds diplomas both in Clinical Psychology and in Psychoanalysis from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and he is a Fellow in the Divisions of Psychoanalysis and Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Stolorow received the Distinguished Scientific Award from the Division of Psychoanalysis in 1995, the Haskell Norman Prize for Excellence in Psychoanalysis from the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis in 2011, and the Hans W. Loewald Memorial Award from the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education in 2012.


Entries by Robert D. Stolorow

Review Essay: Out There by Sarah Stark

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 12:23 PM

Deployed in Iraq in 2008, Navy psychiatrist Russell Carr searched the internet for psychoanalytic literature that would help him understand and reach the experiences of traumatized soldiers, and he came upon my book, Trauma and Human Existence (Stolorow, 2007).

In an article that Carr (2011) subsequently wrote, he describes...

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On Being a Remainder

(2) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 11:53 PM


Nineteen months ago my dear friend and close collaborator Bernie Brandchaft died, 14 months after the death of his dear wife Elaine. A year ago Bernie's daughter Wendy was kind enough to give me a photograph of Bernie and me that seemed decades...

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The War on Grief

(2) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 6:01 PM

The DSM-5, the most recent version of psychiatry's diagnostic bible, makes it possible to classify grieving that endures beyond a rather brief span of time as a mental illness.

This pathologizing of grief has ancient roots extending back at least as far as the Stoics, whose stern ascetic morality...

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Review Essay on Levels of Life" by Julian Barnes

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 4:40 PM

"You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed" (p. 3). These two opening sentences announce the central theme of Levels of Life -- a book about self-transcendence, love, and devastating loss.

The friend who gave me the book knew that I...

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Death and the Afterlife: A Review Essay

(5) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 5:53 PM

In a blog post of a year ago examining the motivations underlying the pervasive evasion of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, I included this personal vignette:

More than three decades ago I took my young son to a planetarium show at the New York Museum of...
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Portkeys to Trauma

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 12:30 PM

The Navy Yard massacre is likely to be a portkey to trauma for many veterans suffering from combat-related PTSD. I use the term "portkey," which I borrowed from Harry Potter, to capture the profound impact of a traumatic loss on my own experience of time. Harry was a...

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The Tragic and the Metaphysical

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2013 | 1:56 PM

The first Western philosopher to examine systematically the relationship between the tragedy of human finitude and the ubiquity of metaphysical illusion was Wilhelm Dilthey. Dilthey's life's work can be seen as an effort to replace the Kantian a priori -- the timeless forms of perception and categories of cognition through...

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Powerless to Protect

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2013 | 7:04 PM

Yesterday morning, shortly before noon, my wife Julia dropped off our daughter Emily at Santa Monica College to take her final exam in English. A few minutes later Emily called Julia frantically, saying that there were gunshots on campus and that she was running off campus to escape a lockdown....

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The Boston Marathon Bombing as a Collective Trauma

(2) Comments | Posted April 19, 2013 | 8:40 AM

A patient began her session with me Monday afternoon by telling me about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I felt a vague, dark foreboding for the remainder of the afternoon, until I arrived home to a message from my oldest daughter, Lisa, letting me know that she was safe....

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Gun Control and the Slaughter of Innocents

(3) Comments | Posted December 15, 2012 | 5:48 PM

I am strongly in favor of gun control. Gun control laws in the United States are long overdue, and the success of the gun lobby in blocking their enactment is a national disgrace. In this blog post, however, I want to distinguish two meanings of turning to the need for...

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Climate Change, Narcissism, Denial, Apocalyptic Anxiety

(14) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 1:53 PM

On October 5, 2012, on the front page of The Huffington Post, appeared a terrifying image of melting arctic ice, accompanied by the chilling headline, "Arctic Ice Melt and Sea Level Rise May Be 'Decades Ahead Of Schedule.'" Why have the majority of Americans and American politicians been...

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What Did We Learn From 9/11?

(3) Comments | Posted September 12, 2012 | 12:35 PM

The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 was a devastating collective trauma that inflicted a rip in the fabric of the American psyche. In horrifyingly demonstrating that even America can be assaulted on its native soil, the attack of 9/11 shattered Americans' collective illusions of safety, inviolability, and grandiose invincibility,...

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Trivializing the Trauma of Rape

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 11:05 AM

As someone who has devoted more than two decades to the understanding and therapeutic approach to emotional trauma, I was absolutely appalled by Todd Akin's ludicrous remarks about rape. To even speak of "legitimate rape," a glaring oxymoron, trivializes the terrible trauma of being raped. The experience of...

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Deconstructing Psychiatry's Ever-Expanding Bible

(6) Comments | Posted April 5, 2012 | 1:24 PM

Recent studies have called into question the fifth and latest version of psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual's creation of new diagnostic entities and categories that are scientifically unsubstantiated and that over-pathologize vulnerable populations such as young children and the elderly. In an earlier blog post, I criticized the...

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What Is Character And How Does It Change?

(3) Comments | Posted February 16, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Traditionally, in psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, the term "character" has been used to refer to constellations or configurations of behavioral traits. "Anal characters" are said to be compulsive and perfectionistic; "hysterical characters" are described as histrionic; "passive-aggressive characters" show anger covertly by withholding; "narcissistic characters" are excessively self-centered; "borderline characters"...

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Losing and Regaining My Sense of Being

(7) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 10:13 AM

I begin with a poem about my youngest daughter titled "Emily Running," which I wrote in September of 2003:

My favorite time of day
is walking Emily to school in the morning.
We kiss as we leave our driveway
so other kids won't see us.

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Trauma, Death, and Resurrection: A Russian-American Conversation

(1) Comments | Posted September 8, 2011 | 1:06 AM

(An invited conversation between myself [RDS] and Russian social philosopher and journalist Sergei Roganov [SR].)

RDS: You were kind enough to contact me after reading my article, "The Meaning and the Rhetoric of Evil" in the Russian Journal (English HuffPost version: ), in which an article of yours was...

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The Meaning and the Rhetoric of Evil: Auschwitz and Bin Laden

(15) Comments | Posted June 27, 2011 | 3:01 PM

(Invited essay published in the Russian Journal, June 17, 2011)

It is crucial to distinguish between the meaning of evil and the rhetoric of evil. The question of the meaning of evil is an interpretive question: What do we mean when we use the word "evil"? The rhetoric of evil,...

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Death and Resurrection

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2011 | 2:03 PM

The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 was a devastating collective trauma that inflicted a rip in the fabric of the American psyche. In horrifyingly demonstrating that America can be massively assaulted on its native soil, the attack of 9/11 shattered our collective illusions of safety, inviolability, and grandiose invincibility,...

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Japan's Earthquake and Apocalyptic Terror

(5) Comments | Posted March 15, 2011 | 2:16 PM

I live and work in Santa Monica, Calif. The dangerous San Andreas Fault runs through San Bernardino, Calif., about 75 miles from Santa Monica. The San Andreas runs along much of the western edge of North America. Where the plates on each side of the fault are smooth, as in...

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