The Riggs Blog
A Great Loss of a Great Man
We were greatly saddened by the news of former Erikson Scholar John Kerr’s passing earlier this week.
John Kerr was the author of A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, & Sabina Spielrein, (Knopf, 1993), a detailed historical study of the institutionalization of the psychoanalytic movement and the codification of psychoanalytic theory, which was made into a movie directed by David Cronenberg from a screenplay by Christopher Hampton, starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightley. Kerr was trained as a clinical psychologist at New York University and worked as a staff psychologist in diverse inpatient and outpatient settings. In addition, for many years, he was the senior editor at The Analytic Press, a publisher of books for psychoanalysts and other mental health professionals.
In addition to writing articles for various psychoanalytic journals, he was the co-editor of Freud and the History of Psychoanalysis and of Attachment Theory: Social, Developmental, and Clinical Perspectives (The Analytic Press, 2000). He was formerly a research associate at the Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and an Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center. He was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 2016 Riggs Alumni Reunion. Mr. Kerr was a member of the Rapaport-Klein Discussion Group that met in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a visiting teacher at the Harvard Medical School, and an honorary member of the William Alanson White Society of New York. Among the authors he worked with as an editor were: Philip Bromberg, Beatrice Beebe, Frank Lachmann, Joseph Lichtenberg, James Fosshage, Bernard Brandchaft, Laura Tessman, James Herzog, Jack Drescher, Susan Coates, Paul Lippmann, and Arnold Richards. Many authors in the field of psychology and psychoanalysis have credited John Kerr with his generous editorial guidance and help in their writing projects.
Mr. Kerr worked as a private editor and was writing a play about the American psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan, as well as a memoir about his years in Brooklyn, NY, at the time of his death. A tribute to Mr. Kerr was published in the Bangor Daily News this week.