Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Scharff, David

Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_31-2


David Edward Scharff, M.D., psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, is a contemporary contributor to the theory and practice of psychoanalytic family and couple therapy. He has also significantly influenced the arenas of sex therapy, group relations, mental health teaching, and distance/technology-assisted learning. He is the author and editor of more than 30 books and 75 articles, and his work has been translated into eight languages.


Scharff received his M.D. from Harvard University in 1966 and continued his training in various settings including the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Beth Israel Hospital, the Tavistock Clinic, and the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

As an undergraduate at Yale, he was struck by a course that synthesized psychology, sociology, and animal behavior. His struggle with the limits of Freud’s theories caused him to travel in 1973 to London where he studied at the Tavistock Clinic and learned from John Bowlby, Arthur Hyatt-Williams, and...


British Object Relations Theory Psychoanalytic Couple Object Relations Family Therapy Training Program Directory Relations Study Group 
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Key Citations

  1. Losso, R., Setton, L., & Scharff, D. E. (Eds.). (2017). The linked self in psychoanalysis: The pioneering work of Enrique Pichon Rivière. London/New York: Karnac.Google Scholar
  2. Scharff, D. E. (1982). The sexual relationship: An object relations view of sex and the family. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  3. Scharff, D. E., & Palacios, E. (Eds.). (2017). Family and couple psychoanalysis: A global perspective. London/New York: Karnac.Google Scholar
  4. Scharff, D. E., & Scharff, J. S. (1987). Object relations family therapy. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  5. Scharff, D. E., & Scharff, J. S. (1991). Object relations couple therapy. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  6. Scharff, J. S., & Scharff, D. E. (1994). Object relations therapy of physical and sexual trauma. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  7. Scharff, J. S., & Scharff, D. E. (1998). Object relations individual therapy. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  8. Scharff, J. S., & Scharff, D. E. (2005). The primer of object relations therapy: 2nd revised and enlarged edition. Lanham: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  9. Scharff, D. E., & Scharff, J. S. (2011). The interpersonal unconscious. Lanham: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  10. Scharff, D. E., & Scharff, J. S. (2014). Psychoanalytic couple therapy. London\New York: Karnac.Google Scholar
  11. Scharff, D. E., & Varvin, S. (Eds.). (2014). Psychoanalysis in China. London/New York: Karnac.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stadter and Prelinger Psychotherapy and ConsultationBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.International Psychotherapy Institute and Washington School of PsychiatryWashingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA