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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society


James Harris Hansell, Ph.D.

James Harris Hansell, Ph.D.

In Memoriam

by Robert Cohen, Ph.D.

Jim Hansell, former training and supervising analyst at MPI, died on April 20, 2013 in Boston, where he was being treated for amyloidosis, a blood disorder. He was 57.

Jim had received a stem cell transplant, which successfully cured the amyloidosis. But while recovering, Jim contracted influenza which could not be controlled. He fought the infection with valor, tenacity, and bravery for over a week, surrounded by loved ones.

The funeral was held on April 24 at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.

A graduate of Amherst College, Jim received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan in 1988 and served on the Michigan psychology faculty for many years. Amongst the first class of psychologists to be trained at MPI following the settlement of the anti-trust lawsuit, Jim became a training and supervising analyst, a highly regarded teacher of candidates, president of the Society, and a valuable member of many committees. Recently he was part of an initiative established by Marvin Margolis to help institutes across the country to increase recruitment of candidates, using methods pioneered in Michigan.

Jim was a generous and creative psychologist and psychoanalyst. He was also an accomplished scholar with interests ranging from the neurosciences to gender studies. His undergraduate textbook on psychopathology received rave reviews. The book, co-authored with Lisa Damour, grew out of Jim's experience teaching psychopathology at Michigan, where he mentored many generations of students.

Jim left Michigan in January, 2012 to accept an appointment as a full professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was also Director of Clinical Training in the doctoral program in clinical psychology.

Jim is survived by his wife Andrea (Andy), a clinical psychologist and writer, his daughter Julie, a graduate student in sports management at Ball State University, and his son Adam, a junior at The College of Wooster.

Jim was a devoted husband and loving, involved father, participating in triathalons with Julie and coaching soccer for Adam. In addition to being an avid sports fan, Jim was an accomplished guitarist, playing in an Ann Arbor rock band, The Spaceheaters.

Jim will be forever missed by his family and many friends, colleagues, students and patients.