Projectuality Versus Eventuality: Sullivan, the (Ambivalent) Intentionalist

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16 Scopus citations


H. S. Sullivan's " Toward a Psychiatry of Peoples" is a difficult-to-penetrate tour-de-force on intentionality. In it, Sullivan walks the persistent reader through two aspects of what makes us human: Goal-directedness (labeled by Sullivan the need for satisfaction and here " projectuality" ), and its derailment by interpersonal forces (referred to by Sullivan as the need for security and herein as " eventuality" ). The tension between projectuality and eventuality gives rise to the self-system: A defensive self-organization aimed at maintaining self-esteem through the prevention of caregiver's anxiety. Herein, a link is made, to the best of my knowledge for the first time, between Sullivan's intentionalism, existential writings such as those of Rollo May, and D. W. Winnicott's notion of the true and false self. Implications to psychotherapy integration are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychotherapy Integration
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • Existentialism
  • Intentionality
  • Interpersonal-Psychoanalysis
  • Sullivan
  • Winnicott

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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