Otto Kernberg, M.D.

United States

Award Year: 1990

kernberg-otto_medDr. Kernberg was born in Vienna and fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1939, emigrating to Chile where he where he studied medicine, psychiatry and then psychoanalysis with the Chilean Psychoanalytic Society. He came to the United States in 1961 and is now professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Kernberg is world renown for his seminal work on borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, providing a theory of the precursors of these disorders as well as therapeutic methods for treating these patients using applied psychoanalysis. He developed Transference-Focused Psychotherapy, a novel and useful framework for coordinating personality disorders along dimensions of structural organization and severity. In addition, his work has been central in integrating postwar ego psychology with Kleinian and other object relations and perspectives. His integrative writing were central to the development of modern object relations, a theory of mind that is perhaps the theory most widely accepted among modern psychoanalysts. He has written about object relations, character pathology, falling in love, as well as about problems in psychoanalytic education.

Otto F. Kernberg, M.D., F.A.P.A., is Director of the Personality Disorders Institute at The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Westchester Division and Professor of Psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Kernberg is a Past-President of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He is also Training and Supervising Analyst of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

In the past, Dr. Kernberg served as Director of the C.F. Menninger Memorial Hospital, Supervising and Training Analyst of the Topeka Institute for Psychoanalysis, and Director of the Psychotherapy Research Project of the Menninger Foundation. Later, he was Director of the General Clinical Service of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. From 1976 to 1995 he was Associate Chairman and Medical Director of The New York HospitalCornell Medical Center, Westchester Division. He was Book Editor of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association from 1977-1993. He is the author of many books (click here for a selected list)

Dr. Kernberg was awarded the l972 Heinz Hartmann Award of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and Society, the l975 Edward A. Strecker Award from the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, the l98l George E. Daniels Merit Award of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine, the l982 William F. Schonfeld Memorial Award of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, the 1986 Van Gieson Award from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the 1987 and 1996 Teacher of the Year Award from The New York HospitalCornell Medical Center, Westchester Division. He was elected to membership of the Society of Scholars of the Johns Hopkins University in 1992. He received the 1993 I. Arthur Marshall Distinguished Alumnus Award, Menninger Alumni Association, The Menninger Foundation, the 1993 Presidential Award for Leadership in Psychiatry from the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychiatric Association in 1995. He was elected Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1998, and received the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, in 1999. In 2007 he received the Golden Medal of Honor to the City of Vienna, and the Thomas William Salmon Medal from the New York Academy of Medicine, New York, New York.

Interviews with Dr. Kernberg can be found
here,
here,
and here.