Founder Mary Sigourney

1927 – 1988

Mary Sigourney had a passionate interest in psychoanalysis and understood its ability to benefit and extend human conversation across various disciplines. A philanthropist, Ms. Sigourney funded academic research programs focused on psychoanalysis and allied fields such as anthropology and sociology. Concerned that establishment psychoanalysts were not focusing enough on applied psychoanalysis and research, Ms. Sigourney established The Sigourney Award Trust. Her goal was to encourage new and outstanding contributions to psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic thought.  

A fiercely independent thinker, Mary Sigourney believed that rewarding and publicly acknowledging individual achievements would inspire and influence the next generation of psychoanalytic thought. She specifically designed The Sigourney Award to honor achievements already attained and allow Recipients to use the award however they saw fit, rather than to fund grants for potential results

Who was Mary Sigourney

Mary Sigourney, a licensed psychotherapist, publisher, and community activist, held a master's degree in marital, family, and child counseling. She also studied psychoanalysis and was intrigued by the way psychoanalytic thought contributed to other fields across diverse disciplines such as psychiatry, psychology, child development, anthropology, sociology, law, criminology, and the arts and humanities. Ms. Sigourney had a quirky sense of humor and a direct communication style. A mother to two sons, Ms. Sigourney was active in her community and she published The Advocate, a Bay Area periodical focused on environmental, social, and community issues.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ms. Sigourney lived in Northern California and was a longtime resident of Carmel Valley, California. Survived by her two sons, her faithful canine companion, and devoted friends, Ms. Sigourney's intention to inspire lives on through The Sigourney Award.

The Trustees

The Mary Sigourney Award Trust has two Trustees: a distinguished psychoanalyst and an attorney who has a thorough understanding and appreciation of the trustees' fiduciary duties. Current trustees are:

Barbara C. Sherland, JD
Ms. Sherland, an accomplished attorney, advises nonprofit organizations on topics ranging from governance to tax filings to strategic alliances. After 28 years, in 2017 Ms. Sherland retired from her Partner role at Stoel Rives, in Seattle Washington. In addition to her Trustee role, she actively supports and advises several charitable organizations, including Amara, which serves children in foster care, and the families who care for them, through leadership and hands-on volunteer roles.

Dr. William A. Myerson, PhD, MBA
Dr. Myerson is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst seeing patients in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy and a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston, Texas. He is also the Director of Behavioral Medicine and a full-time faculty member at the Baylor College of Medicine's Department of Medicine in Houston and provides consultation and instruction to mental health professionals. In addition to his Trustee role, Dr. Myerson is Treasurer of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Founding Trustee

James Devine, Ms. Sigourney's attorney and trusted advisor, shared her vision and dedication to encouraging and recognizing the work that makes significant contributions to psychoanalysis. Mr. Devine worked tirelessly with Ms. Sigourney to establish the Trust. He retired from his Trustee role after 20 years of service.

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council expands the Trust’s reach and outlook. It also serves as a sounding board for the Trustees.

Ruth Axelrod. MD

Peter Fonagy PhD, OBE, FBA, FAcSS, FMedSd

Glen Gabbard, MD

Steve Levy, MD

Mark Solms, MD, PhD


Our Goals


The Sigourney Award fosters awareness of psychoanalysis to serve humanity throughout the world.


The Sigourney Award rewards outstanding work that advances psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic thought worldwide.


Fields Psychoanalysis Influences

Today, psychoanalysis embraces a range of philosophies, modern clinical theories, social advocacy, culture, art, and research. The Trust honors the expansion and connection of psychoanalysis to many fields of study and experience through The Sigourney Award.  


  • Anthropology 

  • Leadership 

  • Research 

  • Clinical Practice

  • Teaching

  • Applied Psychoanalysis

Arts and Humanities

  • Film

  • Literature & literary criticism

  • Music 

  • Painting 

  • Poetry 

  • Sculpture 

Medicine, Psychiatry & Science

  • Applied Psychoanalysis 

  • Childhood Development 

  • Clinical Psychoanalysis 

  • Psychiatry 

  • Psychoanalytic Research Psychodynamic Psychology

Social Activism

  • Community Service

  • Law 

  • Social Justice

Rewarding Work

The Sigourney Award rewards the impact of peoples or organizations’ work. Nominate or self-nominate for a chance to earn recognition and a significant cash award. Applications are accepted April 1 - August 31 annually.

Foundation Administration

Established in 1989, the Mary Sigourney Award Trust is an independent, private foundation registered with the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. The Trust’s annual return may be viewed at the the website of the California Attorney General. View annual reports at Guidestar.