Joseph Sandler received his master’s degree in psychology at age nineteen from the University of Cape Town. He moved to England in the late 1940s to further specialize in psychology and received his Ph.D. from London University at the age of twenty-three. He then began his medical education at University College London and in 1952 qualified as a psychoanalyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He became a training analyst at the age of twenty-eight and specialized in child analysis. Subsequently he was awarded both a M.D. and a D.Sc. degree.
He was editor of the British Journal of Psychology and then became the editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He founded the International Review of Psychoanalysis. He was the first Sigmund Freud professor of psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then became the first full time Sigmund Freud professor of Psychoanalysis at London University.
Prof. Sandler made major theoretical and clinical contributions to psychoanalysis, including the most perceptive analysis of superego functions within the ego psychological model, original contributions to the representational world, a classic introductory text book on psychoanalytic technique, an impressive number of other books, and a large array of contributions to psychoanalytic theory and technique. He also carried out a fundamental function in the development of the yearly IPA Research Conference in London and his administrative creativity has provided fundamental services to the International Psychoanalytic community.