Gail A. Hornstein is Professor of Psychology at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts (USA). Born in Philadelphia, she did her undergraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh and earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Clark University.
Clark’s innovative psychology department and Hornstein’s subsequent postdoctoral fellowship in Personality and Social Structure at the University of California, Berkeley defined the focus of her whole career – understanding how individual psychology shapes and is shaped by the social worlds in which we live.
Hornstein’s articles, interviews and opinion pieces on a range of topics in personality and social psychology have appeared in many scholarly and popular publications. In recent years, her research has centered on the history and practices of psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis. Her widely-reviewed biography To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World: The Life of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann – called “dazzling and provocative” by Publisher’s Weekly – tells the story of a pioneering psychiatrist who dedicated her life to doing intensive psychotherapy with the most disturbed patients.
“One goal of that book,” Hornstein said in an interview, “was to show that despite the spread of medication and electroshock as the primary treatments in American psychiatry, psychotherapy has long had powerful results with even the most seriously distressed people.”
Unlike most scholars who study mental illness, Hornstein has always been as interested in the insights of those with first-hand experience as in doctors’ theories. Her Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness in English (now in its 5th edition) lists more than 1,000 books by people who have written about madness from their own experience; it is used by researchers, clinicians, educators, and peer groups around the world.