APsaA Mourns Lee Jaffe, Ph.D.

On June 20, 2021, psychoanalysis lost one of its finest people when Lee Jaffe, Ph.D. passed away at his home, surrounded by his family. His wife, Susan Jaffe said Lee died "peacefully." 

APsaA President Bill Glover said Lee "met his end with grace and fortitude," and that Lee's passing is "a big loss for APsaA, his family and for those of us who worked with him over the years in so many roles."

Lee was a recent Past-President of the American Psychoanalytic Association and also a Past-President of the San Diego Psychoanalytic Center. Lee had been in private practice in San Diego since 1983.

Lee's friend and colleague Alan Sugarman, Ph.D. wrote a wonderful tribute to Lee, and we share an excerpt here:

"The San Diego Psychoanalytic Center and APsaA have lost someone who loved psychoanalysis and contributed greatly to it. Lee was active in and contributed to all facets of psychoanalysis. He maintained a full-time practice until his illness forced him to retire in the past year. In addition, he was a scholar, publishing two books, fourteen peer-reviewed journal articles, and three book chapters. Despite these accomplishments, his most notable contribution to our field was his organizational involvement.

Lee served as President of the local, national, and international candidates’ associations during his years of psychoanalytic training. After graduating, he served as President and then Co-Director of Education of our center. He was active in both APsaA and the IPA, serving as President of the former from 2018-2020. Many other positions of organizational leadership could be mentioned but this brief list should make clear how committed Lee was to improve psychoanalytic organizations."

Tributes are coming in from all corners of the pyschoanalytic community.

Dionne Powell, MD writes:

"To his family and friends I want to thank you for sharing him with us. To our analytic community I hope we can continue to carry the spirit of Lee in what we do: how we listen and consider different points of view, with a shared love toward psychoanalysis and its future leaders and practitioners."

Jack Drescher, MD writes:

"Lee was a real mensch. May his memory be a blessing."

Lyn Yonack, Editor, The American Psychoanalyst writes:

"So much of what is flourishing now in our organization was seeded during his leadership. From the podium and in more direct conversation, he seemed always a sincere, thoughtful, committed, kind man. This is truly such heavy, sad news."

Prudence Leib Gourguechon, M.D. writes:

"Lee Jaffe's death comes as a shock, partly because for so many of us he was always there--generous, earnest, warm, holding both our past and future. Lee was that rarity--a not-especially-narcissistic leader, who just wanted what was best for his colleagues and psychoanalysis. I appreciate Harvey's message that "he leaves behind a challenge to fulfill his vision for a field more defined by kindness."

There will be a memorial service on Saturday at the family home in California. 

If you would like to make a charitable contribution in Lee's honor, please click this link. All donations wil go towards the Candidates' Council Psychoanalytic Paper Prize and to support the candidates programs.