Ian Dishart Suttie

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Ian Dishart Suttie (1889-1935) was a Scottish psychiatrist perhaps best known for his writings on the taboo in families on expressing tenderness.[1]

His influential book The Origins of Love and Hate was posthumously published in 1935.

Life and career[edit]

The third son of a Glasgow doctor, Suttie took his medical degree there before joining the staff of the Glasgow Royal Asylum, where he married his wife (and future co-author) Jean Robertson. He continued to work in Scotland until 1928, when he moved south to join the Tavistock Clinic.[2]

Suttie had served with the RAMC in Mesopotamia in 1918, where he became interested in the anthropology of the mother child bond – an interest confirmed by the influence of Sandor Ferenczi.[3] His writings reveal an ongoing debate with Freud – whose concept of the death drive he rejected as unscientific[4] – over the importance of companionship as against sex in the mother-child relationship: a theme (tinged with Christian thinking) which was to influence the thinking of W. R. D. Fairbairn, and anticipate the work of D. W. Winnicott and John Bowlby.[5] He developed the theme in a series of papers (with his wife) published between 1922 and 1931, which he would subsequently draw upon for his (posthumous) book of 1935.[6]


Continental critics see Suttie's work as reflecting a very British complacency about sexuality, and a downplaying of its problematics.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Cooper, The Death of the Family (1974) p. 18
  2. ^ M. Hoffman, Toward Mutual Recognition (Routledge 2014)
  3. ^ David Mann, Love and Hate (2013) p. 13-4
  4. ^ R. Weatherall ed., The Death Drive (1999) p. 128
  5. ^ G. S. Clarke et al eds., Fairbairn and the Object Relations Tradition (2014) p. 72
  6. ^ P. Cook, Mothering Denied (2008) p. 26
  7. ^ Celia Harding, Sexuality (2001) p. 65-6

External links[edit]

Ian Suttie's matriarchy