Michael Fordham

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Michael Fordham
Born 4 August 1905
Kensington, London
Died 14 April 1995
Buckinghamshire, England
Nationality English

Michael Scott Montague Fordham (4 August 1905 – 14 April 1995) was an English psychiatrist and Jungian analyst. The Michael Fordham Prize is named in his honour.

Background and education[edit]

The second son of Montague Edward Fordham and his wife Sara Gertrude Worthington, Fordham was born in Kensington, London and was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk (1918-1923), Trinity College, Cambridge (1924-1927), and St Bartholomew's Hospital (1927-1932). He took the degrees of MB and BCh in 1931, and became an MRCP in 1932.

In 1924 Fordham played Don Adriano in a Gresham's School performance of Love's Labour's Lost.[1]


In 1928, Fordham married Molly Swabey, and their son Max was born in 1933. In 1940, his marriage was dissolved and he married secondly Frieda Hoyle, who died in 1987.

The primary self[edit]

In 1947 Fordham concocted the theory of the primary self as the state of motor-sensory psyche of newborns, or even developed fetuses, as a state of undistinguished homeostasis, wherein self and other is not differentiated, nor the internal and external, or the different components of the internal world. This idea Fordham derived from the Jungian concept of self, as archetype of the totality.

The primary self, which consists of an integral whole, enters into relations with the external world and thereby begins its disintegration, as the inherent dynamics of its archetypes become active and begin their development. There is also a corresponding loss of wholeness within the interior world during this process. But while the integral state of the primary self is lost, there is an alternating process of disintegration and reintegration which informs the progressive development of the psyche and which distinguishes it from the infant's.

Career summary[edit]

  • 1932: Junior Medical Officer, Long Grove Mental Hospital, Epsom
  • 1933: Begins to read Jung
  • 1934: Fellow in Child Psychiatry, London Child Guidance Clinic
  • 1934-1936: in analysis with H. G. Baynes
  • 1934: visits Zurich to meet Jung, intending to train with him
  • 1935-1936: Spends a year as a General Practitioner in Barking
  • 1936: in analysis with Hilde Kirsch
  • 1936: part-time consultant at child guidance clinic in Nottingham
  • 1942: Consultant psychiatrist to evacuated children in Nottingham area
  • 1945: appointed co-editor of English translation of C. G. Jung's Collected Works
  • 1946: a founder of the Society of Analytical Psychology
  • 1946: Consultant to the Child Guidance Clinic at the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases, London
  • 1947: Degree of MD
  • 1971: Founder Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry
  • 1970s: Working at the Tavistock Clinic on mother-child observations


  • The Life of Childhood (1944)
  • New Developments in Analytical Psychology (1957)
  • The Objective Psyche (1958)
  • Children as Individuals (1969, revised from The Life of Childhood)
  • The Self and Autism (1976)
  • The Making of an Analyst: a memoir (London: Free Association Books, 1993)

From 1945, Fordham was co-editor of the English translation of The Collected Works of C. G. Jung.

From 1955 to 1970 he was editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology


  1. ^ Love's Labour's Lost Performance At Gresham's School in The Times, Wednesday, July 9, 1924 (Issue 43699); p. 12, col C

External links[edit]