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George Vaillant, M.D.

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George Vaillant, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School

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Dr. Vaillant is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has spent his research career charting adult development and the recovery process of schizophrenia, heroin addiction, alcoholism, and personality disorder. He has spent the last 35 years as Director of the Study of Adult Development at the Harvard University Health Service. The study has followed the lives of 824 men and women for almost 70 years.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Vaillant did his residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and completed his psychoanalytic training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. He has been a Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists. He has been an invited speaker and consultant for seminars and workshops throughout the world. A major focus of his work in the past has been individual adult development; more recently he has been interested in positive emotions and their relationship to community development. He is a past Class A trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous and is currently on the Steering Committee of Positive Psychology. His published works include Adaptation to Life, 1977, The Wisdom of The Ego, 1993, The Natural History of Alcoholism-Revisited, 1995, and Aging Well, 2002. His most recent book is on the positive emotions, Spiritual Evolution, published in 2008.

Awards and Credentials

  1. Foundations Fund Prize for Research in Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association
  2. Strecker Award from the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital
  3. Jellinek Award for Research in Alcoholism
  4. The Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychiatric Association

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Recommended Reading List

  • Spiritual Evolution. Vaillant, G.E. (2008). Broadway Books.
  • The Great Transformation. Armstrong, K. (2006). New York: Knopf.
  • Looking for Spinoza. Damasio, A. (2003). Harcourt.


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