Tribute for Calvin Settlage, MD

Tribute for Calvin Settlage, M.D.

by Steven Frankel, M.D. & Shahla Chehrazi, M.D.

It will be hard for us who were close to him to get used to a world that doesn't include Cal Settlage. Cal died on November 21, 2013 in a nursing home in Huntsville, Arkansas after a series of strokes. He was born on November 25, 1921 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. His early years are in ways epitomized by stories of accompanying his minister father when he preached at rural churches.

What, you might ask, was a prominent analyst, the previous head of the Child Analysis Division of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Chairman of the Education Committee of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Association (now the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis), author of multiple widely quoted articles published in prominent psychoanalytic journals, and sought after lecturer, doing in Huntsville Arkansas?

Well you're not alone. We all asked the same question. The "we" here, are those who loved and worked with Cal. (If you didn't know him you missed a remarkable human being, the mainstays of his identity just as I've represented him, integrity and compassion.) Cal retired to Arkansas and over the following few years slowly disappeared. Communication became less and less frequent. Honestly, we all missed him and did all we could to get him to at least visit intermittently. But, Cal had moved to be with his Son, a contractor turned farmer, his daughter, and Gladys his
wife. Mostly what we heard was about how his neighbors generously shared their heavy equipment and that this was a “ good life with good people."

So, Cal is gone. (So are his closest colleagues, Phil Spielman, Joe Afterman, and Shirley Cooper who along with others like myself were the mainstay of the "Mount Zion Child Department.") Mount Zion is transformed. It no longer is the
preparatory institution for training at "the Institute."

But, the ruminants of his legacy in psychoanalysis are strong. Cal championed what he called a "developmental" point of view, psychoanalysis viewed not just through the progression of psychosocial stages and ego development, but instead through the unfolding of the self and self with other through the "separation-individuation process." The two following references frame it all: Separation-Individuation, Essays in Honor of Margaret S. Mahler (Mahler trained Cal), McDevitt and Settlage, 1971, IUP; New Ideas in Psychoanalysis, The Process of Change in Humanistic Science, edited by Calvin F. Settlage and Reed Brockbank, 1985, The Analytic Press.

If you didn't know Cal you missed a truly great man. Or, better said, a truly great human being.

Go to top