James Harris Hansell

November 24, 1955April 20, 2013

James Harris Hansell, 57, died on Saturday, Apri1 20th, 2013. At the time of his death he was being treated in Boston for amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder. He had recently received a stem cell transplant which appeared to have successfully put the disease into remission. But while recovering from the transplant, he contracted influenza which could not be controlled. He fought the infection with valor, tenacity, and bravery for over a week, surrounded by his loving family.

Jim was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 24, 1955, to Jeanne and Herbert Hansell. He attended the Shaker Heights Schools, then Amherst College, where he majored in Philosophy and played on the soccer team. Jim received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1988, and served on the Michigan Psychology faculty for many years. He was trained at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, where he eventually became a training and supervising analyst, a highly regarded teacher of candidates, president of the Psychoanalytic Society, and a valuable member of many committees on the local, national and international levels. Jim was a generous and creative psychologist and psychoanalyst. He was also an accomplished scholar with interests ranging from the neurosciences to gender studies. His undergraduate textbook on Abnormal Psychology received rave reviews. The book, co-authored with Lisa Damour, grew out of Jim's experience teaching psychopathology at Michigan, where he mentored many generations of students. Jim left Michigan in January, 2012, to accept an appointment as a full professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was also Director of Clinical Training in the doctoral program in clinical psychology.

Jim is survived by his wife Andrea (Andy), a clinical psychologist and writer, his daughter Julie, a graduate student in sports administration at Ball State University, his son Adam, a junior and psychology major at The College of Wooster, and by his father Herbert, brother David, and sister Linda.

Jim was a devoted husband and loving, involved father, participating in triathlons with Julie and coaching soccer for Adam. In addition to being an avid sports fan, Jim was an accomplished guitarist, playing in an Ann Arbor rock band, The Spaceheaters, and as an accompanist for the Thurston Community Players’ annual musicals. Jim will be remembered for his warm smile, his keen intellect, his playful sense of humor, his kindness, and his deep sense of morality. He loved his family and friends deeply and generously, and enthusiastically embraced a life he viewed as satisfying and fulfilling both personally and professionally. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24th at Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, followed by burial at Arborcrest Cemetery, 2521 Glazier Way, Ann Arbor, 48105. Afterwards, friends are invited to gather for a luncheon at Temple Beth Emeth.

The family will be sitting Shiva Wednesday night at the home of Kirk Brower and Claire Weiner, 1255 Severn Court, Ann Arbor, 48105; Shiva will continue Thursday night at the home of Robert Cohen and Ruth Moscow-Cohen, 1101 Berkshire Road, Ann Arbor, 48104. Services will be at 7:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to one of the following charities: 1) The Boston University School of Medicine Amyloid Research Fund, 72 East Concord Street, K-503, Boston, MA 02118. The Boston Medical Amyloidosis team provided an awe-inspiring level of care to Jim from the time of his diagnosis, and the goal of their ongoing research is to find more and better treatments for this disease. 2) The American Psychoanalytic Association, (Teacher's Academy-Undergraduate), 309 East 49th Street,New York, New York 10017-1601. This fund provides opportunities for clinical teachers in psychiatry residency, psychology graduate and undergraduate, and social work programs to engage in professional development designed to facilitate their interest in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, and help them increase their teaching effectiveness. Jim will be forever missed by his family and many friends, colleagues, students and patients


James Harris Hansell

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June 20, 2014

Dr. Hansell radically improved my life. I started treatment with him in miserable shape, and am now happy and functional. His kindness, insight, and sensitivity were just what I needed to grow into the man I wanted to be. My wife and I will always think of him with deep gratitude; without him, we could never have found each other and made it work. If he did nothing else good in his life, his work with me would have been enough, but I am humbled to read of all the other people whom he touched. He is profoundly missed, but his memory shines brightly in my life.

Helen Wu

November 14, 2013

Dr. Hansell was one of my favorite professors at the University of Michigan. He was a kind and understanding professor who taught me a lot about psychoanalysis and helped me with my career path. I am very sad to learn that he has passed.

Naomi Kane

October 10, 2013

Dr. Hansell's Abnormal Psych class at the University of Michigan inspired me to pursue a career in Psychology. I found him to be incredibly engaging and knowledgeable. He had a good set of humor and an incredibly breadth of experience. He will be missed by so many.

Keltia Franke

September 4, 2013

Professor Hansell mentored me during my Psychology studies at the University of Michigan. I was first introduced to him through my Abnormal Psychology class. I was intrigued by his insight and passion, and together we worked in the Philosophy of Science in Clinical Psychology. Within this lab we conducted research, published our findings, and traveled to Psychology Conferences. His dedication was infections, and made many opportunities within the field possible to myself and others. It is with a heavy heart that I have learned of his passing; when others would only tell me I was able to be my "ought-to" self, James made me feel it was possible to be my "ideal-self". For this I am eternally grateful. I never had the opportunity to tell him this, and can only hope this message is read by others.

Charles Samenow

June 13, 2013

I had the honor of being a teaching assistant in many of Dr. Hansell's psych classes. He was a role model as a clinician and teacher. I use many of the materials from his classes now in my own classes at the George Washington University School of Medicine and believe that my recent teaching award is based on the skills, commitment and dedication I learned from him. I was so excited when I learned he came to join our faculty here at GWU and I would have the opportunity to teach along with him. This is a tremendous loss. But, I imagine his legacy will live on given that probably a good portion of the state of Michigan learned psychology from him!

Herbert Weiner

June 9, 2013

I knew Jim through the Sport and Psychoanalysis presentations at the American Psychoanalytic Association meetings.
While I was not one of his close colleagues or friends, I knew Jim through his enthusiasm, smile and radiant affect. For me, that told me his whole life. He was able to integrate sport with psychoanalysis--a healthy and rare combination. I am greatly saddened by his loss. I have remembered him in the Kaddish in my synagogue. He has left an indelible memory and impression in my life.

Matt Kheir

May 26, 2013

Dr. Hansell was a great professor who made lectures both engaging and exciting. His teachings would motivate me to take more psychology classes and encouraged me into the field of medicine. He was very helpful during/before&after class. He was a good example of a great professor and person and he will always be missed.

Mike Kheir

May 25, 2013

Dr. Hansell was one of the few who inspired me to study psychology at UMich and was a good friend. He was one of my favorite professors. God bless you all.

May 10, 2013

Dr. Hansell was an extraordinary human being. He changed my life because of his warmth and kindness and rigorous intellect. I am so saddened and shocked that he has passed away. My deepest condolences go to his family and all of those who were touched by him. He is very much alive in my heart.

The Earland Family

April 29, 2013

We will miss James' presence and his beautiful smile. May the love and the special memory you shared with him show just how much your life was touched by him. Please accept my deepest sympathy for loss. Please find comfort in Psalms 55:22.