Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Dunbar, Helen Flanders

  • Curtis W. HartEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_242

Dunbar’s Life

Helen Flanders Dunbar was a medieval scholar, a seminary graduate, and a practicing psychiatrist with an abiding interest in psychosomatic medicine. She was born into a well-to-do family in Chicago in May of 1902 and suffered from a variety of illnesses of unclear origin as a child. She was raised primarily by three strong women who invested a great deal in her. They were her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, all of whom anticipated great accomplishments in her future. She graduated from the Brearley School in New York and went on to attend college at Bryn Mawr where she majored in both mathematics and psychology with an interest in psychology of religion in particular. Dunbar then undertook graduate studies in Comparative Literature at Columbia and attended Union Theological Seminary at the same time. At Union, she met Anton Boisen who engaged her interests in the clinical training program for clergy and seminarians that he was starting at Worcester (Massachusetts)...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Hart, C. (1996). Helen Flanders Dunbar: Physician, medievalist, enigma. Journal of Religion and Health, 35(1), 47–58.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Powell, R. (1974). Healing and wholeness: Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902–1959): An extra medical origin of the American psychosomatic movement, 1906–1936. Durham: Duke.Google Scholar
  3. Stokes, A. (1985). Ministry after Freud. New York: Pilgrim.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Weill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA