Peter Hartocollis, 90, psychiatrist

Peter Hartocollis
Peter Hartocollis
Posted: October 02, 2013

Peter Hartocollis, 90, of Mount Airy, a psychiatrist, academic, and former director of the Menninger Foundation hospital in Topeka, Kan., died Tuesday, Sept. 24, at his home of complications from Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Hartocollis divided his time between Athens, Greece, and Mount Airy. He was one of the first to describe borderline personality disorder, a long-term pattern of unstable or turbulent emotions that can lead to impulsivity and chaotic relationships with others. His collaborator was Otto Kernberg, now at Weill Cornell Medical College.

In Greece, Dr. Hartocollis was known as the father of contemporary psychoanalysis, having introduced its use there, according to his daughter Lina. He was a leader, thinker, and prolific writer among the post-World War II psychiatrists trained in classic Freudian analysis, his daughter said.

Born in Greece, Dr. Hartocollis came to the United States as a student and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology at Clark University, Worcester, Mass.

He completed his medical degree at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and his doctorate in clinical psychology at Michigan State University.

In 1957, Dr. Hartocollis began a residency in psychiatry and neurology at the Menninger School of Psychiatry, then in Topeka. He rose to director of the C.F. Menninger Memorial Hospital, a pioneering psychiatric clinic that attracts therapists from around the world. The clinic moved to Houston in 2003.

In 1980, Dr. Hartocollis returned to Greece to become professor and founding chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Patras. Armed with his credentials from the United States, he began training analysts in Greece.

He had returned here last December, settling in Mount Airy, and was still training analysts from a home office until just before his death, his daughter said.

Dr. Hartocollis wrote and edited widely in his field and also authored a series of novels rooted in his youth during the German occupation of Mani, a village in a remote part of southern Greece.

Although often immersed in work or study, Dr. Hartocollis was "a very benevolent father," his daughter said.

"He was very kind to children," she said. "He would turn and give us a smile and hear our chatter about the day's events."

Surviving, besides his daughter, are his wife Calliope; a son, Thomas; another daughter, Anemona; and six grandchildren.

Services and burial were private. Online condolences may be sent to


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