Volney P. Gay, PhD

(615) 305-5025
3910 Gen Bate Drive
Nashville, TN 37204


Dr. Volney Gay retired in August 2018 as Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Religious Studies, and Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute and a member of Section I, Division 39, American Psychological Association. He has published nine books on religion, psychiatry, and anthropology. He has won teaching awards from McMaster University and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; he won the Heinz Hartmann Award given by the New York Psychoanalytic Institute; the Outstanding Service Award, The American Psychoanalytic Association; and was named Distinguished Psychoanalytic Educator, International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education. His most recent book is On the Pleasures of Owning Persons. With Tom Campbell he founded the Nashville Psychoanalytic Study Group in 1992. In 2010, he endowed the Barbara Gay Lecture in Child Psychiatry in Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Books: 1979 Freud on Ritual: Reconstruction and Critique. American Academy of Religion; 1983 Reading Freud: Neurosis, Psychology, Religion. American Academy of Religion; 1984 Reading Jung: Science, Psychology and Religion. American Academy of Religion; 1989 Understanding the Occult: Fragmentation and Repair of the Self. Fortress Press; 1992 Freud on Sublimation: Reconsiderations. State University of New York Press; 2001 Joy and the Objects of Psychoanalysis. State University of New York Press; 2009 Progress in the Humanities. Columbia University Press; 2009 Neuroscience and Religion. Ed. Rowman & Littlefield; 2016:  On The Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery.


Gay, V. (2016). Why all Americans should celebrate Juneteenth. Time magazine online.

Awards: 2012 Outstanding Teacher Award, Vanderbilt University Department of Psychiatry

Podcast: Vertigo – A Film Analysis  Listen HERE