Nancy Popp

Nancy Popp, Ed.D. is a developmental psychologist specializing in adult development. She did her graduate work in the ’80s with Robert Kegan at Harvard and has become one of the foremost experts on the Subject-Object Interview, a measure developed by Kegan and colleagues to assess the complexity of an individual’s meaning-making. She continues to collaborate with Dr. Kegan on various projects.

Nancy’s research and educational interests revolve around the ways in which adults “manage” their relationships, specifically how they understand and deal with conflict. Her doctoral work focused on psychological boundaries and the developmental implications of the ways in which adults define and manage closeness and distance in their relationships, an issue which is often at the heart of conflict. Her collaboration for many years with Richard McGuigan around the developmental implications in understanding and mediating conflict has further deepened and refined her interest in the issue of conflict and psychological boundaries.

As a developmental psychologist, parent, partner, and passionate gardener, Nancy brings her intrepid curiosity to all things that grow. Gardening perfectly presents the inherent individuality, even within the species, of the developmental process – each species of plant has its own developmental timetable and agenda. There is no rushing a wisteria into bloom. Nor is there any amount of cajoling and fertilizing that will turn a wisteria into a tomato, or a cactus into a leafy tropical plant. And why would anyone want to do such a thing in the first place? Such are the lessons which provide comfort and perspective in the parenting of a willful and precocious nine-year-old boy, and in the attempts to understand the unique meaning and experience of conflict for each of us.