Otto Kernberg was born in Vienna in 1928 and is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Kernberg is originally from Austria, but has US citizenship.

Otto Kernberg has defined his theoretical approach as Ego and Object Relations Psychology, in which the three leading psychoanalytic models converge. Kernberg, starting from the limits found in Freud's drive theory, i.e. the inability to give adequate explanations for the complexity of human motivation, referring to Margaret Mahler's theory, focused on the process of separation-individuation, and Edith Jacobson's theory, with its definition of the representational world, i.e. images or past experiences from which cognitive maps of the external world are derived, formulated a new theory on personality disorders.