American Psychoanalytic Association

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American Psychoanalytic Association
Formation1911; 111 years ago (1911)
Founded atBaltimore, Maryland, US[1]
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, US
William Glover
Kerry Sulkowicz Edit this at Wikidata

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) is an association of psychoanalysts in the United States. APsaA serves as a scientific and professional organization with a focus on education, research, and membership development.[2]

APsaA comprises 34 training institutes[3] and 38 affiliate societies. Individual mental health practitioners, academics, and researchers who are not affiliated with a psychoanalytic institute or society may belong as associate members.[4] At the association's biannual meetings held in February and June, members convene to exchange ideas, present research, and discuss training and membership issues. APsaA has over 3,000 members, including psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and experimental psychologists, and social workers.[5]


APsaA was founded in 1911[2] by Welsh neurologist and psychoanalyst Ernest Jones, with the support of Sigmund Freud. Other founders of the organization include Adolf Meyer, James Jackson Putnam, G. Lane Taneyhill, John T. MacCurdy, Trigant Burrow, and G. Alexander Young.

APsaA is the second oldest American psychoanalytic organization, after the New York Psychoanalytic Society which was founded a few months before by Abraham Arden Brill.


Membership in APsaA, from its founding in 1911 until 1989, was limited to physicians. A. A. Brill suggested this limitation according to his belief that psychoanalysis could gain acceptance in America only if it were presented as a treatment for a medical disorder. APsaA held to this position even after clinical psychology became a recognized health care profession. In consequence, many members of recognized health care professions, particularly clinical psychologists, were excluded not only from membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association but also from training in its approved institutes. During and following World War II, psychoanalytic education and training were available outside the institutes of APsaA. All who trained in those programs — even physicians — were excluded from APsaA membership.[6]

In the 1980s, members of the American Psychological Association joined in a successful lawsuit against APsaA, challenging these policies. In 1989, APsaA, along with the International Psychoanalytical Association and the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, agreed to admit non-physicians for training on the same basis as physicians.[7]

Relationship with LGBTQ community[edit]

In 1991 APsaA issued a statement allowing training of gay psychoanalysts. In 1992 APsaA prohibited discrimination against gay people when selecting teaching faculty.[8] In 2019 APsaA apologized for having treated homosexuality as a mental illness.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chronological Table of Officers and Meetings" (PDF). New York: American Psychoanalytic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "APsaA Mission & Vision | APsaA". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  3. ^ "Approved Training Institutes". Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Associate Programs". Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  5. ^ "APsaA Community Vision" (PDF). Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  6. ^ Richards, A. (2020). "The Organizational Structure of the American Psychoanalytic Association: The Politics of Exclusion". Psychoanalytic Review. 107 (3): 211–227. doi:10.1521/prev.2020.107.3.211. PMID 32716719. S2CID 220840824.
  7. ^ Goleman, Daniel (October 20, 1988). "Institutes to Admit Psychologists". The New York Times. p. 43. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Stonewall's 50th Anniversary and an Overdue Apology". Psychology Today. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  9. ^ "American Psychoanalytic Association Apologizes for Classifying Homosexuality as Mental Illness". 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-06-26.

External links[edit]