American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) Update

American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) Update

by Gary Grossman, Ph.D., SFCP’s Executive Councilor


Those of you who subscribe to APsaA’s Listservs are aware of the conflicts taking place within our national association. What follows is a brief summary of recent events and the current status within the association. Please keep in mind that this is my personal understanding of the recent history and current state of affairs, and there may be omissions and misunderstandings on my part.

Conflicting Views of the APsaA Organizational Structure
There are two organizational bodies currently in dispute within the Association: The Executive Council (EC) and The Board of Professional Standards (BOPS). The Executive Council is made up of the President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, 8 elected Councilors, and a Councilor representative from each affiliated institute or society. The Chair and Secretary of BOPS, and the past-President and past-Secretary serve as ex-officio members of the EC. According to the New York state laws regulating not for profit organizations, the APsaA Executive Council functions as the association’s Board of Directors. The Board of Professional Standards is comprised of 2 representatives (Fellows) from each training institute, Chair, Secretary, and past-Chair (who serves as Fellow-at-large for 3 years). Currently, all Fellows must be certified members of APsaA. SFCP’s current Fellows are Erik Gann and Steve Goldberg. The Chair and Secretary are Training or Supervising Analysts, are elected by the Board, and need not be Fellows. The BOPS is responsible for establishing the prerequisites for psychoanalytic education and clinical training; for setting the minimum standards for training; for approval of affiliated training institutions; and for issuing a Certification in Psychoanalysis to individuals who have met these standards as demonstrated by examination and evaluation by the BOPS.

As the Board of Directors of the organization, the Executive Council sees itself as responsible for all aspects of the Association, including education and training, and sees the BOPS as the committee, established by the Board of Directors, which oversees educational functions throughout the association. However, the leadership of BOPS, and an unspecified percentage of the BOPS Fellows, sees BOPS as the sole authority over educational standards and procedures.

The Current Areas of Dispute
For the past decade, or more, there has been an ongoing dispute within the Association over the Training Analyst system. There are some within the organization that would like to modify the personal analysis requirement for training to allow candidates free choice over their personal analyst. Under the current bylaws, candidates must be in analysis with an APsaA Training Analyst, unless the non-TA analyst has been granted a waiver. The other area of dispute is with regards to the requirement of Certification for all Training and Supervising Analysts.

For the past couple of years, the EC has asked the BOPS to establish objective and verifiable criteria for the appointment of TA’s. When BOPS failed to complete this task by the January 2013 meeting of APsaA, the EC passed a resolution establishing a temporary set of objective and verifiable criteria for the appointment of TA’s, to be in effect until the BOPS established permanent criteria. In response, seven BOPS Fellows filed a lawsuit against APsaA to prevent the implementation of the new set of standards for TA appointment. In August, the court ruled in favor of the seven plaintiffs. Subsequently, the leadership of APsaA filed an appeal, which has not yet been ruled on.

SFCP and APsaA

There will be a meeting for all interested SFCP members on Saturday, December 14, 10am – noon, to hear from our representatives to APsaA and to discuss our relationship with the national organization. This will also be an opportunity for members to communicate thoughts, feelings and opinions directly, so that the Center’s views can be accurately represented at the upcoming APsaA meeting in January. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts via email with me, Bill Glover, or our BOPS Fellows: Erik Gann and Steve Goldberg.

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