New York Freudian Society

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The New York Freudian Society was founded in 1959 as the New York Society of Freudian Psychologists. (Its name was changed to comply with the New York State Psychology Certification Law.) As of 2004, with more than 200 members, it is the largest independent society within the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). Gisela S. Barinbaum, born in Vienna, founded the Freudian Society with a small group of analysts, many of whom were her patients or supervisees. Like the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (founded in 1958), also an IPA society, and several other New York training institutes, the society was formed by members who split from the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP), founded by Theodor Reik in 1948. The apparent reasons for the split were theoretical differences, but the underlying reasons were probably personal. The national association was considered not sufficiently Freudian in spite of Reik's connection to Freud, and Reik, uninterested in psychoanalytic politics, made no effort to keep members from leaving.

The society grew slowly, having only a small number of members until the mid-1960s, when another younger group of disaffected NPAP members joined the organization and supplanted the original group that had coalesced around Barinbaum. Membership and the body of candidates grew steadily with the addition of analysts from the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and analysts who had "bootleg" training, often by members of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Barinbaum died in 1981, but her influence by that time had become insignificant.

A lawsuit seeking to restrict the mental-therapy trade, brought by members of the American Psychological Association against the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytical Association, proved beneficial to the New York Freudian Society. The settlement of the lawsuit permitted societies to apply to the International Psychoanalytical Association. Site visits by the association followed from 1987 to 1989, and the New York Freudian Society became a provisional member of the association in Rome in 1989 and a component society of the association in Amsterdam in 1993. The Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies, as of 2004, includes four independent American IPA societies.

The society's program of instruction and requirements for graduation follow a model used by the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (which in turn is based on a model of the Berlin Institute for Psychoanlaysis, probably originated by Reik, who taught there). Its four years of course work are best characterized as contemporary Freudian in content. It has a program of instruction in Washington, D.C., and a program in child and adolescent analysis in New York and Washington. Its programs have 100 analysts in training as a result of a less formerly restrictive approach toward who is eligible to become a training analysta carryover from the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. A board of directors governs the society and its attached Psychoanalytic Training Institute. About half its members are psychologists, 40 percent social workers, and 10 percent physicians. The training institute has 100 candidates in various stages of training.

The society sponsors numerous scientific programs, an annual conference, and many study groups and presentations. Its members publish widely and make important contributions to the broader psychoanalytic community. In 2004 almost half of the members of the Freudian Society were graduates of the Psychoanalytic Training Institute.

Joseph Reppen

See also: International Psychoanalytical Association; United States.

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New York Freudian Society

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New York Freudian Society