San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
SAN FRANCISCO PSYCHOANALYTIC SOCIETY AND INSTITUTE
Psychoanalytic training came to the United States first on the Atlantic seaboard during the 1930s with the establishment of institutes connected with societies in New York, Boston, and the Baltimore-Washington area and then, in one extension westward, in Chicago. A decade later, in the early 1940s, a society and institute were established for the first time west of the Mississippi River, in Topeka, Kansas, by Karl and Will Menninger, who had been trained psychoanalytically by commuting to Chicago during the 1930s. The Topeka institute was authorized to sponsor all training in the western part of the United States, including California.
The San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute was established in 1942 as part of the combined California Psychoanalytic Society (a joint society of Los Angeles and San Francisco), both branches being under the direction and supervision of the Topeka society and institute. The initial ten charter members of the new society (in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with one even in New York) were William G. Barrett, Bernhard Berliner, Otto Fenichel, George Gero, Bernard A. Kamm, Jascha Kasanin, Donald McFarlane, Douglass W. Orr, Ernst Simmel, and Emanuel Windholz. Because of the strictures of the American Psychoanalytic Association at that time against the training or membership of nonphysicians (lay analysts), the local nonmedical members of the analytic community (Frances Deri in Los Angeles and Siegfried Bernfeld, Erik Erikson, and Anna Mänchen in San Francisco) had to be designated as honorary members in the local society, not eligible for membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association. Almost all of these charter members in the new California society were refugees from Hitler's Europe who had immigrated to America in the 1930s. In the latter half of the 1930s they started an informal psychoanalytic study group in San Francisco. This group was open to all interested medical or academic individuals, whether they had been psychoanalytically trained or not. One of the most prominent and active participants of the group was Robert Oppenheimer, the famed nuclear scientist, then at the University of California at Berkeley.
From these initial members, soon joined by others (such as David Brunswick, Ralph Greenson, Norman Reider, and May Romm), the California Psychoanalytic Society grew rapidly in the post-World War II boom years, and soon separated into two organizations. With candidacy limited at the time to psychiatric physicians, the San Francisco Society and Institute drew some candidates from among those in psychiatric training at the two local medical schools, Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco, but the Departments of Psychiatry at both these medical schools, despite having a number of psychoanalysts on their clinical teaching faculty, were quite unfriendly to psychoanalysis and thus furnished fewer psychoanalytic candidates than the next source.
The greater bulk of the candidates came rather from the Department of Psychiatry of the Mt. Zion Hospital, a local independent Jewish clinical and teaching hospital. Its Department of Psychiatry was established when, in the late 1930s, it recruited as chief the psychoanalyst Jascha Kasanin from Chicago (who was, as stated above, one of the charter members of the California Psychoanalytic Society). Over a three-decade period, he was succeeded as chief by psychoanalysts Norman Reider, Edward Weinshel, and Robert Wallerstein. During this same period the department grew in scope in its training of residents in adult and child psychiatry and also, in accord with its multidisciplinary commitments, in its training of graduate and postgraduate students in clinical psychology and psychiatric social work, growing to a size and prominence that rivaled the training programs at the two medical schools.
This deeply psychoanalytic Department of Psychiatry became so well-known nationally that internship applications to this regional Jewish hospital came from all over the country, with the majority of the interns coming so that they could vie for acceptance into specialty training in the Department of Psychiatry, often to the dismay of the medical and surgical specialties, which competed for interns. Over a fifteen-year period (1973-1988), the Mt. Zion Department of Psychiatry conducted a Doctor of Mental Health program, a five-year experimental program for psychoanalytically informed mental-health practitioners, in content an amalgam of the most relevant aspects of separate disciplinary training in clinical psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychiatric social work. This program furnished a substantial additional cadre of applicants for full psychoanalytic training at the San Francisco Institute (see Wallerstein, 1978, 1991, for a detailed account of the Doctor of Mental Health).
Until the early 1960s the San Francisco Society and Institute had no building. Its seminars and supervisions were held in institute instructors' and supervisors' private offices, which were primarily in the clusters of medical office buildings surrounding Mt. Zion Hospital, and the monthly scientific meetings were held in the hospital auditorium. When the San Francisco Society and Institute did erect a building, on the site where it still stands, it was kitty-corner from Mt. Zion Hospital. About half the training analysts in the institute, plus other graduate analysts, held part-time salaried administrative and teaching positions on the Mt. Zion Hospital staff, and the Department of Psychiatry at the hospital served much like a prep school for the institute. Psychiatric trainees hoped to enhance their chances to be accepted as a candidate at the institute by impressing their psychotherapy supervisors and their clinical and theoretical seminar leaders who were also institute faculty members.
During the 1960s and 1970s, serious tensions over training issues arose within the Education Committee and threatened to split the institute. One of the principle protagonists in these battles regularly urged Robert Wallerstein, as chief of psychiatry at Mt. Zion Hospital, to join him and other training analysts on the Mt. Zion staff and split from the San Francisco society to found an alternative and rival Mt. Zion Psychoanalytic Society. One of Wallerstein's periodic tasks was to block this move. The internecine difficulties at the institute were finally resolved by the end of the 1970s, and the integrity of the society and institute has not been threatened since.
During the 1980s the long-simmering struggles within the American Psychoanalytic Association came to a head over the issue of accepting nonmedical mental-health professionals (for the most part, clinical psychologists and psychiatric social workers) for full clinical psychoanalytic training. In early 1985 four clinical psychologists, on behalf of a presumed class of many thousands, instigated a lawsuit against the American Psychoanalytic Association for its restrictive training and membership policies, a suit based on Sherman Antitrust grounds. They had the full backing of Division 39, the psychoanalytic division, of the American Psychological Association. (See Wallerstein, 1998, for a detailed accounting of the almost century-long struggle over this issue until its final resolution with the settlement of the lawsuit in 1988.) Many of the leading figures in the San Francisco society and institute had long been in the substantial minority within the American Psychoanalytic Association, who favored opening its doors to full clinical training of nonphysicians. As early as the early 1970s, Stanley Goodman, then the chairperson of the Education Committee of the San Francisco institute, led a finally successful effort to get the American Psychoanalytic Association to accord membership to the dozen or so nonmedical training analysis in institutes around the country, who, to that point, had not been allowed as members, though those they trained were, of course, eligible. This enabled Anna Mänchen, the one nonmedical analyst from the original nonmedical trio of founding members of the psychoanalytic group in San Francisco and a long-time training analyst at the San Francisco Institute, to become an official member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
While the 1984-1985 countrywide planning for the lawsuit against the American Psychoanalytic Association was underway, a group of nonmedical mental-health professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area were planning a similar suit, and they were actually given moral and financial support by a significant number of members of the San Francisco institute, including the then chairperson of its Education Committee, Daniel Greenson, even though those who supported the effort were at the same time members of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the parent organization that was planning a vigorous resistance to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was settled in October 1988, and under the terms of the settlement, nonmedical mental-health professionals became eligible for candidacy, and later membership, in the institutes and societies of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and organized psychoanalytic training centers outside the American Psychoanalytic Association could qualify for membership in the International Psychoanalytical Association if they met its standards. Before the settlement of the lawsuit, membership in the International Psychoanalytical Association was possible in the United States only through the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Although the local group in the San Francisco Bay Area never filed a lawsuit separate from that of Division 39, the individuals involved in the lawsuit went on in 1989 to create a new and separate entity, the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, with strong assistance from some senior members of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and Institutes. The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California has had a thriving history of over a decade and in 2004 is in the process of working out membership in the International Psychoanalytical Association, outside the American Psychoanalytic Association. During the rise of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, several dissident members of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and Institutes also established a new entity, the San Francisco Institute and Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and it too, now more than a decade later, is in the process of working out membership in the International Psychoanalytical Association outside the framework of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Thus San Francisco now has three mainline psychoanalytic societies and institutes: the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (since 1942 a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association through the American Psychoanalytic Association), and in addition the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California and the San Francisco Institute and Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (two recent groups that became members of the International Psychoanalytical Association outside the American Psychoanalytic Association). San Francisco has also been one of the few American cities with a functioning Jungian Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, with a history of more than a half century. For the last decade it has also had a Lacanian training program inaugurated by two Belgium-trained Lacanian analysts, one from Greece and the other from Germany. In 2004 this amounts to five psychoanalytic groups in the San Francisco Bay area, all seemingly thriving and living together in relative harmony. On occasion, scientific events are organized across more than one of them (usually the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California), and at times, scientific and social events are held for candidates of all five groups.
Yet none of these developments have in any way diminished the intellectual vigor or activity of the original San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. With the 1988 opening of training possibilities for nonmedical mental-health professionals, there was a fresh burst of applications from individuals who had for years been hoping for just this opportunity, and the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society and Institutes has offered a steady curriculum of active classes for candidates through the years since then. This is despite the decline in candidate applications that has beset most institutes of the American Psychoanalytic Association and around the world during these years. This is also despite the collapse of the renowned Department of Psychiatry at Mt. Zion Hospital after the School of Medicine of the University of California at San Francisco took over Mt. Zion Hospital. After Robert Wallerstein left the chair of the university's Department of Psychiatry, which he held from 1975 to 1985 after holding the chair of the Mt. Zion department, his successor as department chair at the university was a biological psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher not friendly to psychoanalysis. Nonetheless, the flow of psychoanalytic candidates from medical and nonmedical sources has continued unabated.
Morale in the society and institute has been consistently high: the educational program has been pointed to in many circles of the American Psychoanalytic Association as a model for the nation; a supportive San Francisco Psychoanalytic Foundation has been established; and plans are now in the final phase for an improved and enlarged physical headquarters for the society and institute on the same site. Such developments promise to continue. Although the San Francisco society is only middle-sized, and not among the larger groups within the American Psychoanalytic Association, two of its members, William Barrett and Robert Wallerstein, have been presidents of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and two other members, Stanley Goodman and Edward Weinshel, have been chairpersons of the Board on Professional Standards, the educational arm of the American Psychoanalytic Association. And from 1985 to 1989, Robert Wallerstein was president of the International Psychoanalytical Association and Edward Weinshel was secretary.
Robert S. Wallerstein
Wallerstein, Robert S. (1978). The mental health professions: Conceptualization and reconceptualization of a new discipline. International Review of Psychoanalysis, 5, 377-392.
——. (Ed.). (1991). The doctorate in mental health: An experiment in mental health professional education. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
——. (1998). Lay analysis: Life inside the controversy. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.