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The American Psychoanalytic Association is an organization of psychoanalysts within the United States. There are approximately 3200 members. Its parent organization is the International Psychoanalytic Association.
Largely stemming from the immigration of emininent European Jews during the Holocaust, the APsaA became the world's dominant psychoanalytic organization in the years following World War II. Through the 1970's, psychopharmacology and rival psychotherapies were limited in scope and efficacy, and psychoanalysis became the gold standard for psychological treatment as well as a professional organization that inspired the sort of creative intellectual thought that inspired both academics and lay people.
This intellectual rigor and philosophical hegemony was, however, accompanied by significant conservatism. For example, until the early 1990's, the APsaA was limited to heterosexual physicians who were willing to accept significant technical orthodoxy. Many of these strictures have been loosened. Psychologists and social workers are being accepted in greater numbers. There is no longer a rigid view of normal growth and development, which, in turn, has led not only to a greater intellectual curiosity into the varieties of normal development but to increasing numbers of gay and lesbian psychoanalysts.
The organization faces significant challenges. Many of its members are nearing retirement. While psychotherapy has become increasingly popular, psychoanalysis has waned in popularity for a variety of reasons, including cost and the required time commitment. This has led to a reduction of the pipeline of future psychoanalysts, particularly outside of a few large cities.
Psychoanalysis has become firmly entrenched as a point of view within many people and within a variety of competing organizations. While the APsaA has been the dominant analytic organization in the world for the past half century, it faces significant challenges if it is to maintain its primary place in both the production of ideas and the structuring of the treatment.
Aims of organisation
- From the website:
- The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), the oldest national psychoanalytic organization in the nation, was founded in 1911. APsaA, as a professional organization for psychoanalysts, focuses on education, research and membership development. In addition to the national organization, APsaA’s membership includes 30 accredited training institutes and 39 affiliate societies throughout the United States. Since its founding, APsaA has been a component of the International Psychoanalytical Association, the largest worldwide psychoanalytic organization.
- APsaA has developed vibrant and innovative programming for the mental health profession and the general public. The Association and its more than 3,500 highly trained members gather at biannual meetings in January and June to exchange ideas, present research papers, and discuss training and membership issues. Many public activities relating to psychoanalysis are presented by the APsaA’s affiliated societies and by institutes which have the highest level of training for psychoanalysts.
- These programs provide forums for the exchange of new ideas and highlight the contribution of psychoanalytic principles in helping to understand important social problems. To further the dissemination of psychoanalytic ideas, APsaA publishes the highly respected peer-reviewed quarterly, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (JAPA).
- A major responsibility of APsaA is to establish and maintain high educational standards as well as high professional standards. APsaA works to ensure that its members meet rigorous training standards.
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