Psychoanalytic Consortium

History of the Consortium

A Short History of the Consortium of Psychoanalytic Organizations


The Psychoanalytic Consortium traces its origin to a phone call in 1991 from George Allison, M.D., President of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), to Jonathan Slavin, Ph.D., President of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association.  Earlier, GAPPP (Group for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Psychology), with the support of Division 39 and many of its members filed a lawsuit against APsaA for anti-trust practices restricting psychoanalytic training for psychologists and other mental health professionals.  Following the settlement of the lawsuit Allison called Slavin to initiate a more collegial and cooperative relationship. Division 39 was receptive.

An initial meeting between Slavin and Allison and others from APsaA took place in 1991 in Washington DC. These initial discussions were followed on October 9, 1992 by the first official Consortium meeting, chaired by Leopold Caligor, Ph.D., Division 39 President. Representatives attended from four organizations: the American Psychoanalytic Association, Division 39, the American Academy of Psychoanalysis (since 2002 - the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, AAPDP; since 2018 - the American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis), and the National Membership Committee for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (since 2007- the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, AAPCSW). Each organization had to approve its participation in the Consortium. This was accomplished by 1994.

The Consortium established bylaws, which included the provision that a consensus would be required from all organizational members for an action to pass. As with the permanent members of the UN Security Council, any group could veto any action. Each organization had to agree on every motion, opinion or written document the Consortium produces.

At first, the Consortium met once or twice a year, but when work began on the Standards of Psychoanalytic Education the meetings increased to four times a year.  Once the Standards document was completed the Consortium settled into a schedule of twice-a-year meetings, one in the fall and one in the spring.  The Chair of each meeting rotates among the organizational members.

The Consortium versus the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis

At first, the Consortium focused on responding to the proposed Clinton Health Care reforms. The group wrote an extensive mental health benefits proposal.  However, when the Clinton health care reforms failed to be enacted by Congress, the Consortium coalesced around opposing the effort of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP) to become the sole federally-approved accrediting body for psychoanalysis.  This effort would prove so considerable that later it would mistakenly seem that the Consortium was founded initially to oppose NAAP.  The Consortium and NAAP (and its accrediting arm ABAP) differed in significant ways regarding institute training and accreditation criteria.  The Consortium, initially following a definition adopted by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (then NMCOP), and The American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, regarded psychoanalysis as an advanced specialization of the mental health professions. According to this early model, psychoanalytic training should follow the completion of training in a one of the three mental health disciplines. In addition, the Consortium established national training standards endorsed by all its member groups, and codified these in its Standards of Psychoanalytic Education. These included the principle that psychoanalysis is a treatment characterized by depth and intensity, and accordingly, should be conducted at a frequency of three to five times per week. The Standards document also defined who can supervise and analyze candidates. NAAP asserts that psychoanalysis is an independent profession and sets no standard regarding prior mental health training, licensure or frequency of weekly sessions of psychoanalysis.

The Department of Education disqualified NAAP as a potential national accrediting agency because NAAP conducted only internal accreditation. There were no means to establish external accrediting of institutes. When it failed on the federal level, NAAP moved to a state-by-state approach, working through state legislatures.  NAAP was successful in New York, New Jersey and Vermont in legislating psychoanalysis by its criteria, criteria far less rigorous than those of the Consortium. In 2000, the Psychoanalytic Consortium representatives agreed on wording for The Psychoanalytic Consortium Guidelines for Establishing Certification or Licensing of Psychoanalysis.  However, not all the boards of the member organizations ratified the document.  Consequently, it was put aside. When the New York licensing law for psychoanalysts was introduced and passed, the Consortium members recognized that the Guidelines would have been helpful in opposing this legislation.  To prevent being in this position again, the Consortium organizations passed the Guidelines in 2004.  These remain in place to oppose unacceptable licensing laws in other states where this matter may arise.  Nevertheless, the absence of federal regulation governing psychoanalytic training has continued to hinder efforts to oppose NAAP at the state level.

The Consortium’s Standards for Psychoanalytic Education and the Accreditation Council for Psychoanalytic Education

By the 1990s it was evident that consensually accepted standards for psychoanalytic education would be beneficial. Drafting such a document was challenging. The Consortium bylaws required unanimity for approval of actions.  Thus, in order for the standards document for psychoanalytic education to be ratified, all member organizations had to be in total agreement and pledge to maintain these standards. The Consortium was able to reach a critical agreement that frequency of analytic sessions for candidates in training would be 3-5 per week. No statement could include any wording that favored one level of frequency over another.  Furthermore, ‘analyst of candidates’ replaced the term ‘training analyst’. This was needed to eliminate the concerns that one organization’s preference for a specific system to designate training analysts not be imposed on all.  Remarkably, the compromises passed and the organizations comprising the Consortium ratified the Standards of Psychoanalytic Education.

On March 4, 1994, on a motion by Crayton Rowe of NMCOP, the Consortium sought to establish a not-for-profit body that would accredit psychoanalytic institutes.  This independent corporation became the Accreditation Council for Psychoanalytic Education, Inc. (, incorporated in 2001, the same year the Standards of Psychoanalytic Education were ratified.  As soon as it became independent of the Consortium, the new corporation had responsibility for maintaining or amending the Standards.  The component organizations of the Consortium contributed well over $100,000 to serve as seed money for the new ACPEinc.  Organizations contributed in proportion to the numbers in their membership. Additionally, GAPPP contributed significant start-up funds. The first president of ACPEinc was Nathan Stockhamer. He was succeeded by Sheila Hafter Gray who was elected twice and currently serves as its president. The ACPEinc maintains standards and performs site visits, accrediting institutes in keeping with its mandate.  There are currently 12 institutes accredited. Recently, the ACPEinc received what is called a "federal link," which is the first step to recognition by the U.S. Education Department.  Federal recognition enables acceptance of federal funds that institutes accredited by ACPE can receive. To assure complete independence for ACPEinc, a firewall has existed between the Consortium and ACPEinc since its incorporation in 2001.

Additional Consortium Accomplishments

The Consortium had successes in areas beyond the Guidelines and generating consensual standards for training psychoanalysts and engendering the agency for accrediting psychoanalytic institutes. APsaA invited all the member organizations of the Consortium to join them in their submission of an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, Jaffe v Redmond, which involved the privacy of therapy records. The Court found for the plaintiff. Consequently, therapy process notes are regarded legally as personal to the therapist and as separate from patients’ medical records.

The component organizations of the Consortium along with the International Psychoanalytic Association participated in the publication of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual, referred to as PDM-1.  The effort was spearheaded by Stanley Greenspan who invited the Consortium’s component organizations to nominate members to join subcommittees examining aspects of psychodynamic diagnosis. The final document was largely written by Stanley Greenspan and Nancy McWilliams.  A second edition, PDM-2, edited by Vittorio Lingiardi and Nancy McWilliams, published by Guilford Press, appeared in 2017.

Additionally, representatives from the four component organizations edited Freud at 150: 21st Essays on a Man of Genius, published in 2008 by Jason Aronson and Roman & Littlefield in collaboration with the Austrian Embassy.  The editors were. Joseph P. Merlino, Marilyn S. Jacobs, Judy Ann Kaplan, and K. Lynne Moritz. The book was composed of proceedings of a daylong symposium organized and hosted by the Austrian Embassy in honor of Freud’s 150th birthday.  All member organizations of the Consortium participated in the symposium.

A Fifth Organization Joins the Consortium

In 2007, the Consortium changed its membership criteria to make it easier for organizations to become full members.  In 2013, a fifth group was added to the membership of the Consortium—the Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies (“CIPS”), composed of the seven component societies of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) in the United States.  Though members of the IPA, these groups are independent of APsaA.

Conclusion—a Note of Cautious Optimism

We can be hopeful that the overriding spirit of cooperation among the Consortium partners, with fits and starts, contention and compromise, will succeed in the wider promotion of psychoanalysis.  In furtherance of this goal, in February, 2017, the Consortium partners adopted the following mission statement:

“The mission of the Consortium of Psychoanalytic Organizations is to promote excellence in psychoanalytic training and practice.  The component organizations of the Consortium affirm that a broad background in mental health and a course of postgraduate psychoanalytic training conducted in conformity with the highest standards of psychoanalytic education are prerequisite preparations for the competent practice of clinical psychoanalysis. Mindful of political, economic, cultural and professional factors that impact mental health practice, the constituent Consortium organizations plan and implement individual and collective action, including public and professional advocacy, to advance our common and consensually determined goals.”


Baker, K.E. (2012). What is the Psychoanalytic Consortium and the ACPE? , American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW) Newsletter, Fall, 2012,

MacGillivray, W. (2012). Psychoanalytic Consortium, in Chimney Sweeping, a blog of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association.

Wagner, L.B. (2006)  The Psychoanalytic Consortium, ACPE and the Profession of Psychoanalysis.  The Round Robin, 21 (2). 

NOTE: Acknowledgement to the following for working to prepare this report: Jaine Darwin, Dennis Debiak, Douglas H. Ingram, Lee Jaffe, Rick Perlman, Penny Rosen, Crayton Rowe, Jonathan Slavin, Nat Stockhammer, Laurie Wagner, Harriet Wolfe.