History of the Academy

The American Academy of Psychoanalysis was founded in 1956 (For a list of the 76 Charter members of the Academy, click here). Janet Rioch, who became the first President of the Academy, in inviting others to join, stated that:

The process of communication by forum is of value to encourage honest exchange of scientific opinion and observations; to build upon and expand those basic premises which survive critical scrutiny; to have the courage to discard that which cannot be regarded as scientifically valid in the light of our present knowledge.(For a list of Academy Presidents, click here)

That position has guided the Academy over the years. The Academy from the beginning has been open to physicians with legitimate training in psychoanalysis, and membership was opened to those psychiatrists who have demonstrated an interest in psychodynamic psychotherapy.  Psychodynamic psychiatrists were offered membership, and this expansion of the membership was signaled by the name change to the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychiatry (AAPDP). The Academy became an affiliate organization of the American Psychiatric Association, indicating the organization’s status as representing the importance of psychodynamic psychotherapy within the practice of psychiatry.  Membership has been opened to psychiatric residents and medical students as well.

Over the years the Academy has sponsored annual meetings devoted to presentations of clinical interest. Emphasizing our affiliation with the American Psychiatric Association (APA), these meetings have preceded the annual APA Convention in the same location. The AAPDP also sponsors a symposium during the APA Convention and workshops at the Annual APA and Institute on Psychiatric Services (IPS) meetings, and most recently at World Psychiatric Association (WPA) and American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Programs (AADPRT) meetings.  AAPDP meetings include theoretical and clinical presentations from a variety of dynamic perspectives. Educational opportunities for psychiatric residents include workshops focusing on the concerns of residents who are interested in psychodynamic psychotherapy. The Academy has co-sponsored annual meetings in Italy with OPIFER for over a decade, as well as regional meetings in Washington, D.C., with the Consortium for Psychoanalytic Research, and various International Study Tours throughout the world.

From 1956 to 1972, the Academy published the proceedings of its meetings in book format, in 22 volumes entitled “Science and Psychoanalysis” under the editorship of Jules Masserman. In 1973 the Academy began publication of The Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis (which became the Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry), quarterly. Silvano Arieti was the first editor, and the Journal has flourished under the successive editorships of Morton Cantor, MD, Jules Bemporad, M.D., and Douglas Ingram, M.D..  The current editor of the journal now titled Psychodynamic Psychiatry, is Richard Friedman, M.D..

In addition to the Journal, the Academy publishes biannually the Academy Forum, devoted to articles exploring the intersection of psychoanalytic thinking with art and culture as well as to news of the Academy, and the Academy Newsletter.