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Psychoanalysis in the university: The natural home for education and research


  • This paper summarizes a professional lifetime of concern with the issue of the most proper educational structure for the discipline of psychoanalysis as both a science and a helping profession, and it chronicles my own shifting perspectives on this issue as the cultural and academic world context within which psychoanalysis is embedded has itself altered over my own six decades of involvement in it. The paper has therefore drawn from a significant number of articles that I have written on that subject over the years (Wallerstein, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1991, 2007, 2009; Wallerstein and Weinshel 1989), and represents overall, my current (somewhat zigzaggedly) evolved hope and conviction for our discipline at the 100th year celebration of the IPA.


Psychoanalysis as a theory of human mental functioning and a derived therapeutic for disturbed functioning would have its natural home in the university, and Freud gave evidence of harboring such an ambition. But the sociopolitical structure of the early 20th century Austro-Hungarian Empire precluded this, and analysis developed, by default, its part-time, private practice-based educational structure. Psychoanalytic penetration of academic psychiatry in the United States after World War II made possible a counter-educational structure, the department of psychiatry-affiliated psychoanalytic institute within the country’s medical schools. This paper outlines, beyond these, other more ambitious vistas (David Shakow, Anna Freud, The Menninger Foundation, Emory University [US], APdeBA [Argentina]), conceptions even closer to the ideal (idealized) goal of full-time placement within the university with strong links to medicine, to the behavioral sciences, and to the humanities.