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About the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology (IAPSP)

· Historical Roots
· Nature of IAPSP
· Purpose
· Organization
· What does it Mean to be a Member of IAPSP?

Historical Roots of IAPSP

IAPSP traces its origins to the 1970's, to the small, informal group meetings held in Chicago and led by Heinz Kohut, the originator of what later came to be called self psychology. From these early beginnings, professionals interested in the study and development of Kohut's theory and practice increased in number, leading to our incorporation, in 1981. Then, in 2004, IAPSP was reorganized as a membership-based organization.


Nature of IAPSP

IAPSP is an Illinois non-profit corporation comprising an international community of physicians, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and nurse practitioners. While self psychology is a theory based on psychoanalytic principles, psychoanalytic training is not in itself a prerequisite for membership. In actuality, the IAPSP membership includes individuals from a variety of mental health fields, as well as other individuals from diverse disciplines who are interested in a dialogue between their particular fields of study and the epistemology and theory of self psychology.



IAPSP embraces two primary, intertwined purposes. First, it retains its foundational purpose: the study, research, development, and practice of psychoanalytic self psychology. Second, in responding to challenges levied against traditional notions of the concept of self as embodied in Kohut's original work, it expands the reach of our foundational purpose. Currently, IAPSP encompasses as well contemporary notions of a dynamic systems sensibility, findings from infant and neurobiological research, and existential and epistemological philosophy.

IAPSP thus becomes an organized forum in which many current divergent theories about the human mind and its development, illness, and cure may be compared and contrasted in order to better understand and treat our patients. We see our members as ambassadors for teaching, creating, and learning increasingly effective approaches to education, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis.


Organization of IAPSP

IAPSP is governed by a democratically elected International Council composed of 74 members.

The Council is comprised of the original Founding Members, joined now by individuals elected by the entire membership. As the Founding Members vacate their Council seats, these seats, too, are filled by means of democratic election. The Executive Committee of the Council, composed of the President, the President-Elect, the immediate Past President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer, manages and monitors the ongoing operations of IAPSP.


What does it Mean to be a Member of IAPSP?

Membership in IAPSP means being involved in an organization whose central purpose is to foster psychoanalytic self psychology as a living science and a developing profession. It means joining with a vital professional community of clinicians, scholars, and theoreticians who are at the forefront of the work first started by Heinz Kohut. Their efforts have given rise to contemporary, relational versions of Kohut's theory.

It is clear that self psychology, like all psychoanalytic theories, has been challenged by systems and post modern thinking, as well as by findings from neuroscience, cognitive science, and infant research. Because IAPSP counts among its members many of the most prominent theoreticians and practitioners today, novel conceptualizations are emerging in self psychology in response to and inspired by those challenges. It is an exciting time for IAPSP members, a time when such contemporary relational versions of psychoanalysis informed by a self psychological sensibility are being formulated. We invite you to participate with us in the creation of this expanded self psychological vision as a member of IAPSP.

With the acceptance of this invitation to join us in the ongoing development of this newly emerging tradition, you will also receive the following benefits:

  1. A subscription to the internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journal, the International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology (IJPSP);
  2. Listing on our Online IAPSP Member Directory
  3. Significantly discounted fees for attending the IAPSP Annual Conference on the Psychology of the Self;
  4. Interactive access to the online IAPSP eForum;
  5. Participation in online IAPSP Colloquiums;
  6. Subscription to IAPSP listerservs such as the IAPSP Membership, the Couples Therapy Interest Group, and the Child and Adolescent Initiative;
  7. Substantial member discounts for subscriptions to psychoanalytic journals. Click here for details.
  8. A 20% member discount on all psychoanalytic books purchased through Mental Health Resources: Telephone Number (877) 647-0202 to order. You must have a current IAPSP membership ID number to qualify;
  9. The right to run for and elect members to the International Council, the governing body of IAPSP. New Council members are elected from the membership body of IAPSP itself.


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