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Cooper, A.M. (1990). The Future of Psychoanalysis: Challenges and Opportunities. Psychoanal Q., 59:177-196.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:177-196

The Future of Psychoanalysis: Challenges and Opportunities

Arnold M. Cooper, M.D.

The American Psychoanalytic Association has recently undergone a wrenching experience known in the shorthand of the profession as "the lawsuit." Four psychologists, on behalf of the class of psychologists, sued the American Psychoanalytic Association (the American), the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and the International Psychoanalytical Association (the IPA) under the antitrust laws, claiming that the American had, for the purpose of economic advantage, conspired to exclude psychologists from full access to psychoanalytic training and practice. I will not detail any of the steps, arguments, or merits of the lawsuit, but I do want to emphasize two major changes that occurred either consequent to or coincident with the lawsuit.

The first, coincident with the lawsuit, was the passage of the Gaskill proposal in 1986 by the Executive Council of the American Psychoanalytic Association, with the overwhelming approval of its membership. This proposal stipulated that component societies of the American may accept into training any individuals who "have achieved a professional identity as human caretakers through therapeutic clinical activities of demonstrated excellence." No degree or clinical training is specified. The Gaskill proposal has opened the way for full clinical training in psychoanalysis to psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and others.


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