Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis

About PSP

The Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis was formed in 1971 with the encouragement of Dr. Hyman Spotnitz and other experienced senior analysts. It was founded as a sister organization of the Manhattan Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies. Classes were initially held at the Combs College of Music in Germantown. In 1975, PSP became a charter member of the National Association for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis (NAAP). Since then, PSP has followed NAAP and ABAP (American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis) requirements for admission, training, and graduation. From 1975 to 1997, classes were held at Drexel University in West Philadelphia.

In 1997, the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis moved to its present location, a beautiful and historic building in Center City Philadelphia, 313 South Sixteenth Street. The building is also home to our clinical training facility, the Philadelphia Consultation Center.

The School and its Clinic do not discriminate against persons on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, sexual preference or ethnic origin with respect to any of its educational and administrative policies and practices.

Philosophy of PSP

PSP’s philosophy of training begins with Freud’s definition of psychoanalysis as “any line of investigation which takes transference and resistance as a starting point of its work.” The curriculum therefore encompasses the broad spectrum of psychoanalytic tradition including classical analysis, ego and self psychology, object relations, contributions of Ferenczi, Klein, Reich, Sullivan and many others who have expanded upon or modified Freud’s original discoveries.

The School focuses on the theory of treatment, in particular on the contributions of the Modern Analytic School of thought developed by Dr. Hyman Spotnitz and others. The treatment approach is comprehensive and pragmatic, sanctioning interventions that expand the range of people and groups who can be helped successfully by psychotherapeutic means. Three contributions of Dr. Hyman Spotnitz are of particular interest at PSP:

  • The detailed analysis and descriptions of narcissistic transference, countertransference and resistances found in all patients and therapists.
  • Use of a wide range of interventions which are maturational with people who do not benefit from, or who are damaged by interpretive interventions.
  • Guidelines for determining effectively when a patient or group of patients are emotionally ready for a particular kind of intervention.

These principles are also applied to the education and training offered at PSP. While some courses emphasize cognitive learning, others are also experiences in modern group analysis, and as such provide the student with an opportunity to learn the practice of psychotherapy in a more effective way than they would at most universities or other institutions.