Your questions, answered:

If our institute can maintain current BOPS standards without joining AAPE, what is the advantage?

This is an often-posed question. The biggest reason to join AAPE is to separate politics from educational standards, a problem which often impacts national organizations and local institutes. One of the primary goals of the 6-point plan was to establish a national standards setting body (now AAPE) outside APsaA, which is a membership organization. AAPE recognizes that maintaining high local educational expectations and standards is a challenge in changing times. It takes continual effort, resolve, leadership, negotiating local politics, and importantly, supportive colleagues outside the local group. Joining AAPE means joining hands with experienced colleagues who accept educational standards as a living, breathing enterprise, striving towards excellence as a fiduciary responsibility to those we train, patients we treat, and the greater community we serve. Joining AAPE also means working with such colleagues to modify standards based on local circumstances in a principled, responsible way, without undue influence from politics, whether on the local or national level. Without any affiliation with a national standards and consultative body, institutes, centers, and their members are vulnerable to local politics without recourse, the “bad old days” modern educational structures attempt to avoid.


How does AAPE work with training programs?

  • Several AAPE institutes have been involved in creative solutions to longstanding problems, including certification, progression, and the training and supervising analyst system. We are able to collaborate together with a shared vision for the benefit of your particular institute. AAPE provides immediate ongoing consultation to meet the demands of psychoanalytic education. AAPE provides access to clinician-educators from diverse psychoanalytic training programs who are experienced in supporting high standards in the education of candidates in these challenging modern times. Member institutes/centers participate in the evolution of standards and policies.

  • AAPE endorses optimal immersion that provides a framework for life-long learning of the difficult craft of psychoanalysis. AAPE requires 4-5 times per week frequency for training analysis and supervised analysis out of the conviction that such immersion allows the candidate to optimally experience transference and countertransference in real time. Experience with different genders is also required. AAPE believes that by providing education with optimal immersion, candidates are better informed as to how alterations of this frame may impact treatment, even when external situations may require such changes.

  • AAPE encourages national certification for all graduates, and requires it for Training and Supervising Analyst appointments as a reliable national peer review by colleagues across the nation, external to the home center or institute.

  • AAPE requires that training and supervising analysts be appointed to conduct analyses and supervision of candidates.

  • Finally, the ability to have regular site visits allows for your institute to have an external consultative process that provides valuable insights and recommendations to improve your institute’s educational system. Strengthening an institute’s recruitment, retention and education of candidates, and development of all faculty is a primary goal of AAPE. Self requested, optional consultations on only focused questions may miss larger questions and important areas relevant to a training center’s growth and healthy future.


I’ve heard that AAPE was not part of the 6-part plan. Is this true?

The American Association for Psychoanalytic Education fulfills the first aspect of the 6 point plan. The summary of the plan, announced by Mark Smaller, past president of APsaA on May 8, 2015 is stated below:
“The essentials of our proposals are: the externalization of the regulatory functions of the Board on Professional Standards (italics added), the creation of a Department of Psychoanalytic Education to facilitate psychoanalytic education through promotion of contact and consultation between APsaA institutes, and development of the Executive Council’s ability to oversee the Association’s functions and govern effectively.” The American Association for Psychoanalytic Education (AAPE) is the implementation of the externalization of the regulatory functions of the Board on Professional Standards. The American Board of Psychoanalysis (ABP) is the implementation of the externalization of the certification functions. Both are consistent with all modern professions.


Some people have said that the American Association for Psychoanalytic Education (AAPE) is divisive and in competition with APsaA’s Department of Psychoanalytic Education (DPE). Can you address these concerns?

With any change there is a period of transition and uncertainty, but AAPE’s mission is in no way competitive with DPE. DPE is a consultative body as set forth by the 6-point plan, and its functions are complementary to AAPE’s. Individual membership in APsaA or an institute’s participation in DPE is not jeopardized by, or contrary to, an institute’s membership in AAPE. AAPE follows the accepted practice that every profession adheres to an external educational standards body to ensure the maintenance of educational integrity over time for the education of learners and the protection of the public. AAPE provides educational standards through collaboration of participating centers or institutes and collegial site visits. As AAPE is external to both the local institute and the larger membership organization, it is free from the politics of both local histories and membership-only organizations. DPE does not mandate standards, is not an accrediting body, and as an elective consultation-only body, does not in any way compete with AAPE.


My institute hasn’t joined AAPE but I want to adhere to AAPE standards for becoming a training analyst. Is this possible?

Future training and supervising analysts of non-AAPE institutes will be appointed using local variations of the IPA standards, or may choose standards quite different from IPA standards. Whether a local program wishes to use AAPE standards for TSA appointment will be up to the local program. AAPE is sympathetic with the wishes of those who want to adhere to AAPE standards. At this time, we ask that you contact AAPE to be updated on any new AAPE procedures for TSA appointment for colleagues not in AAPE member-institutes.


Can I be involved in AAPE if my institute hasn’t joined?

Yes. Individuals who support AAPE’s standards and are interested in participating in AAPE’s committees are most welcome. We have several individual members of AAPE committees whose institutes are not AAPE members. We value involvement from any individual analyst who is interested in the non politicized, thoughtful development and evolution of psychoanalytic education, establishment of standards, site visits, and faculty and curriculum development. For details, contact AAPE.


How is AAPE any different than BOPS?

While we began with the most recent standards of the Board on Educational Standards, many do not realize that these were already significantly liberalized. In addition, we have already evolved to be quite different from BOPS in our approach to educational standards and local challenges.. AAPE’s goal is flexibility and innovation within a rigorous immersive educational experience. We have candidates on our committees and a recent graduate on our Board. Secondly, AAPE is not constrained or influenced by the political shifts within a national professional organization. We are studying new pathways for faculty development, building an analytic practice, changes in training and supervising analyst appointment procedures, innovation in curriculum, and evaluation of candidate progression. One example is consideration of the child analytic approach to Associate Supervising Analyst as a potential model for adult training analyst development.


If I become a TA under the new APsaA standards (without certification) and then move to an AAPE institute, will I be grandfathered in?

Not automatically. The decision will be made by the local institute based on AAPE requirements, which include certification by the ABP (American Board of Psychoanalysis) and a peer review process. This process is designed to ensure experience, commitment to analytic work, and demonstration of clinical expertise through presentation of detailed clinical material. The AAPE will work with a local institute/center to assist in determining equivalence.


As a candidate of a non-AAPE institute what are my options if I want to adhere to AAPE standards regarding my training?

Each institute is empowered to deliberate on what standards it wishes to follow. We hope that candidates are involved in the deliberations in all institutes, including AAPE member-institutes. We trust that your concerns and wishes regarding quality education and training will be heard. Candidates in many of our institutes and centers have expressed the need for faculty peer review, external validation of standards, common to all professions. We have and continue to be available to speak at your institute. Please direct your questions to our Candidate Advisory & Liaison Committee chaired and Dhipthi Brundage.


Can I join AAPE as an individual?

AAPE membership is limited to institutes and centers. As an interested individual, however, we welcome your interest in participating in AAPE committees and study groups as they form. We invite your questions, comments and suggestions.


Do AAPE institutes teach both traditional and progressive theories?

The question suggests a dichotomy between traditional and progressive theories. AAPE institutes and centers have a long track record in their openness to teaching a variety of theoretical and technical approaches and discoveries. AAPE will continue to support the study of any discipline or theory that can enhance the breadth and depth of psychoanalytic education and practice.


Why should an institute or center join AAPE, when external accreditation from ACPEinc is available?

AAPE institutes follow AAPE standards, with an emphasis on educational quality and content. ACPEinc is a national accrediting agency, whose function is to make sure that an institute or center is actually doing what it says it does. ACPEinc has baseline standards that must be met, but these standards are not the same as AAPE’s. AAPE standards differ in the following ways:

  • AAPE requires frequency of session during training at 4-5/week. (ACPEinc standards are 3-5/week).

  • AAPE requires three cases of different genders for graduation. (ACPEinc requires two cases without gender requirements for graduation).

  • AAPE requires a clinical presentation, colloquium, and/or a scholarly paper for graduation. (ACPEinc does not require it).

  • AAPE requires certification by ABP for TSA appointment (ACPEinc may accept a certification equivalent under particular circumstances).

  • AAPE requirements for TSA appointment are clear, detailed and comprehensive, leaving no rooom for confusion that can become subject to idiosyncratic interpretation or local politics. (ACPEinc requirements are less detailed, immersion hours are not specified, and are potentially subject to local and national politics)

  • Being a member institute of AAPE provides you not only with a model of rigorous educational standards, but ongoing involvement in innovation in standards. AAPE brings to bear the collective knowledge and experience of seasoned clinician-educators, and consultation expertise. AAPE provides more than standard-setting or assistance with accreditation—it is a source of support, encouragement, and integrity to faculty and candidates alike. Psychoanalysis as a profession that serves the public, both in education and in treatment, requires consistency of national educational standards to maintain its mission. AAPE provides this for all interested institutes and centers.

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