Introducing the Committee on Psychoanalytic Education (COPS)

Gail Glenn

Gail Glenn, MA, Ed., is chair of the Committee on Psychoanalytic Education.


Gail Glenn

“To be a ‘think tank’ on any and all subjects related to psychoanalytic education; to spawn, sponsor, and monitor the progress of study groups and discussions,” is the mandate of the Committee on Psychoanalytic Study Groups under the DPE. There are two parts: the overall committee that monitors and discusses current and possible new study groups and the study groups themselves. I want to introduce the membership to the study groups and inform you of their missions. Going forward, this column will inform the membership of the process and outcomes of the various groups.

Psychoanalytic Education and Aging
Audrey Kavka

This group explores the relevance of the full life cycle, birth to death, in psychoanalytic education, clinical practice, and in our local community life. The late-life age demographic group is expanding dramatically worldwide. APsaA is an aging membership with 70 percent of members 60 years old and above. A substantial psychoanalytic literature on the treatment of late-life patients exists and yet research data confirm that few APsaA institutes have curriculum related to this demographic. Our consensus is that psychoanalytic knowledge of late life is of essential relevance to the education and practice of all analysts.

Our current focus is to develop reference resources relating to late-life aging, actively advocate for inclusion in curriculum in psychoanalytic training programs, support research and development from a psychoanalytic perspective on aging, and integrate aging into basic core education. We welcome new members with interest and experience in aging, professional ethics, or psychoanalytic education.

How to Teach Freud
Michael Shulman

This group began by exploring Freud’s place in psychoanalytic education in the 21st century. The questions emerged: How much Freud to teach in a psychoanalytic curriculum? And at what points within a curricular plan should Freud be taught? There are also questions regarding preexisting candidate attitudes and aptitudes toward Freud and how that impacts the timing of the course within the curricula. Based on preliminary data from 20 institutes’ curricula on Freud, we are considering developing a detailed questionnaire on how Freud teaching is done within each institute. This study group welcomes new members. Please contact the chair at

New Technologies
Dan Jacobs

The study group is currently studying the circumstances (in terms of transference/countertransference enactments) in which patient or analyst uses Google to obtain information about the other.

Erotic Transferences
Barbara Marcus

Focus on the erotic transference, which was so central to Freud’s theories and clinical findings, seems to have diminished in contemporary psychoanalytic education and practice. This group has the following mission: 1) Investigate what factors, including theoretical or technical shifts in psychoanalysis, may account for declining interest. 2) Consider the role of erotic transferences of patients and analysts in the practice of psychoanalytic treatments. 3) Propose ways psychoanalytic educators and supervisors might encourage a fuller consideration of erotic transferences. 4) Provide resources and consultation to help training programs enhance their curricula and to make supervisory changes that better reflect the importance of the erotic transference and countertransference and that advance our understanding. 5) Offer programs and forums that help further educate analysts/therapists to understand and work clinically with erotic transference. 6) Encourage, develop, and disseminate scholarly thinking about the erotic transference.

How to Teach Psychoanalytic Writing
Mary Landy and Ellen Pinsky

In this study group, we share our varied experiences teaching psychoanalytic writing. We offer to the APsaA community a range of approaches, curricula, models, and references for teaching psychoanalytic writing. We look at the practical writing of consultation reports, students’ clinical case write-ups, and certification write-ups; we also consider the wider, more essayistic experience of writing to advance psychoanalytic thinking for publication.

Supervision Impasse
Steven Goldberg and Judy Kantrowitz

This study group intends to study situations in which progress in teaching and learning has stalemated. Through presentations by supervisors and supervisees, the study group elucidates factors in the patient, supervisee, supervisor, and/or the setting that coalesce in the creation of an impasse.

Unrepresented States
Howard Levine

This group explores if there is an experience, perhaps deriving from the soma, preverbal period of infancy or from traumatic states that is inscribed somewhere, somehow, yet not psychically represented? If so, how do we understand such inscriptions and speak about their impact? What kinds of theories are available to us to do so? Our task is to expand and explore our understanding of these issues and their implications for listening stance and technique in addressing clinical issues that lie beyond neurosis.

Distance Education
Ralph Fishkin and Dennis Shelby

The Distance Education Study Group’s mission is to study distance education in all dimensions of the tripartite educational process: classroom education, psychoanalytic treatment, and supervision. We will explore all formats currently employed to this end: internet and whatever new venue evolves through technology. We welcome members interested in exploring and discussing the impact, values, and consequences of distant education. Please contact chair:

Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience
Charles Fisher and Richard Kessler

Our goals are to bring relevant findings in neuroscience to members of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and to promote the exploration of the ways psychoanalytic theory and practice relate to neuroscience findings. We seek to accomplish these goals by offering discussion groups, symposia, and research presentations at the APsaA meetings.

We arrange, chair, and provide introductions and discussions for the above, which number between two to five programs at each meeting.

Challenges of Training
Alex Barends

The purpose of this group is to study and survey candidates’ experiences in training—its rewards and struggles. We will look at psychoanalytic education from the unique perspective of candidates in training. Previously, psychoanalytic education has been addressed from the perspective of the educators. We see great potential in offering the substantive as well as subjective and personal contribution of people currently in training to understanding psychoanalytic education. The purview of this study group includes the challenges, cares, and struggles of psychoanalytic education within the American Psychoanalytic Association, but also the strengths of our training endeavors. The group is currently in hiatus. When we resume, we plan to submit for IRB review at the Washington Center to interview and do a study of APsaA candidates by Zoom.

If you are interested in joining a study group, please contact either the group chair or me, at We welcome your input, feedback, and participation as we share ideas generated by the study groups in forthcoming articles.