The roots of Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute (BPSI) reach back to the early 1900s, when a group of physicians, philosophers and psychologists began meeting regularly to discuss the ideas of Freud, Janet, Bleuler, Bernheim and others. By 1928 the group became an informal psychoanalytic society and within three years, under the impetus of several young clinicians who had recently returned from study in Berlin and Vienna, BPSI was officially incorporated, and in 1933 became the second formally recognized member of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). BPSI provided training in adult psychoanalysis, and later, with the arrival of Beata Rank and Erik Erikson, training in child psychoanalysis.
With the advent of the refugee analysts, Helene and Felix Deutsch, Edward and Grete Bibring (the first woman full professor at Harvard Medical School), Jenny and Robert Waelder, Eduard Hitschmann, Hanns Sachs, and Franz Alexander, BPSI gained greatly in intellectual power and clinical experience, and developed a tradition of training generations of psychoanalysts.
In 1979, BPSI formed the Advanced Training Program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (ATP) and became one of the first psychoanalytic institutes in America to offer training of its kind. The BPSI Fellowship, a one-year program in psychoanalytic theory and technique, followed in 1999 , and provides an opportunity for clinicians to gain exposure to psychoanalytic ideas.
Today, BPSI is the largest American psychoanalytic society, with more than 300 members, providing extensive ongoing professional development for our Members, offering more programs than any psychoanalytic society in the country. BPSI is also home to the Hanns Sachs Library, one of the country’s largest psychoanalytic libraries, with archives that attract scholars from around the world. From its informal beginnings, into the present, BPSI has been a place for the lively exchange of ideas, beginning with Freudian thought and now embracing a multiplicity of theories, amongst psychoanalysts and our colleagues in other fields. At the center, we maintain a commitment to authenticity in the human exchange of the analytic process. A vibrant community of psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic therapists, interdisciplinary scholars, and others who are curious about the field of psychoanalysis, our Members have made significant contributions to the ongoing expansion and development of psychoanalysis.
For over 70 years, BPSI was located in Boston’s Back Bay. In early 2012, our building on Commonwealth Avenue was sold in order to find a space that provided for greater accessibility, ample parking, more flexible space for seminars, classes and group gatherings, to develop greater resources for students, including scholarship support, and to enhance creative programming. BPSI is now located in its permanent home at Colby Hall on the Andover-Newton Campus in Newton Centre.