about naap


The history of NAAP is a history of people, presidents, board, members, and staff, and their striving for the recognition of psychoanalysis. In 1972 a small group of psychoanalysts met to discuss ways to preserve and enhance the development of psychoanalysis as an independent profession. This meeting led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP). NAAP was incorporated in 1972 by Ethel Clevans, MS, Harold Davis, PhD, Leonard Liegner, MD, Phyllis Meadow, PhD, and Philip Polatin, MD. Ten institutes were represented at a meeting in Los Angeles in 1973 to plan the formation of NAAP and an annual conference.

At this first meeting the following resolutions were adopted:

  1. The title “psychoanalyst” should be restricted to those professionals who have graduated from or have grandfather status in accredited psychoanalytic training institutes.
  2. Degree-granting status is necessary for the survival of psychoanalytic training institutes, and NAAP will assist member institutes in establishing degree-granting status.

The trustees resolved that psychoanalysis and psychotherapy should be licensed, given that there were already licenses in force that misled the public as to who was qualified to practice. Existing law did not provide standards for the practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and as a result these mental health professions could be practiced by anyone. 

In 1994 psychoanalysts were certified by the state of Vermont, followed by the state of New Jersey in 2000. Then, in 2002, New York became the first state in the U.S. to recognize psychoanalysts with a “scope of practice” license that applies to all appropriately trained psychoanalysts from all psychoanalytic theoretical perspectives. Simultaneously, the psychologists received a scope of practice license in psychology that included psychoanalysis in its scope of practice, with exemptions for MDs, social workers, and registered nurses.

When NAAP was established in 1972, the founders envisioned it as an organization of member institutes as well as individual members. However, NAAP was advised that both the institute members and their accreditation functions would be subject to the decisions of the NAAP board or they would need to become a separate organization. Therefore, on December 5, 1997, the Assembly of Psychoanalytic Institutes was formed and they elected a board of trustees for the American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis (ABAP). This new corporation now functions as a separate accreditation corporation independent of NAAP as a membership association in the field of psychoanalysis. The purposes of accreditation are to maintain and improve the quality of professional education and to safeguard the public. 

From the outset, conferences proved so important to the organization that at least one is held each year. Topics have ranged from “Psychoanalysis in an Age of Violence” to “Shame, Guilt & Prejudice: Emerging Possibilities.” 

Douglas Maxwell, NAAP’s current president, recently asked: “Why should candidates join NAAP? Independent psychoanalysis is only going to continue to exist and thrive if the next generation of psychoanalysts takes an active role. NAAP is the advocate for independent psychoanalysis. Without NAAP, no one would be monitoring and advocating for improved legislation, whether it concerns diagnose-and-treat or insurance reimbursement. Without NAAP, no one would serve as a watchdog to monitor attempts to legislate lay analysts out of existence. Without NAAP, there would be no place for independent psychoanalysts to register their certification. The future of independent psychoanalysis depends on member support.”

Maxwell is committed to the continuing effort to make the statute and regulations best conform to the tradition of psychoanalytic training following the tradition of NAAP’s founders. 

In 1995 the Public Education Corporation of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis was incorporated. Its purpose is to educate the public on the history, nature, and function of psychoanalysis and to clarify the role of psychoanalysis in today’s society.

Currently, NAAP has both a federal and a state lobbyist who are working to pass legislation, A#3910, that would allow the four professions to form a single corporate structure. Additionally, A#2708 would mandate insurance reimbursement for the four professions in Article 163—Creative Art Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Counselors, and Psychoanalysts.

If you have not already done so, consider joining NAAP today to promote and develop independent psychoanalysis. Membership categories are Psychoanalyst, for graduates of a psychoanalytic institute, and Candidate, for those matriculated at a psychoanalytic institute.

Click here to join NAAP today.


Member Requirements

Ever since the early schisms in psychoanalysis, Freudians, Jungians, Adlerians, and other psychoanalytic schools have remained fragmented. NAAP represents the first effort to reunite these schools of thought in more than half a century. NAAP was created in January 1972 when psychoanalytic institute faculties from the east, southwest, and west of the United States met to discuss unification of the profession.

NAAP members must have the following minimum requirements:

  • Accredited master's degree or higher
  • 36 Carnegie Units/450 clock hours of courses on theory and technique in psychoanalysis
  • 1,500 hours in clinical experience, including a minimum of the following: 300 hours of personal (individual) analysis with a certified psychoanalyst AND 200 hours individual supervision, with a minimum of 3 certified psychoanalyst supervisors (50 hours one case with one supervisor; 50 hours on one case or more with a second supervisor)
  • 1,000 hours supervised clinical experience of which 250 hours may consist of group supervision, case conference supervision, and continuing clinical education experience.