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Each year, NAAP recognizes the literary and artistic achievements of those who have created works that represent and promote psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Publishers enjoy the recognition of their authors, foundations the recognition of their artists, and production companies the recognition of their movie and tv directors. As one publisher commented upon hearing that several of her authors had received nominations, “I was so glad to see that our hard work over the past year paid off. You don’t always get such recognition.”

For the 2018 Gradiva® Awards, we invite you to submit for consideration any works published or produced in 2017.



We invite submissions from members and non-members for the best published, produced, or publicly exhibited works that promote psychoanalysis. Entries must have a psychoanalytic or mental health theme.


  • Article
  • Art
  • Book
  • Book (edited volume)
  • Digital Media
  • Movie/TV Program/Play/Documentary
  • Student Paper (previously unpublished)

An additional award of a $500 scholarship is given to the best Student Paper. Please note: Papers should be of journal article length; no dissertations or final presentations will be accepted. 

Click here to see last year’s award winners.

The History of Gradiva

A plaster copy of a Pompeian bas-relief hung in Sigmund Freud’s office in Vienna. The relief had been the inspiration for Wilhelm Jensen’s Gradiva, a 1902 novel with a Pygmalion theme. Carl Jung sent a copy to Freud, who was so impressed by the novel that he went on to analyze it in his essay “Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s ‘Gradiva.'”

“Delusions and Dreams” is the analysis of a class of dreams that have never been dreamt at all – dreams created by imaginative writers and ascribed to invented characters in the course of a story. Freud writes that since it is far from being generally believed that dreams have a meaning and can be interpreted, most educated people smile if they are set the task of interpreting a dream. According to Freud, only the common people, who cling to superstitions, insist that dreams can be interpreted. When the laborious work of translating it has been accomplished, the dream reveals itself as a wish of the dreamer, represented as fulfilled, and who could deny that wishes are predominantly turned toward the future?

Gradiva is the story of a young archeologist who visits a Roman museum and sees the Pompeian bas-relief of a young woman walking. He names her Gradiva and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, dreaming about attempting to save her during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Then, awake, he does see her, very much alive and walking among the ruins in modern Rome. Eventually, he discovers that this woman is the daughter of another archaeologist and that she had dressed as Gradiva to capture his attention. He also finds out that she is from his hometown and that he had known her previously. Therefore, his dreams were his awakening to a love for someone he had known all along.

Freud used Gradiva to show that writers were the first psychoanalysts because their work stems from direct communication with their unconscious minds. “Creative writers are valuable allies,” Freud said,  “and their evidence is to be prized highly, for they are apt to know a whole host of things between heaven and earth of which our philosophy has not yet let us dream…they draw upon sources which we have not yet opened up for science.”

In 1994 Robert Quackenbush proposed the Gradiva® Awards for the best works that advance the field of psychoanalysis. Quackenbush became the first chair of the Gradiva Committee, which is comprised of 5 members. Since then, various members have been honored to serve in the position, including the current chair Ronald O. Lieber.

The Gradiva image, which also features on the brass plaque received by each winner, is a NAAP-registered trademark.

NAAP’s Vision Award

The Vision Award was conceived as a special award to be presented to a psychoanalyst (or psychoanalysts) who has made an outstanding contribution to psychoanalysis and its impact on the life of individuals and the community.

The award is an original piece of fine art crafted by sculptor and NAAP member Robert Wolf.

Esther Menaker and Hyman Spotnitz are among the past award recipients. Click here to learn more about last year’s winners.


Lifetime Achievement Award

On occasion a member of the community is honored for their commitment to the betterment of society. In those instances NAAP’s Board of Trustees and associates vote to honor that individual(s)