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About the Profession

Career paths in psychoanalysis range more widely than one might think. This stems from the fact that psychoanalysis is both a clinical method of treating emotional disorders, and a depth psychological theory that can be used to understand all aspects of human motivation, behavior, development and relationships. Analysts throughout the United States share their expertise through a variety of complementary careers. Psychoanalysts can be found in the courtroom, the classroom, and the boardroom. They share their insight in literature and theatrical arts. As you will see from the selected careers below, by choosing a specialty in addition to clinical practice, analysts are successfully providing the insight, understanding and perspectives of psychoanalysis to the general public in a variety of ways. The application of psychoanalytic theory in other fields besides that of clinician is often referred to as "applied psychoanalysis".

Taking the Couch on the Road:
Psychoanalysts' Careers Outside the Consulting Room

Clinician/Academician/Educator

Mary Susan Hansen, M.D., is a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and former Medical Director of Citywide Case Management, a program for the chronically mentally ill. As Past President of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and a practicing analyst, Dr. Hansen advises analytic candidates to follow their professional and personal interests when selecting a career. "I have been grateful to be able to combine a psychoanalytic career with an academic career in psychiatry. In an academic setting, I have a practical place to apply some of my psychoanalytic knowledge more broadly," says Dr. Hansen. "My work with the chronically mentally ill and cutting-edge new psychopharmaceutical agents, in addition to my practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, has been extraordinarily interesting."

Sports Analyst

Phil S. Lebovitz, M.D., a board member of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis with a specific interest in when and whether to integrate psychoanalysis and psychopharmacology, has a decade of experience counseling athletes and assisting them with psychological issues that interfere with their performance. "My experience as a psychoanalyst has given me the tools to grasp what motivates people at a level that operates out of their conscious awareness. A highlight in my analysis with athletes was reinstating a sense of fun in the work of athletic performance. Through an understanding of what triggered dysfunctional emotions for the patient, including an overwhelming sense of pressure to win by an athlete's dad, I was able to assist a professional golfer in continuing his career," says Dr. Lebovitz.

Business/Management Consultant

Kerry Sulkowicz, M.D., former Chair of the American Psychoanalytic Association's Committee on Public Information, applies a psychoanalytic perspective to his management consulting work with corporate boards and senior business leaders. Dr. Sulkowicz is the founder and principal of The Boswell Group. This new niche in the world of management consulting grew so successful that Dr. Sulkowicz set aside a clinical practice to devote his full attention to advising clients on psychological aspects of managing complex organizations, with a special interest in CEO succession and corporate culture change. "I am a corporate psychoanalyst. In my work as a consultant, my psychoanalytic perspective on individual and group dynamics informs absolutely everything I do and is what differentiates me from the competition," says Dr. Sulkowicz. Dr. Sulkowicz is on the faculty of The Psychoanalytic Institute affiliated with New York University.

Historian

Peter Loewenberg, Ph.D., is the former co-dean of the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles and a Professor of History and Political Psychology, Emeritus, at the University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA]. "The purpose of psychoanalysis and the study of history are the expansion of one's self narrative and that of our analysands. People today benefit from cogent accounts of humans who lived earlier. By recognizing ourselves in the symbols of struggles, triumphs, and defeats of the mythical past, we may reconcile ourselves to the inescapable limitations on the human condition, and on psychoanalysis, imposed now, in the past, and in the future, by nature and by culture," says Dr. Loewenberg.

Biographer

Noted historian, biographer, and honorary APsaA member Robert Dallek, Ph.D., did non-clinical training in psychoanalysis at an APsaA accredited training institute in order to enrich understanding of individuals in the political arena. Such a program of study is often referred to as an academic track in psychoanalysis. Dr. Dallek pays great homage to his analytic studies in terms of how they illuminated his work as a biographer. Dr. Dallek's most recent publications include include books on Franklin D. Roosevelt (1979), Harry S. Truman (2008), John F. Kennedy (2003), Lyndon B. Johnson (1991, 1998), and Richard Nixon (2007). His new book, The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope will be published in 2010. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of American Historians, where he served as President, and of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Psychoanalyst/Neuroscientist

Regina Pally, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor in the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Psychiatry and has taught courses on the interface of psychoanalysis and neuroscience for the last 16 years. Additionally, Dr. Pally has a private psychiatry and psychoanalytic practice. Her article on the psychoanalytic concepts of subjective reality, repetition and transference was published in Cortex, a leading neuroscience journal, and she chaired a presentation on the developmental and psychotherapeutic implications of genes and environment interactions at a recent APsaA National Meeting. "Neuroscience is fully integrated with my work as a psychoanalyst. I think areas such as pain, emotion, subjective reality and the role of the past are as fully about the person's brain function as they are about his mental function," says Dr. Pally. "Because the language of neuroscience can sometimes reach an individual better than the language of psychoanalysis, I use neuroscience whenever it is most helpful to explain an individual's diagnosis."  Dr. Pally is on the faculty of the New Center for Psychoanalysis.

Author

Many analysts are familiar with the process of publishing books for the academic market, but an effective method of outreach to the public is publishing a trade book for distribution through booksellers. A variety of psychoanalysts have been successful in writing and sharing psychoanalytic concepts with the general public, and their fellow analysts, through trade books.

"What I have written about is obvious to analysts, but provocative for the lay public," says Gail Saltz, M.D., an APsaA member, a contributor to NBC's Today Show and author of the book Becoming Real. "The value in publishing (a trade book) came in not using any psychoanalytic jargon and yet still being able to make clear the basic theories of psychoanalysis."

"As analysts, perhaps we don't focus enough on conveying our work to the public, nor do we focus enough on preventing pathology. That's what I wanted to do by writing this book," asserts Paul C. Holinger, M.D., a member of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and author of What Babies Say before They Can Talk: The Nine Signals Infants Use to Express Their Feelings. "Parents seem very appreciative; they tend to comment that the material helps them understand their children and forge better relationships with them. And, interestingly, more and more analysts come up to me and say that they understand their patients better after having read this book – they say they have become more empathic and more understanding of their patients' feelings."

Dr. Saltz is a member of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.

Psychoanalyst/Community Interventions: The Peaceful Schools Project

With 40 years of experience as a practicing analyst, Stuart W. Twemlow, M.D., is the co-director of the Peaceful Schools & Communities Project at the Baylor College of Medicine. Through applied psychoanalysis, this innovative program works on creating social systems interventions that do not target bullies or victims. Instead, Dr. Twemlow develops innovative methods to deal with dispute mediation by challenging bystanders to become helpful participants in limiting school violence and behavioral problems. These abdicating bystanders often do not realize the position they have assumed, and are happy to participate.  "Psychoanalysis gave me the conceptual framework to create the interventions employed by the Peaceful Schools and Communities Project," says Dr. Twemlow. "I have found applied psychoanalysis to be rewarding and a source for clinical referrals as well." Dr. Twemlow is also a professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and Senior Psychiatrist at Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas.

Mental Health Consultant to K-12 Schools

Psychoanalysts work to improve mental health services and the overall sensitivity of school services using a variety of models.  One such model is the psychoanalyst serving as a consultant to mental health services in K-12 schools supervise interns who are working with teachers and staff. Their role is to help improve school performance, build community trust, and involve families in the treatment and education of their children. Maureen Katz, M.D., of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis, has contributed to a successful school-based Mental Health Center in an ethnically diverse and financially impoverished Berkeley neighborhood. "The community welcomes the presence of psychoanalysis, especially as an alternative to the over-diagnosis of mental illnesses and the use of medications, such as with the diagnosis of ADHD," reports Dr. Katz. "I see my role as an educator of the teachers and social work interns, training them to use countertransference and the classroom milieu to develop strategies for intervention.  The consultation allows diverse socio economic groups and providers to have exposure to analytic ideas and consider analytically based 
therapeutic strategies."

These are but a few examples of the myriad career paths available to those who study or train in psychoanalysis.

"The study of psychoanalytic theory can enrich anyone's profession life,
regardless of career path. Psychoanalytic training is indispensable to 'career tool kits'."

Sylvia Welsh, Ph.D.
former chair, Admissions Committee,
NYU Psychoanalytic Institute