Teach Psychoanalysis: High School

APsaA in conjunction with the APA’s Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) has developed a high school lesson plan unit for teaching psychoanalytic concepts to high school students.

The six-lesson unit covers an overview of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalytic theory, psychodynamic perspectives on development and personality, psychoanalytic perspectives on dreams, psychodynamic theories of motivation and emotion, psychodynamic perspectives on mental disorders and treatment and Neo-Freudians and contemporary psychodynamic theories.

The Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychology unit lesson plan is available to APA members at http://www.apa.org/ed/topss/unitlesson.html.

If you would like the plan, contact education@apsa.org

With so much to cover in a high school psychology course, particularly if you are guided by the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) curriculums, you may wonder if you should cover Freud and Psychoanalysis at all.

One overriding point should convince you to do so:

Freud and his ideas have become a part of the Western canon, with multiple sources alluding to Freudian concepts and psychoanalytic terms popping into media as diverse as television sitcoms, newspaper editorials, magazine cover stories, cartoons, Saturday Night Live skits, as well as literary works. A well-educated person "knows" what Freud and his followers were all about, and it adds to the richness of experience to understand these concepts, their wide applications in our culture, and the increasing validation through science of many Freudian principles and approaches.

To believe that "Freud is dead," and thus not teach psychoanalysis at all would be under-educating our students about one of the most brilliant and impacting figures of the 20th century. In fact, at the turn of the new millennium (2000), one reputable news source polled respected people from all walks of life from all over the world to come up with their list of The 100 Most Influential People of the Last Millennium. In that poll, Guttenberg (inventor of the printing press) was #1, and Sigmund Freud was # 8. Excerpt from the Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychology unit lesson plan introductory note.

Secondary Level Classroom Presentation

APsaA member Leon Hoffman, MD developed the following classroom presentation at the secondary level regarding the legacy of Sigmund Freud. This presentation is available for use in classrooms everywhere.


Another valuable resource
Chessick, R.D. (2000). What is Psychoanalysis?. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 28:1-23.