The Association for Child Psychoanalysis (ACP) is an international not-for-profit organization. All of its members are highly trained child and adolescent psychoanalysts. The organization was founded in the 1960’s to advance the psychological treatment and understanding of children, adolescents, and their families and to provide a forum for the interchange of ideas and clinical experience.
The following text was originally published in the October, 1989 ACP newsletter, approaching the 25th anniversary of the Association. Dr. Robert D. Gillman’s president’s letter.
The first regular meeting of the Association – then named The American Association for Child Psychoanalysis – was held April 28, 1965. Invitations were sent out by Marianne Kris, Peter Neubauer, and Albert Solnit. The meeting was hosted by Peter and 23 members were present. The Association was three years in the planning, but five years before that Anna Freud met with a committee in Marianne Kris’ apartment to discuss recognition and training of child analysts in the
I welcome you to our first meeting of the American Association for Child Psychoanalysis. I do this with great pleasure, but with no authorization as I am one of three members of a self appointed ad hoc committee.
As you all are probably aware, Dr. Solnit and Dr. Neubauer are the two other members of this committee who, in fact, did most of the work to make our getting together a reality, including our meeting place that Dr. Neubauer made available to us. My gratitude and thanks to them for all they have done.
I should like to give you a short account of the happenings since the first group of 17 people convened in December 1962 in New York and decided to form an association of child analysts. This association’s goal was to promote work and further studies in child analysis by facilitating mutual exchange of ideas of all those who are theoretically and clinically engaged in this kind of work with children, I especially stress the word all – meaning that at last child analysts with a non medical as well as a medical background will fully share their experience in this field with each other.
Shortly after the first stage of the planning of this association had begun, the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association approached us for details of our goals in this endeavor. They soon thereafter suggested that we should try to form a section – a forum, as it was called later – for child analysis and child development in the framework of the organization of the American. At that time, Dr. Solnit and myself conferred with their executive committee. Following this, we asked the members of our original group whether they would be in favor of accepting the suggestion of the American to form such a forum. The answer was a unanimous “yes”. On the basis of this, we proceeded in accordance with the routines of the American Psychoanalytic Association to pursue this aim. I will not start here all the details for the subsequent procedures; just sketch them roughly. The first official application of the proposal was discussed and approved in general at the annual meeting of the American in 1963 in St. Louis, where an ad hoc committee was formed for further deliberation of the matter. It might interest you that this ad hoc committee’s report eventually and been accepted by a majority of 28 member societies of the American voting in favor, versus 4 societies voting against the proposal at the actual meeting in 1964.
The last step that was still to be taken in regard to establishing the child analytic forum in the American was a vote by ballot of each individual member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. The outcome of the later was announced at the December 1964 meeting: 209 votes in favor, 229 votes against it. Many regretted this outcome sincerely; many others on both sides in and outside the American felt more at ease that way. This result then brought us to the present state. We immediately started to work to bring our child analytic association – which had previously been incorporated in March 1963 in New York as a membership corporation – out of its slumber existence on paper to life.
There had probably been a variety of factors at work to promote the negative outcome of the last voting. I mention only one such factor, as this one may possibly continue to be brought up. In spite of our frequent statement that we intended to use the knowledge of members and non members of the American to further participation in the forum for scientific exchange only, the rumor and conviction persisted that we intended to promote a training facility for child analysis for individuals whose background was a non medical one. Maybe over the years the work of our association will eventually convince these doubters.
Another criticism and doubt in some people’s mind concerns our present association and the fact that it is established outside of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Their fear is that energies and interests will be drained away from the American. I, personally, am convinced and hope that the work to which we are going to devote our energies and apply our knowledge should eventually stimulate enough ideas and also the wish to put them on paper, so that presentations may be made not only at our own annual meetings but at those of the American.
With this last remark I left the past history and turned a moment to the future. It seems best now to pay attention to the present – to our activities tonight. We have to try to achieve at least two tasks: the one regarding the solidification and structuring of our organization; the second, and more important one, to discuss and plan the way to implement our major goal to promote work and the exchange of our experiences in child analysis, child development and allied interests.
I do hope each of you will bring to our attention his or her special idea regarding the future of this association and how these hopes can best be fulfilled. I may perhaps later add my personal fantasy to it, too.
First Stockbridge Congress for Child Analysis, 1950
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View photo Stockbridge with Name Labels