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Oliver Kerner, Ph.D. called a meeting of a group of psychologists in December 1980 to begin the process of establishing an interdisciplinary organization for mental health professionals interested in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.  This meeting led to the formation of the Chicago Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology (CAPP), which was legally incorporated in 1981. The purposes of CAPP at that point were to (1) provide a community for mental health professionals interested in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, (2) develop professional, intellectual, and social activities for its members, and (3) organize a formal training program in psychoanalysis.

The history of CAPP is intertwined with the history of psychoanalysis in the United States. In particular, prior to 1985, the policies of the American Psychoanalytic Association severely restricted nonmedical mental health professionals from studying in established psychoanalytic training institutes in the United States and abroad. The American Psychoanalytic Association also interfered in attempts by psychologists to establish their own institutes and severely restricted membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytic Association. Especially hurtful to the development of training institutes for non-medical professionals was the fact that members of the American Psychoanalytic Association were prohibited from teaching in non-medical training programs.

As a result of these policies, many psychologists in the 1970s and 1980s attempted to find other ways to obtain training and to meet with other psychoanalytic psychologists. Two study groups that formed from these interests eventually contributed to the development of CAPP. One of these study groups was led by Bruno Bettelheim. . Five members of this group, Maurice Burke, Ph.D., Oliver Kerner, Ph.D., Irving Leiden, Ph.D., Joanne Powers, Ph.D., and Johanna Tabin, Ph.D., became founding members of CAPP.

A second group of psychologists that somewhat indirectly contributed to the formation of CAPP was an informal group called Psychologists interested in the Study of Psychoanalysis (PISP).Prior to CAPP this group with members from throughout the United States met once a year to hold its own educational program. Although it was separate from the American Psychological Association (APA), it met during the time that the APA was holding its yearly meeting. Several Founding Members of CAPP had been involved in PISP.

Another influence on the formation of CAPP was the formation of Division, 39, the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. PISP applied to APA to form a division of psychoanalysis. Finally, at the annual APA meeting in 1979 Division 39, the Division of Psychoanalysis became a reality as a division of APA. Two of the primary activities of Division 39 at that time were to aid and support the development of local organizations of mental health professionals interested in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and to aid and support the development of institutes for training in psychoanalysis. The local organizations were eventually called Local Chapters of Division 39.

In addition to members from the Bettleheim study group and PISP, a number of other psychologists became involved in organizing CAPP. The Founding Members were:

Maurice Burke, Ph.D.
Walter Burke, Ph.D.
Bertram Cohler, Ph.D.
Lucy Freund, Ph.D.
Merton Gill, M.D.
Lorraine Goldberg, Ph.D.
Nathan Glaser, Ph.D.
Ruth Gross, Ph.D.
Irwin Hoffman, Ph.D.
Kenneth Isaacs, Ph.D.
Alan Jaffe, Psy.D.
Karen Jaffe, Psyc.D.
Ann Jernberg, Ph.D.
Mary Hollis Johnston, Ph.D
Oliver Kerner, Ph.D.
Irving Leiden, Ph.D.
Nell Logan, Ph.D.
Marc Lubin, Ph.D.
Dale Moyer, Ph.D.
Joanne Powers, Ph.D.
Ellen Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Frank Summers, Ph.D.
Johanna Tabin, Ph.D.
Michael Tansey, Ph.D.
Alan Ward, Ph.D.
Susan Weinstock, Ph.D.

Within a few months after the first meeting CAPP was officially organized with  a Board of nine members – president, president-elect, past president, secretary, treasurer, and four additional members. Oliver Kerner, Ph.D. was elected the first president.  Bylaws were soon approved and the newly formed Membership Committee sent letters to mental health professionals inviting them to join the organization.

By the end of the first year over 100 individuals had joined. By 1984 CAPP was sponsoring two programs a year for mental health professionals, featuring one or more keynote speakers. The programs were on such topics as narcissistic problems, feminine development, object relations theories, personal reflections on psychoanalysis, transference and countertransference, relational theory, and the clinical use of several psychoanalytic perspectives. Speakers included Roy Schafer, Ph.D., Fred Pine, Ph.D., Bruno Bettelheim, Bertram Cohler, Ph.D., Rudolph Ekstein, Ph.D., Hedda Bolgar, Ph.D., Nancy Kulish, Ph.D., Stephen Mitchell, Ph.D., Jay Greenberg, Ph.D. and Professor Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris, France.

Monthly lectures focused on such topics as transference and countertransference, borderline and narcissistic disorders, early childhood psychopathology, obsessive-compulsive disorders, Kohut and philosophy, hypnotherapy, and loss and mourning. Early speakers were primarily local people and included Richard Chessick, M.D., Ph.D., Oliver Kerner, Ph.D., Peter Shabad, Ph.D., Nancy Weil, Ph.D., Marlene Eisen, Ph.D., Lisa Grossman, JD, Ph.D., Michael Tansey, Ph.D., Walter Burke, Ph.D., and Marvin Zonis, Ph.D. In addition to monthly lectures, some individuals began offering brief, informal courses. Several ongoing study groups also formed. Some were led by an experienced educator, and some were peer groups. Within a few years CAPP had become a member of Section 4, the Section of Local Chapters, of Division 39.

In 1983 several members of CAPP began making plans for developing a training program in psychoanalysis. These efforts were led especially by members of the Bettelheim Study Group but also by other members of CAPP. The first group of students or candidates was called the Psychoanalytic Educators Study Group. Five experienced clinicians, Lucy Freud, Ph.D., Lorraine Goldberg, Ph.D., Nell Logan, Ph.D., Dale Moyer, Ph.D., and Carol Rogalski, Ph.D., were in this group. It began with Bertram Cohler, Ph.D. teaching the history of psychoanalysis and basic concepts in psychoanalysis. After this beginning Roy Schafer, Ph.D. came to Chicago to lead clinical seminars for four weekends Friday evenings through Sunday noon. Sylvia Ginsparg, Ph.D. from St. Louis joined the group for these weekends. The members of this group each presented clinical material on their first cases in psychoanalysis.  Roy Schafer, Ph.D. and members of the group discussed these cases

This training program eventually was named the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis (CCP). It developed its own organizational structure with a governing Board and policies regarding admission, curriculum, requirements, evaluation, supervision, and teaching. Additional candidates began the program. CCP also became independent of CAPP, although many people were involved in both groups. Qualified mental health professionals now were able to study psychoanalysis and become psychoanalysts in the Chicago area.

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