Mission: Opening Doors to Psychoanalysis


The only accredited, independent graduate school of psychoanalysis in the country, the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis has been opening doors to psychoanalysis for over 40 years, increasing access to psychoanalytic training, education, and treatment. Its mission is to provide high quality psychoanalytic education, clinical training, and research skills to a diverse student community. Enrolling people from all walks of life to explore the human unconscious, BGSP prepares graduates to apply their understanding of emotional and mental life to benefit individuals, groups, and society.

BGSP’s mission reflects its founders’ interest in increasing the public’s access to both psychoanalytic education and treatment. The founders emphasized the principles of “modern psychoanalysis,” a body of theory and technique designed to facilitate resolution of people’s deep resistances to changing their repetitive, destructive patterns of behavior. Unlike their contemporaries at the time, modern psychoanalysts felt that psychoanalytic interventions could be used to resolve such resistances regardless of the patient’s level of pathology. [i] Modern psychoanalytic theory and technique thus allowed a wider range of patients to be treated psychoanalytically. Likewise, the founders believed that resolution of a student’s resistances to understanding psychoanalytic material is the chief requirement for becoming a psychoanalyst, regardless of prior field of study. Any graduate student who is motivated and capable of learning the material may be trained in psychoanalysis.

A corollary to the founders’ interest in increasing access to psychoanalysis is that psychoanalytic theories and methods prove beneficial in settings other than the clinical office. That is, psychoanalysis has a defined body of knowledge, theories, and methods that inform fields of inquiry beyond its own, a concept known as “applied psychoanalysis.” Applied psychoanalysis represents the principle that understanding unconscious processes, such as symbolic communication, resistance, repetition, transference, and countertransference, can be used effectively to inform other areas of study both academically and professionally. It is valuable not only when working with individuals (e.g., in mental health counseling), but also anywhere else in groups or society where destructive patterns of behavior interfere with progress (e.g., in classroom teaching).

Thus, BGSP seeks to educate students who will use psychoanalysis to understand emotional functioning and promote clinical change, as well as those who use psychoanalytic thought in concert with other disciplines to understand social and cultural phenomena and/or promote social change.

[i] See Spotnitz, H. (1985). Modern Psychoanalysis of the Schizophrenic Patient: Theory of the Technique. New York, New York: Human Sciences Press; Spotnitz, H. (1976). Psychotherapy of Preoedipal Conditions: Schizophrenia and Severe Character Disorders. New York, New York: J. Aronson; and Spotnitz, H. and Meadow, P.M. (1995). Treatment of the Narcissistic Neuroses. New York, New York: J. Aronson.

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