About the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Our Origins

In 1991, twelve senior training analysts in Los Angeles congregated to discuss their respective concerns about the state of contemporary psychoanalysis. In contrast to the climate of the time, they wanted to create an institute that would be self-regulated and not compelled to look to external figures for permission or approval to operate as it saw fit. Their objectives were simple, but also profound. They wanted the institute to remain freestanding, to function as a participatory democracy that actively involved both its members and its candidates in the shaping and evolution of the institute, and to be a place where the entire membership would be charged with assiduously defending the preservation of all psychoanalytic perspectives. In so doing, a key goal was to cultivate a system of open dialogue and pluralistic thought.

Out of their meetings the twelve founding mothers and fathers created the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Founding Members: Louis Breger, Ph.D.. Doryann Lebe, M.D., Herb Linden, M.D., John Lindon, M.D., David Markel, M.D., Richard Rosenstein, M.D., Morton Shane, M.D., Estelle Shane, Ph.D. Robert Stolorow, Ph.D., Norman Tabachnick, M.D., Judith Vida, M.D., and Arnold Wilson, M.D.


ICP has evolved significantly beyond the original vision of the twelve founding members. The Institute has grown to over 150 active members, over 100 candidates enrolled in the 4-yr academic training program, and over 50 domestic and international corresponding members whose scholarship in psychoanalysis is recognized throughout the world. ICP also offers several Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training programs and Extension programs in Los Angeles and at satellite campuses in Pasadena, San Francisco, South Bay (Los Angeles County), Ventura County and San Diego, California. Over 85 students participate annually in these programs.

The hallmark of the Institute’s success has been the ability to consistently draw a large number of qualified candidates eager for training in psychoanalysis. Candidates typically are seasoned therapists, licensed as psychologists, psychiatrists and other physicians, licensed clinical social workers, marriage family and child therapists, or related disciplines such as law, literature and religion. The Institute’s values of pluralism, participatory democracy and academic excellence are realized by granting full voting participation to candidates on all standing committees within the institute. Candidates are represented on the Board of Directors by two voting seats.

In conjunction with the academic programs, ICP offers conferences to the general scientific, professional and general public. Our mission as an institute is to make important educational material available to the larger public who provide professional services to a vast array of patients. Thus, the atmosphere we attempt to provide is one of encouragement not only of new ideas, but of questions in relation to these new ideas, questions that may be posed out of lack of knowledge, or, alternatively, may be posed out of legitimate argument with the ideas proposed. The context in which our conferences are held is one of great respect for the practicing clinician in every field, one that offers strong support for new ideas as well as appreciation for diversity of opinion. These conferences are offered in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pasadena and San Diego.

In addition to the public conferences, the Institute offers an in-house forum to which the entire ICP community, including analytic candidates, psychoanalytic students, and extension division participants, is invited free of charge. At these smaller meetings, topics of particular interest to Members and Candidates in training are presented. This format includes discussion and open questioning of the ideas presented. These meetings are a favorite of the community, offering as they do more ongoing research in a less formal setting.


Our Vision

At its formation in 1991, ICP embraced the founding members’ philosophy that a vital and inclusive analytic Institute should comprise the tenets of academic freedom, participatory democracy and the diversity of contemporary theory.  ICP strives to maintain these values as we develop not only as a school with walls, but an influence beyond those walls with a local, national and international presence.  We embrace the value of diversity and seek always to enhance it. Academically, we maintain our uniqueness by remaining innovative and continually open to the development and dissemination of contemporary psychoanalytic concepts. The diversity and participation of our members, candidates, students and community is the cornerstone of our Institute and our future.

In sum, ICP endeavors to monitor the ethical, theoretical and evidence based developments in the practice of mental health care delivery both in the United States and internationally for the benefit of our trainees, members and the larger professional community.

Our Mission

ICP is a diverse community comprised of members, candidates, students, corresponding members and staff who partner with local and extended communities to provide cutting edge forums for psychoanalytic education and thinking. ICP members pay dues and candidates and students pay tuition.  ICP is committed to integrating psychoanalytic psychology with other psychological treatments.

We strive to promote an environment of free inquiry, a sense of community, a culture of diversity, inclusion, invitation, dignity and respect for the therapeutic process.

This is accomplished through the academic curriculum which is updated to coincide with trends in the larger psychological science realm.  As well, training methods are individualized to the needs of diverse trainees. In order to remain current, we rely upon emerging technologies.

Short Term Goals

  • Provide forums for intellectual discussion
  • Develop a long distance learning program
  • Increase community outreach to enhance diversity
  • Increase our presence and usefulness to the wider healthcare community
  • Increase member participation through in-house events

Long Term Goals

  • Explore and support avenues for intellectual contributions and research
  • Develop partnerships with universities and other academic organizations

Read about the origin of ICP from the perspective of one of the founders, David Markel M.D.

Diversity Statement

The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) recognizes the historical lack of diversity and the exclusion of certain ethnic groups in the field of psychoanalysis. Diversity is a core value of ICP that stems from our founding emphasis on pluralism, inclusiveness, and democratic governance; our intent is that all voices be heard, appreciated, and nurtured. ICP promotes and supports the inclusion of candidates and members from diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations, religious, gender expressions and the disabled. This makes for a community that aspires to reflect the diversity of the surrounding geographic communities of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

The ICP community accepts the importance of gaining a higher understanding of working cross culturally. This means gaining awareness of the obstacles to successful interactions with those different from us and by developing a deeper appreciation of how our own ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and physical and mental health organize our worldview, histories, cultural values and prejudices.

In 2006, the ICP Board of Directors established the formation of a diversity committee. The current name of the committee is The Task Force to Address Racism and Homophobia. The Task Force’s mission statement contends that it will promote and assist ICP to fulfill its mission as an inclusive analytic Institute by increasing it’s diversity and seeking ways to enhance it’s relationships with and acceptance of diverse groups. The Task Force assists candidates and members: (1) in being sensitive to the exclusion of the disabled, people of color, certain religions and lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people; (2) in taking an active role to identify and work with blind spots of their own; and (3) consider how psychoanalytic theories influence clinical practice with those from oppressed religious and ethnic groups, sexual orientations, gender variances and disabled groups. The Task Force specifically focuses on groups that have been traditionally and systematically excluded from the psychoanalytic community and has provided workshops on a variety of diversity issues since its inception.

ICP understands the many factors that have led to a chronic lack of diversity in psychoanalytic institutes. It has tried to address psychoanalysis’ negative reputation amongst people of color and the LGBQT community that is a direct consequence of the exclusion of these groups from the field. Institute members provide no fee consultation to local mental health agencies to exhibit contemporary psychoanalytic thinking. In addition, ICP offers an Ethnic Minority Scholarship to assist its psychoanalytic psychotherapy program students and psychoanalytic candidates with tuition. Not only does this demonstrate ICP’s commitment to change, but it recognizes the increased financial burden carried by professionals of color.

ICP realizes that the Institute has to be prepared to respond appropriately to an increase of diversity in its programs. This means that our faculty and courses must reflect our commitment to diversity. Although it is only a beginning effort, on an annual basis, the Task Force trains new faculty on interacting in a more diverse environment and on how to think about the inclusion of issues related to diversity, power and privilege in the course work. It is ICP’s goal that course readings and curriculum reflect its commitment and mission. ICP encourages its candidates and members to speak openly on controversial topics and perspectives regarding diversity issues in clinical encounters and lived experience outside of the consulting room.