"Historical Roots of IAPSP

IAPSP traces its origins to the 1970's, to the small, informal group meetings held in Chicago and led by Heinz Kohut, the originator of what later came to be called self psychology. From these early beginnings, professionals interested in the study and development of Kohut's theory and practice increased in number, leading to our incorporation, in 1981. Then, in 2004, IAPSP was reorganized as a membership-based organization.

Nature of IAPSP

IAPSP is an Illinois non-profit corporation comprising an international community of physicians, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and nurse practitioners. While self psychology is a theory based on psychoanalytic principles, psychoanalytic training is not in itself a prerequisite for membership. In actuality, the IAPSP membership includes individuals from a variety of mental health fields, as well as other individuals from diverse disciplines who are interested in a dialogue between their particular fields of study and the epistemology and theory of self psychology.


IAPSP embraces two primary, intertwined purposes. First, it retains its foundational purpose: the study, research, development, and practice of psychoanalytic self psychology. Second, in responding to challenges levied against traditional notions of the concept of self as embodied in Kohut's original work, it expands the reach of our foundational purpose. Currently, IAPSP encompasses as well contemporary notions of a dynamic systems sensibility, findings from infant and neurobiological research, and existential and epistemological philosophy.

IAPSP thus becomes an organized forum in which many current divergent theories about the human mind and its development, illness, and cure may be compared and contrasted in order to better understand and treat our patients. We see our members as ambassadors for teaching, creating, and learning increasingly effective approaches to education, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis.

Organization of IAPSP

IAPSP is governed by a democratically elected International Council composed of 74 members.

The Council is comprised of the original Founding Members, joined now by individuals elected by the entire membership. As the Founding Members vacate their Council seats, these seats, too, are filled by means of democratic election. The Executive Committee of the Council, composed of the President, the President-Elect, the immediate Past President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer, manages and monitors the ongoing operations of IAPSP."

Click here to visit the official website of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology