Students trained at the Institute join the distinguished ranks of alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the field of psychoanalysis. White Institute graduates participated actively in the founding of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis in the 1950s, the International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies in the 1960s, and the Division of Psychoanalysis (“Division 39”) of the American Psychological Association in the 1980s. They are now well-represented in the governance and scientific activities of these organizations.
For several decades, the White Institute was the only nationally prominent psychoanalytic training center offering full training to psychologists identical to that of medical candidates. This commitment to interdisciplinary training long pre-dated a landmark class action lawsuit in the 1980s that resulted in institutes affiliated with the more orthodox American Psychoanalytic Association opening their doors to “non-medical” students.
Despite the growing incursions through the 1990s of managed care and “quick fix” psychopharmacological intervention, Institute candidates have continued to pursue intensive postdoctoral training program in psychoanalysis. Because self-awareness is a goal of treatment at White, all candidates are required to undergo a personal psychoanalysis aimed at freeing practitioners from personal, emotional difficulties that could hamper their work with patients.
Candidates are also closely supervised in their treatment of patients, many of whom are seen through the Institute’s low-cost Clinical Services. They work intensively with some of these patients for three or more times weekly for several years. Candidates also learn to apply the Institute’s psychoanalytic perspectives to the treatment of problems that may not require such intensive or extensive treatment. Much of their supervised work is psychoanalytically-informed psychotherapy (in which patients may be seen less frequently than they typically are in psychoanalysis), using treatment methods adapted to both clinical intervention with specific problems and consultations with couples, families, and organizations.
In keeping with the Institute’s innovative approach to treatment, graduates continue to eschew treatment based on clinical detachment and instead seek to establish the safe, trusting, personal relationships needed by people whose lives are in distress. As an educational and intellectual center, White maintains the highest standards in training practitioners. Freed by its institutional autonomy, the Institute has developed and defined its own training standards. These standards are widely emulated by newer training institutes around the U.S. and have more recently been adopted as the training standard endorsed by the inter-professional consortium of psychoanalytic training centers nationwide. Institute graduates take on major teaching and administrative responsibilities at hospitals, clinics, and universities throughout the New York City area, around the nation, and throughout the world.
The social services orientation of the Institute that emerged in the 1950’s was reflected in many of its unique programs and treatment service offerings. In the 1960’s, White offered a treatment program for college students who dropped out of school for psychological reasons that affected their ability to work and attend classes. In 1962, the Institute also initiated The Union Therapy Project to serve the mental health needs of industrial labor union members through short-term therapy based on analytic principles. This program was active for more than 25 years.
In response to more recent societal and psychological issues and pressures, the Institute has continued to develop specialized treatment services that now include The Eating Disorders, Compulsions & Addictions Service; The HIV Service; The Japanese Psychotherapy Service; The Lifespan Development Service; The Living with Medical Conditions Service; The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for Artists Service; The Sexual Abuse Service; The Trauma Service; and The Child and Family Center.
Today, The William Alanson White Institute still represents the most progressive wing of the psychoanalytic profession in the country. Institute faculty teach a wide range of views in psychoanalysis, building on the Freudian perspective and encouraging controversy, theoretical diversity, and challenge to intellectual dogma. Unlike many psychoanalytic training centers, White maintains institutional autonomy and theoretical integrity by remaining a free-standing, self-governing institution. After more than 70 vibrant, productive years, its teaching, treatment programs, and scholarship continue to reflect the creativity and courage that first brought the Institute to life.
2010- A Charter Amendment is approved by the New York Department of Education to create the License Qualifying Program in Psychoanalysis.
2010-The LGBT Clinical Service is established to provide low-cost psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
2010- The Low Cost Supervision Service is established to provide an opportunity for New York State licensed mental health professionals to work together in supervision with an experienced interpersonally/relationally-oriented psychoanalyst from the William Alanson White Institute.
2011- The WAWI Clinic is granted a Clinic Waiver from NYSED to provide services within the practice of Psychology, Social Worker, Mental Health Counseling, Family Therapy, Creative Art Therapy and Psychoanalysis.
2011- WAWI hosts a very well attended conference on “Understanding and Treating Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community”.
2013- WAWI Co-sponsors the conference “Black Psychoanalyst Speak-Part 2” with IPTAR and the New School for Social Research.
2014- The American Psychoanalytic Association extends a formal invitation, which is accepted, to WAWI to become an “approved” Institute member, and for the Psychoanalytic Society to become an affiliated Society of APsaA.
2014- The Institute celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of its journal Contemporary Psychoanalysis with a full day conference.
2015- The Mary S. Sigourney Award (given by the Mary S. Sigourney Award Trust) awarded to Jay Greenberg, PhD, for his work “focusing on creating conversations among analysts working within different conceptual, institutional, and geographic traditions, and participating in those conversations.”
2015-2019 -WAWI receives approval to provide Continuing Education for Social Workers, Licensed Psychoanalysts, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Family Therapists, Licensed Creative Arts Therapists and Psychologists.
2016 The Online Intensive Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program for Russian Speakers is established to provide a two-year training program to clinicians in Russian.
2017-The one year Couples Therapy Training and Education Program is founded to provide training from an Interpersonal Psychoanalytic-Systemic Couples Therapy perspective.
2017- Through collaboration with the New York Immigration Coalition, WAWI provides a series of services, including pro bono treatment, to staff working with families separated by the Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy.
2018-The Online IPPP is established, providing a one-year program for practicing clinicians similar to the onsite program. This is a concentrated practice-oriented educational experience for clinicians who wish to apply an Interpersonal psychoanalytic perspective to their work.
2018- The Institute celebrates its 75th Anniversary with a full day conference: “Interpersonal Psychoanalysis and The Birth of Relationality”.
2019- The Mark Blechner Psychoanalytic Scholarship is established, awarding tuition to a person of color or a transgender person.
2019- Online Topic-Oriented Psychotherapy Program (Online TOPP) is established for experienced clinicians. In 2021, the course is revised as an overview of the contributions of four seminal WAWI Interpersonalists: Edgar Levenson, Stephen Mitchell, Philip Bromberg and Jay Greenberg.
2020- Due to the COVID pandemic, all WAWI training programs and its Clinical Services move to a virtual platform.
2020- In response to the murder of George Floyd, WAWI founds the Antiracism Action Working Group. Over the next two academic years, the Institute sponsors six community Town Halls to increase understanding of race and racism in the community, in their clinical work and the Institute
2021- “Confronting Racism, Discrimination and Othering: Perspectives from Around the World” series of Saturday morning talks begins.
2021- June Jackson Christmas Scholarship is establish by the Board of Trustees for psychoanalytic candidates and CAPTP students to provide tuition scholarships to Black students.
2021- Our Psychoanalytic Training program opens in the fall with hybrid classes.
2021-Our Clinic reopens with a COVID protocol, including a vaccination requirement and required masking.
2022- The Michael Herman Scholarship is established for Adult Psychoanalytic candidates with a strong interest in working with chronically depressed patients.
2022- The Child and the Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program, Intensive Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program and the Couples Therapy Education and Training Program return to in-person classes.
2022- Jack Drescher, MD, is awarded the Mary S. Sigourney Award (given by the Mary S. Sigourney Award Trust) “for his pioneering work in the areas of gender and sexuality.”
Since its founding in 1943, more than 470 postdoctoral psychoanalysts have been trained at the White Institute. Most of these have been M.D. psychiatrists and doctoral level clinical psychologists with Ph.D. or Psy.D. degrees. Several graduates have also come from other disciplines, like anthropology, philosophy, and clinical social work.
More than 190 of the nearly-325 living alumni of the White Institute’s Psychoanalytic Training program continue to teach and supervise in the various programs and clinical services; their teaching and supervisory services are pro bono and unsalaried.
More than 100 professionals have thus far been graduated from the Institute’s psychoanalytically-informed Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program and its Organization Program.
In 2008, the Institute’s Clinical Services provided direct service to more than 350 patients, comprising over 6,500 hours of clinical service at modest, affordable fees, to an underserved, at risk population of mostly uninsured patients for whom such quality clinical services would otherwise be unavailable.