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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Fall 1995, Vol.15, No.3
Psychoanalytic Center, 50 Years Later: Where It's Been, Where It's Going: By Roger A. MacKinnon, M.D.



Founders of the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research at P&S included, left to right, Nolan D.C. Lewis, George Daniels, Abram Kardiner, and Sandor Rado.
n July 1944, P&S established the first university-affiliated psychoanalytic institute accredited by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Columbia's Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research started its first class in January 1945 and has graduated more than 350 psychoanalysts.

The center's founders-Dr. Nolan D.C. Lewis (then chairman of the Department of Psychiatry), Dr. George Daniels, Dr. Abram Kardiner, Dr. David Levy, and Dr. Sandor Rado (the center's first director)-believed that the future of psychoanalysis lay in its becoming an integral part of a university's medical education with its tradition of intellectual and academic exploration.

Dr. Lawrence C. Kolb, who became chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in 1954, played an important role in the Psychoanalytic Center's further growth and maturation. When the founders retired, a new generation of psychoanalysts were trained and new areas of emphasis developed. For example, Dr. Viola Bernard, the only living member of the original faculty, and Dr. Kolb organized the first school of community psychiatry.

In the late 1950s, Dr. Arnold Cooper and Dr. Willard Gaylin were invited by Lionel Trilling, then chairman of the English Department, to teach a course on psychoanalysis to Columbia College undergraduates. From this invitation came a long intellectual collaboration between Dr. Cooper and the English department and between Dr. Gaylin and the law school. Such interdisciplinary work continued throughout the history of the center and has spread psychoanalytic concepts by attracting scholars for partial training in psychoanalysis.

As the center developed during the second 20 years, it began to reach out to the larger psychoanalytic community and to establish itself as a mainstream institute, encouraging the development of current psychoanalytic perspectives with an emphasis on metapsychology.

The original psychosomatic service was replaced by the Psychiatric Consultation and Liaison Service, headed by Dr. Donald Kornfeld and eight other graduates of the center. Important work has been done on Type A personalities, body image disturbances, and psychological reactions to physical illness and cardiac surgery. During the 1970s, Columbia developed a Child Analytic Training Program.

Today the center is busy restoring the prominent focus on research that its founders believed was crucial. A research committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Dr. Steven Roose, with the assistance of the Department of Psychiatry for help with scientific methodology and practical guidance in the development of reliable and valid instruments to measure analytic change.

For the past two years the main focus of the center's research has been determining the feasibility of outcome studies in psychoanalysis. The Research Committee recommended an initial study about the application of psychotherapy research methodology to the psychoanalytic situation.

Several faculty members have completed a study on "The Fate of Control Cases," which offers the first data in the literature about what happens to control cases after the center's candidates graduate. Several other researchers are examining use of medication in combination with psychoanalysis.

To better serve researchers, the center is developing a database of patient records, including clinical diagnosis, SCID diagnosis, and initial depression and anxiety rating scores. The database is expected to help the center more effectively track patients through the course of their treatment.


Roger A. MacKinnon, M.D., is the eighth director of the center and the first with a P&S degree (1950). He is professor of clinical psychiatry at P&S, where he has spent his entire career except for an internship and two years in the Navy.


copyright ©, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

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