Formal Specialty Definition: 

Psychoanalysis is a postdoctoral specialty, which provides comprehensive theories of normal and abnormal human personality development, adaptive and non-adaptive interpersonal and social relationships, and an understanding of the foundations of creative and artistic expression. Human cognitive, affective, and behavioral experience is understood to include both the conscious and the unconscious dimensions of human psychic life. Psychoanalysts study, diagnose, and treat psychological and psychosomatic symptoms, difficulties of development and character formation, and problems of interpersonal relationships, social and cultural adjustment, and psychological interferences in creative expression.


Psychoanalysis Specialty Council

Levels of Specialty Training:


Education, Training, and Supervision in the practice of Psychoanalysis is available only at the postdoctoral level, and requires a successful personal analysis, formal theoretical and applied clinical study, and supervision in the practice of psychoanalysis.


Specialty Board Certification:


Board Certification in Psychoanalysis is available through the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis in Psychology (ABAPsa), which is a Specialty Board of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).


Sources of Specialty Recognition:


  1. APA/CRSPPP recognition

  2. ABPP recognition


Psychoanalysis Specialty Council Membership:


  • Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association (APA)

  • American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis in Psychology (ABAPsa)


Specialty Related Web Links:



Education and Training Guidelines:


Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, ABPP