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How Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation Was Established

Psychoanalysis in Wisconsin can be dated to the end of World War II, when three Milwaukee doctors—Saul Pollack, John Usow and Samuel Black –were accepted for training at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis but resided in Milwaukee.  From 1945 to 1978 they bought hundreds of railroad tickets (from Milwaukee to Chicago) and spent countless hours on analysis, class work and supervision. During the next few years, some doctors pursued interests in other states, many psychiatrists begun psychoanalytic training, while some doctors move to Milwaukee as the need for psychoanalysis began to flourish.  If a person desired psychoanalysis during that time, they basically had two choices, languish on local waiting lists or commute to the Chicago Institute.

In 1979, William Offenkrantz, MD, training and supervising analyst at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, moved to Milwaukee to establish the Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation.  His enthusiasm, vigor, and considerable organizational skills were apparent as he forged a cooperative effort by the Foundation, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital (formerly Columbia Hospital), a private not-for-profit community teaching hospital.  An energetic board of community leaders joined in efforts to bring psychoanalytic training to Wisconsin.

From 1980 to 1984 five additional analysts moved to Wisconsin.   David Black, MD, son of Samuel Black, returned home, having trained and practiced in San Francisco; L. David Levi, MD, and Jon Meyer, MD, were recruited from the Washington Institute, Steven Steury, MD, and Todd Davison, MD, from the Baltimore-Washington Institute.

Throughout the 1980’s increasing numbers of Wisconsin candidates were accepted at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.  The candidates would have their training analysis and supervision in Milwaukee and attend classes in Chicago, just as Madison students had done since the arrival of Joseph Kepecs, MD in 1965.  Dr. Kepecs has been an important psychoanalytic influence in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin Medical School.  He has been a geographic training and supervising analyst.

By 1989, there were five training and supervising analysts in Wisconsin: Drs. Black, Davison, Kepecs, Meyer and Steury.  Dr. Levi had returned to Washington, and Dr. Offenkrantz had retired.   The infrastructure of the foundation was in place so that by 1993 the first full academic courses were offered in Milwaukee, ending the need to commute to the Chicago Institute for psychoanalysis.

Currently, there are five training and supervising analysts, Richard Frank, MD, Jan Van Schaik, MD, Linda Garrity, PhD, Virginia Linabury, MD and Prudence Gourguechon, MD.  There are nine graduate teachers who have completed psychoanalytic training, Kenneth Johnson, MD, Jeffrey Taxman, MD, Robert Welker, PhD, Cynthia Carlson, LCSW, Valerie Laabs-Siemon, MS, MSW, Nancy Debbink, MD, Denise Ambre, BS, LCSW, Susan Barbour, EdD and Hope Erwin, Ed.D. And two additional faculty, Carlyle Chan, MD and Lisa Lennihan, LCSW.


Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation Mission

The Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to:

1. Support the Training Institute (WPI), community outreach programs, research and foster mental health in individuals, families and our society;

2. Disseminate psychoanalytic information to community, individuals and families.



National Organization

The Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Institute is an affiliate member of the 
American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), located in New York City.   It is the oldest national psychoanalytic organization in the nation, founded in 1911.  The Association is comprised of Affiliate Training Institutes and Societies in many cities and has about 3,000 analysts.  APsaA, as a professional organization for psychoanalysts, focuses on education, research and membership development.  Since its founding, the Association has been a component of the International Psychoanalytical Association,(IPA) the largest worldwide psychoanalytic organization.

A major responsibility of the APsaA is creating and maintaining high professional standards.  APsaA works to ensure that its members meet rigorous training standards and helps individuals find qualified analysts through its institutes, affiliates, and information literature.


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