Table of Contents:

How Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation Was Established

Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation Mission

Psychoanalysis for Adults, Adolescents and Children

Positive Impact in the Community

National Organization

Funding


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 eight graduate teachers who have completed psychoanalytic training, Kenneth Johnson, MD, Jeffrey Taxman, MD, Robert Welker, PhD, Cynthia Carlson, LCSW, Valerie Laabs-Siemon, MS, Lynn Ollswang, MSW, Nancy Debbink, MD and Denise Ambre, LCSW.


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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;

3. Partner with children’s organizations to provide our services and training to decrease stress and violence in our community.

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Psychoanalysis for Adults, Adolescents and Children

As a therapy, psychoanalysis is based on the observation that individuals are often unaware of many of the factors that determine their emotions and behavior.  These unconscious factors may create unhappiness, sometimes in the form of recognizable symptoms and at other times as troubling personality traits, difficulties in work or in love relationships, or disturbances in mood and self-esteem.  Because these forces are unconscious, the advice of friends and family, the reading of self-help books, or even the most determined efforts of will, often fail to provide relief.   Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how these unconscious factors affect current relationships and patterns of behavior, traces them back to their historical origins, shows how they have changed and developed over time, and helps the individual to deal better with the realities of adult life.

Analysis is a partnership in the course of which the patient becomes aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties not simply intellectually, but emotionally – by re-experiencing them with the analyst.  Typically, the patient comes four or five times a week, lies on a couch, and attempts to say everything that comes to mind.  As the patient speaks, hints of the unconscious sources of current difficulties gradually begin to appear – in certain repetitive patterns of behavior, in the subjects which the patient finds hard to talk about, in the ways the patient relates to the analyst.  The analyst helps elucidate these for the patient, who refines, corrects, rejects, and adds further thoughts and feelings. Patient and analyst join in efforts not only to modify crippling life patterns and remove incapacitating symptoms, but also to expand the freedom to work and to love.   Eventually the patients’ life – his or her behavior, relationships, sense of self – changes in deep and abiding ways.

Psychoanalysis is an effective treatment for many people with moderate to severe difficulties and who have had unsuccessful attempts with briefer therapies.

Child and adolescent psychoanalysis, both offshoots of adult psychoanalysis, share with it a common theoretical framework for understanding psychological life, while also using additional techniques and measures to deal with the special capacities and vulnerabilities of children.  For instance, the young patient is helped to reveal his or her inner feelings and worries not only through words, but also through drawings and fantasy play.  In the treatment of all but late adolescents, parents are usually consulted to round out the picture of the child’s life.  The goal of the child and adolescent analysis is the removal of symptoms of the psychological roadblocks that interfere with normal development.

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Positive Impact in the Community

Psychoanalysis is a highly individualized treatment. Whatever the problem, each is different. Some generalizations can be made of people who seek this type of treatment:

- Symptoms of depression or anxiety, sexual incapacities or physical symptoms

- Compulsions or repetitive thoughts or private rituals

- Constricted life of isolation and loneliness or incapable of feeling close to anyone

- A victim of childhood sexual abuse might suffer from an inability to trust others

- Repeated failures in work or in love

- The way a person’s character substantially limits their choices and their pleasures

- Resolve psychological problems that were temporarily or partially resolved by other approaches

Here are a few examples of success stories: (demographics have been altered)

- A 38-year-old scientist sought psychoanalysis because of difficulty modulating his aggression, low self-esteem, and depression.  As result of his psychoanalysis, the scientist was able to set up his own business, his marriage was much more satisfying, he was a more relaxed and less rigid parent, his relationship with his father improved.  He was overall a happier human being with new ways to deal with future problems as they arose.

- A young professional woman in a frenzied state of mental disregulation began psychotherapeutic treatment.  She was seriously depressed, suicidal, and cutting herself when overwhelmed by waves of desperation.   During the course of intensive psychotherapy including a brief hospitalization she began to stabilize sufficiently to understand that her mental organization had been unhealthy for most of her life.  She decided to pursue psychoanalysis to gain deeper understanding and modulation of her mental disturbance. Her psychoanalytic treatment was successful.  She gained access to mental resources that had been dormant, interfered with by pathological processes (e.g. could tolerate and enjoy a wider range of emotional experience, felt more of a sense of internal agency and cohesiveness of self, became less self-punitive, and developed a greater capacity for empathic relations with others.)   She broke a habit of engaging in unhealthy relationships and married a supportive and loving man.  Her professional work blossomed.  She experiences life in a radically changed way that may be described as balanced optimism.

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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, 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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Funding

Operations funding comes from our endowment that was established in 1980, and local foundations such as David and Julia Uihlein Charitable Foundation, Elizabeth Doolittle Elser Charitable Trusts and Milwaukee Foundation.  The Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Foundation receives generous support from individuals who respond to our Annual Letter campaign in the fall and from our Annual Fundraising Event in the spring. Our effort to diversify our funding base is an on-going project for our Board of Director Members.


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