The Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies is a local chapter of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association. Division 39, called the Division of Psychoanalysis, was formed by the APA specifically to represent within the broad field of psychology, professionals who identify themselves as having a major commitment to the study, practice and development of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In such a spirit the Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies has for over twenty years provided a forum for local professionals interested in psychoanalytic ideas. Our organization has grown from a small interdisciplinary group of committed therapists who sponsored one annual conference per year with an outside speaker/guest in the 1980’s, to a society of nearly one hundred members with several speaker events per year, an annual meeting, several active committees, election of officers, and now a Website. We hope that this Website will keep our members informed of the growth and activities of our energetic organization.
The Vermont chapter of Division 39 was formally approved by the Division in 1985. At that time it was a very small study group consisting of five members and headed by Rudolph Moz and Mark Adair; both of whom initiated its formation as part of extending their weekly case discussions. Its goal initially was to create a place where a few colleagues could meet together and talk about “things psychoanalytic.” With the help of Carole Betts, a psychoanalyst trained in Montreal and a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, the group began to expand its membership. Invited guest speakers (and discussants, who, in the beginning, were mainly analysts from Montreal donating their time to get our efforts off the ground) contributed to the start of an annual psychoanalytic conference in the community. Several local analysts, Bruce Gibbard, Austin Lee, Dave Van Buskirk , Thomas Gazda and Bert Franke participated in the annual conferences. In addition to the above, a small group of dedicated VAPS members (Bob Barasch, Carole Betts, Sharon Dennett, Claire Dumas, Bernie Folta, Carl Rabstejnek, Michele Reed, and joined by Bill Butler and Polly Young-Eisendrath) did the hard work of organizing the early conferences and tending to the interests of the membership, publishing a newsletter and beginning to explore expanding the offerings within VAPS. The surrounding professional community showed an enthusiastic interest in programs that were offered by this small group of dedicated members, who were interested in expanding the awareness and knowledge of psychoanalytic theory and technique to clinicians in the area. The membership by 1999 was divided evenly between MD’s, MSW’s, PhD’s and other Master’s levels professionals. The small group of six to twelve members with a founding president, Mark Adair, had grown to a group of about 40 when, Sharon Dennett, was elected under new bylaws in 1999 to serve a two-year term as President. Since then under the new By-Laws, the Executive Committee and officers along with a standing continuing education program, have expanded our conference offerings and witnessed the continuing growth of the organization. The strength of our organization remains its dedicated group of professionals from all disciplines who shoulder the burden of committee work, organize conferences and publish a newsletter.