Home | Donate | Links | Contact
Washington Center for Psychoanalysis

New Directions is a three-year postgraduate training program for clinicians, academicians, and writers who want to develop a richer understanding of modern psychoanalytic perspectives and apply it to their own work. In seasonal weekend conferences and optional summer and winter retreats, our community of students, alumni, teachers, and guest faculty come together to explore selected aspects of the psychoanalytic domain. The range of conference topics has been broad: memory, gender, trauma, infancy, evil, dreams, the body, creativity, mourning, projective identification, and the psychology of the therapist, have been the subjects, among others, of our weekends. Weekend conferences are held at hotels in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

A special focus of the program is writing. While some of our students are extensively published and others are inexperienced, they are all invested in developing their authorial skills. While some are pursuing professional writing, several are interested in the crafting of essay, memoir, fiction, and poetry. Exposing our work to others is vulnerable business, and getting the wise support of mature colleagues is crucial in enabling us to take that risk. We clarify and sharpen our thinking by writing. A variety of program components support this effort. We use groups that review brief assignments written for each conference, craft-oriented writing workshops, forums for critical review of published writing, and collaborations that facilitate ongoing writing projects. We have recruited a cadre of English teachers from area universities who are paired with our psychoanalyst faculty as writing group leaders.

Many of our graduates continue to participate in the program because they find New Directions a supportive professional community in which they can continue to develop – as thinkers, as writers, and as professionals. Some have found that they have made substantial progress as writers particularly during their alumni years. Our students range in age from their thirties to their eighties, they come with a variety of perspectives, and, given the program’s design, they are able to come from all over the continent and even from overseas.


Weekend Conferences

Weekend Conference Schedule

November 3, 2011

Introduction for New Students

November 4-6, 2011

The Bereft Therapist, The Grieving Writer

February 3-5, 2012

On Writer's Block

April 27-29, 2012

Inspiration in Our Writing: Who Are Our Heroes?

October 12-14, 2012

Queering the Couch

February 8-10, 2013

The Mind of the Child in the Adult

Spring 2013


Each year we use three weekend conferences, scheduled in the Fall, Winter, and Spring, to focus in depth on topic areas chosen for their contemporary interest. The function of the conferences is to look critically at the emerging ideas in these developing areas, thus training the participants to become rigorous psychoanalytic thinkers. At each weekend, we are helped in this project by a faculty of local and national teachers who are expert in the relevant fields. Each conference is also aimed at developing the students’ capacities as writers, using group meetings, writing workshops, and brief writing assignments. A detailed description of the weekends appears in the following pages.

Weekends run from 9 am Friday morning to 12:45 pm Sunday afternoon, including one evening session. The format includes both large group lectures and discussions and small group meetings, the latter primarily focusing on the participants’ writing. Each weekend offers approximately eighteen hours of continuing education credit.

Original Writing

In addition to writing brief essays for each weekend, the participants are encouraged to take on larger writing projects. Some participants may opt to write books or substantial papers, others may want help in writing shorter essays or pieces for oral presentation, and yet others may choose to take the Program without a formal writing goal. Those participants who choose to undertake a writing project can be assisted in this endeavor by a writing consultant chosen from an international roster, which includes many leading contemporary theoreticians. Participant and consultant will develop their own format for working together, and they may collaborate in person or by phone, fax, mail or e-mail. Consultant roster.

Summer & Winter Retreats

An optional week-long summer retreat workshop will be held August 14-19, 2011, at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Click here for more information. The winter retreat is a four-day event focusing on writing projects. Each days work was reviewed both with an individual mentor and in an evening small group. The next winter retreat is scheduled for December 2011. More information on the winter retreat will be available in the fall 2011.