The American College of Psychoanalysts was initially established in 1969 to honor outstanding psychiatrist-psychoanalysts, both in America and throughout the world. The College held annual meetings with excellent lectures and forums, often with scholars from other disciplines, covering such timely topics as neuropsychoanalysis, modern psychoanalytic theory, world politics, psychoanalytic technique, child and infant research, and the interface of psychoanalysis with general psychiatry. College meetings were notable for a tradition of cordiality, camaraderie, and intellectual honesty.

In 2015 the College initiated a major revision of its purposes and objectives. Seeing the increasing difficulties facing psychiatrists in pursuing psychoanalytic knowledge and training, and noting the absence of a national organization to represent the unique viewpoints of psychiatrist-psychoanalysts, the College offered membership to all psychiatrist-psychoanalysts in America, and throughout the world, who have training meeting standards of the American Psychoanalytic Association and/or the International Psychoanalytic Association. The College aspires to continue the tradition of scholarly annual meetings where psychiatrist-psychoanalysts can learn and share ideas in a collegial setting, to value the essential links between psychiatry and psychoanalysis so as to preserve the psyche in psychiatry and physicians’ sensibilities in psychoanalysis, and to foster the understanding and study of the unique professional identity of the psychiatrist-psychoanalyst.

The College is committed to mentoring the next generation of medically trained psychoanalysts and is also committed to mentoring early career psychiatrists and psychiatric residents who seek further understanding regarding the theory and the practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy. To facilitate this commitment, the College sponsors scholarships, mentoring programs, blogs, and a newsletter.

College membership categories include 1) Fellows, who are psychiatrist-psychoanalysts, 2) Affiliate Fellows who are physician candidates in psychoanalytic training, and 3) Honorary Fellows, who may be distinguished physicians from all branches of medicine, distinguished psychologists, distinguished psychiatric social workers, and other distinguished clinicians and also scientists in allied fields throughout the world, who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding of human behavior and/or to the treatment and prevention of mental illness and/or will have made valued contributions or service, but would otherwise not be eligible for membership in The College. Honorary Fellows are invited to join by the College Board of Regents.