2024 VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE: Saturday, June 8

We’re seeking applicants with advanced degrees in any discipline and the self-awareness, intuition, curiosity and passion to become Licensed or Certified Psychoanalysts through our psychoanalytic training programs.  

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LEARN MORE ABOUT US AND OUR PROGRAMS at our annual online Open House 

~ On Zoom, Saturday June 8 from 11 am to 1 pm ET ~

 Please join us for the Institute’s annual Open House on Saturday June 8 from 11 am to 1 pm to learn about our clinical training programs in the community to become a psychoanalyst. Applicants need to hold at least a master’s degree in any discipline – allowing individuals from across the humanities, sciences and social sciences to enter the field. Training to become a Licensed or Certified Psychoanalyst usually takes 4-5 years part-time, though swifter advancement is possible.

To register for HFI’s Open House, Saturday June 8, please click on this Zoom link:   


Since 1991 we have worked to train tomorrow’s diversity-sensitive psychoanalysts by taking training and treatment out to the community in small clinical sites that we operate in Harlem and Northern Manhattan, where our candidates provide free and ultra-low-fee clinical services to children, families, adolescents and adults through both psychotherapy and play therapy.

Through play therapy, we offer youngsters a safe space to express their feelings, to learn to use their strengths to manage the challenges they face every day, and to discover new ways to relate to the world. We have served hundreds of parents and children through our school- and community-based playroom treatment centers, where we offer consistent, long-term therapy and play therapy. Clients meet with their therapist in a safe, pleasant space where they work together to address difficult issues through play or talk.

 The candidates studying in our programs – many of African American or Latino heritage, including clergy, from Harlem and the city’s most diverse communities – are able to develop careers as advanced mental-health professionals. The Institute’s more than 70 available faculty members come from many of the city’s and nation’s psychoanalytic institutes, drawn by its unique mission. The institute can admit suitable candidates, whether licensed or not, who hold a graduate degree in any discipline. Graduates of our Licensure-Qualifying Program may immediately sit the state exam to become Licensed Psychoanalysts.

Our founding Trustees included Dr. Margaret Morgan Lawrence, MD, the nation’s first African American woman pediatrician and first African American psychoanalyst, who died in December 2019 aged 105. Our leadership includes Principal Consultant Dr. Paula Kliger, PhD; Honorary Dean Dr. Kirkland C. Vaughans; PhD, Executive Director Michael Connolly, MPA, LP; Deputy Director Sheila Johnson, LP, MPS; Training Director Dr. David Abrams, PhD; Academic Dean Robin Rayford, MA, MLLP; Clinical Director Ernest P. Smith, LCSW-R, and child & adult psychoanalyst Ann Marie Sacramone, MSEd, LP.

Ann Marie Sacramone, MSEd, LP
Senior Faculty Member

 In addition to taking psychoanalytic training and treatment out to the community, the Institute aims to deepen an understanding of diversity and inclusiveness among tomorrow’s psychoanalysts.  Created in 1991 to help children and families at a small independent elementary school in Harlem, HFI seeks to draw individuals of all cultures and backgrounds as it helps them develop psychoanalytic skills in working with children, parents, adolescents and other adults. It operates small neighborhood therapy sites in schools, community centers and houses of worship in Harlem and Upper Manhattan. It offers evening classes and supervision in faculty members’ offices. It also offers supervised clinical-experience programs for students in graduate programs in psychology, LMSWs and others. The Institute is currently working to develop a bigger Harlem clinical and child-development operation, where it hopes to offer not only individual psychoanalytic work and psychotherapy for adults, adolescents and children, but also group work for pregnant women, mothers & babies, parents & toddlers, Reflective-Network Therapy Nurseries for Preschoolers, and adolescent groups.  

If you hold a graduate degree in any discipline and would like to become a psychoanalyst equipped to work with children, families, adolescents and adults in Harlem and nearby communities of New York’s great’s diversity, this event will help you get started by learning about the Institute and our training programs.

 To register for HFI’s Open House, Saturday June 8, please click on this Zoom link:   


 HFI, which aims to take psychoanalytic training and treatment out to the community, grew out of a 1980s psychotherapy program created by psychoanalyst Stephen Kurtz, LCSW to help children at the Children’s Storefront School on East 129th St. In addition to Mr. Kurtz and Dr. Lawrence, founding Board members included Robert Coles, MD, the Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who devoted much of his career to researching and writing about the moral and spiritual life of children, including the book “Children of Crisis,” George Getzel, CSW, Tamar Turin Opler, LCSW-R, poet Ned O’Gorman, who founded the Children’s Storefront School, and attorney Elisabeth Radow, the Institute’s first chair, who did a mountain of pro bono legal work to set up the Institute and win its needed New York State approvals.

HFI Founder Stephen Kurtz, LCSW, with Founding Trustees
Margaret Morgan Lawrence, MD, and Robert Coles, MD

 Leading psychoanalyst and HFI Honorary Dean, Dr. Kirkland Vaughans, has drawn wide attention for co-editing with Warren Spielberg, PhD, the seminal, 2014, two-volume book “The Psychology of Black Boys & Adolescents.” He is also the founder of the Journal of Child, Adolescent and Infant Psychotherapy. 


To register for HFI’s Open House, Saturday June 8, please click on this Zoom link: