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Mission and history

The Washington School of Psychiatry is dedicated to the promotion of human welfare through the advancement of mental health. The School offers postgraduate professional education and training, fosters the spirit of inquiry, and offers a wide range of mental health services in the Washington metropolitan area. The School also is an active center that provides education and advocacy for the best in mental health scholarship, training and treatment. It invites individuals and organizations from the mental health professions and from the community at large to join in this task.

Building on a foundation of psychodynamic psychotherapy, the Washington School draws in other theoretical and treatment orientations. It encourages dialogue and research that integrate emerging developments from psychological, biological and socio-cultural research while preserving the valuable body of knowledge that has been gathered in the 20th and 21st centuries.

In pursuit of its task, the School continues a tradition of open inquiry and inclusiveness which promotes respect for the uniqueness of every individual. The School fosters an environment in which the range of significant differences among individuals (e.g. race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability and disability, religion, social class) can be better understood, valued, and worked with in our teaching and therapeutic practice. We challenge stereotypes and develop cultural competence and sensitivity to racism and discrimination through self-reflection, ongoing self-evaluation, and open dialogue. By honoring these commitments, the Washington School of Psychiatry shapes an environment that will carry forward the vision of Harry Stack Sullivan and his colleagues.

Origins

Founded in 1936 by a group led by Harry Stack Sullivan, the Washington School of Psychiatry has a proud history of interdisciplinary teaching and research, training in psychodynamic theory, psychoanalysis, the social and biological sciences, and the study of the contribution of culture to the development of the human mind. It is the largest provider of postgraduate psychotherapy training in the Washington metropolitan area.

The Washington School of Psychiatry was the first institution in Washington to provide post-graduate training to nonmedical psychotherapists. Today’s students at the School are psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, pastoral counselors and others seeking professional growth as they meet the increasingly complex mental health challenges in society. Many of the School’s alumni/ae have carried its teachings far beyond the Washington area to practices throughout North America and abroad.

In addition to its regular training programs, the Washington School offers a number of conferences, institutes, workshops and lectures during the academic year. It sponsors and publishes research findings through its internationally renowned journal Psychiatry. In addition, the Eugene Meyer III Treatment Center and the Adele Lebowitz Center for Youth & Families, clinics of the Washington School, provide psychotherapy and outreach to the community and offer additional training opportunities to the students in the School’s training programs.

The Washington School of Psychiatry is a nonprofit corporation supported by service fees, tuition and charitable contributions.