Interview With a Board Certified Specialist

Lewis Aron, PhD, ABPP

Psychoanalysis in Psychology

Q. What is your practice like?
A.  I have been passionately engaged in the field of psychotherapy for over 40 years.  I currently dedicate most my time to teaching and supervising psychotherapists.  In addition, I continue to run a small clinical practice and now do a fair amount of consultations, evaluations, referrals, as well as brief interventions.  As the director of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis, I oversee all activities of the program and lead the postgraduate education of the next generation of psychologist-psychoanalysis.  In my role as Co-Editor of the Relational Perspectives Book Series, as well as in my own writing, my intention is to expand the theory, research, and practice of contemporary psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

Most of my time is now spent running private study and reading groups for clinicians and psychotherapists.  Many of these are in person in New York City but increasingly there are many on Skype/Zoom with participants from all over the world.  For more information about my groups see my website:

I have served as: President of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association; founding President of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP); and Founding President of the Division of Psychologist-Psychoanalysts of the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA).  I am also the co-founder and co-chair of the Sándor Ferenczi Center at the New School for Social Research. In all of these activities I aim to further professionalize psychoanalytic psychology and expand our reach.

Q. What motivated you to seek board certification in psychoanalysis?
A.  The American Board of Professional Psychology provides peer and public recognition of demonstrated competence in a specialty area of psychology. The leadership of the Division (39) of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association (APA) spent years fighting for this recognition within professional psychology.  It long seemed to me that promoting board certification was one important way for psychoanalysis to be recognized as a specialty by our profession.  Thus, I was certified early on and have encouraged colleagues and students to become board certified specialists when they become eligible.

Q. What was the most challenging/interesting/surprising aspect of the board certification process?
A.  While it has been many years since I was certified, nevertheless, I distinctly remember that it was a warm, collegial, and respectful process. I recall presenting a case history and process notes of my work with a patient who had been engaged in a lengthy analysis. Our conversation about the case was engaging, challenging, and thought provoking, which helped me to learn from this collegial discussion. We had a rich exchange about ethical considerations that I thought warranted our attention and consideration.

Q. What have you found most valuable or rewarding about board certification?
A.  My professional identity includes being both a clinical psychologist, licensed by New York State in psychology, and a psychoanalyst with advanced specialized post-doctoral education.  I continue to work toward the advancement of both clinical psychology and psychoanalysis. Hence, I identify myself as a psychologist-psychoanalyst.  I am proud to be a board certified specialist in psychoanalysis and use the title on my correspondence and letterhead.  One of my significant aims is to further the professionalization of psychoanalysis and to fight for its ongoing recognition as a specialty in organizational and professional psychology.

Q. What would readers be most surprised to learn about you?
A.  I think many who are most familiar with my activities as a clinical psychoanalyst are surprised to learn that in addition to clinical psychoanalytic therapy, I spend one day a week consulting to executives, businesses, and organizations.  Specifically, I frequently consult NYC hedge funds, where I’ve gained a good deal of experience in interviewing, assessment, and executive consultation. 

Many colleagues are also surprised to learn that I play lead and rhythm guitar for a psychoanalytic rock band, named “SIG!!!”  I started the band around 2004.  Our members are all psychoanalysts and psychotherapists.  We play classic rock and are available for professional events and fund-raisers.