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Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Autism Spectrum Disorders

This is a four-session course being offered by the Western New England Institute For Psychoanalysis

The course is being presented by:
Andrew J. Gerber, MD, PhD, President and Medical Director, Silver Hill Hospital
Elizabeth Ortiz-Schwartz, MD, DFAPA, Attending Psychiatrist and Team Lead, Adolescent Inpatient Unit, Silver Hill Hospital 
Sophia Walker, MD, Attending Psychiatrist, Inpatient Unit, Silver Hill Hospital

Course Description:

Autistic Disorder was first described by Leon Kanner in 1943 and for six decades was considered a severe and rare disorder of limited relevance to mainstream theories of psychopathology and psychoanalytic treatment. In the past 20 years, however, a new perspective has emerged that views autism spectrum disorders both as existing on a continuum and as an organic condition amenable mainly to behavioral approaches. In this course, we will review both of these perspectives and then review a synthetic framework that builds on past perspectives and uses contemporary psychoanalytic theory to better understand the nature of autism spectrum disorders as well as optimal treatment. Several treatment cases will be discussed to illustrate this new framework and make it relevant to contemporary clinical work.


  1. Attendees will learn a historical psychoanalytic perspective on understanding and treating autism spectrum disorders.
  2. Attendees will learn a contemporary framework for understanding the underlying deficits in autism spectrum disorders that includes contemporary psychoanalytic and cognitive neuroscience perspectives.

4 Sessions:  Tuesday, November 7, 14, 28 and December 5 from 6:30–8:00 pm

Location:  Zoom

Fee: $100 ($50 trainees/students) $20 fee for a CME/CE certificate

Register Here