In the 1960s, a group of analysts from the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and the Southern California Psychoanalytic Society and Institute developed a keen interest in British Object Relations’ theory and practice and invited Kleinian and Middle-School clinicians from London to come to Los Angeles to lecture and supervise clinical work. Segal, Rosenfeld, Bion, Winnicott and Guntrip were among them. As an outcome of that endeavor, Wilfred Bion moved to Los Angeles in 1968, followed closely by Albert Mason. Susanna Isaacs-Elmhirst joined them some time afterwards.
The 1970s saw a period of enormous turbulence in Los Angeles psychoanalysis. Those analysts who worked with Bion and Mason were prevented to advance to Training Analyst status; seminar bibliographies were purged of Kleinian references and “attacks” on character were rampant. Free thought and inquiry were stifled in this climate of repression.
“Disenfranchised Kleinians” began to meet in private study groups, at Reiss-Davis Child Study Center and at the Department of Psychoanalysis of the California Graduate Institute, a freestanding graduate school of psychology.
PCC grew out of the CGI Department of Psychoanalysis in the early 1980s. The Chair of the Department, Dr. James Gooch, was holding regular meetings with candidates to address their needs and issues regarding training, and organizational components of the Department. Most of the driving force and actual work of organizing and establishing the PCC as a psychoanalytic society stemmed from the candidates. In 1984, PCC submitted Articles of Incorporation to the State of California, and thus PCC was legally born with James Gooch as President of the Society.
In 1987, following some philosophical conflicts between PCC and CGI, most members and candidates in the Department of Psychoanalysis decided to separate from CGI and to start a PCC training program, the Institute, which received approval from the California Medical Board. Seminars started in the fall of that year with Richard Alexander as the founding Dean of the Institute. A number of members from the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Institute and Society and the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute and Society joined PCC.
Although most of the original members of PCC were strongly influenced by Klein and/or analyzed by Bion, the majority believed and were committed to the development of an ecumenical curriculum and faculty and adhered to principles of lay analysis. In 1987, when the International Psychoanalytic Association adopted a policy of opening new IPA societies, PCC applied to become a Provisional Society and became an IPA Component Society in 1993.
PCC strives at preserving the philosophy of openness and inclusiveness of its founders by offering a comprehensive program of studies in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis with a particular emphasis on the exploration of the primitive aspects of the mind, starting with a full year dedicated to the works of Freud and to a course in Infant Observation using the method developed by Esther Bick at the Tavistock Clinic. Although the curriculum is built on the principles of Object Relations deriving from Klein and Bion, it is inclusive of classical Freudian Psychoanalysis, Self Psychology and other theories.