Institute History

The story of psychoanalysis in Denver goes back to 1923 when the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital was built for the study and treatment of patients with mental illness and for clinical teaching.  

In the early 1930s, Swiss trained psychoanalyst, John D. Benjamin, arrived for "balcony treatment" for tuberculosis - making him the first psychoanalyst in Colorado.  However Dr. Benjamin did not become involved with the University of Colorado Medical School until Herbert Gaskill arrived in 1953.

Meanwhile, in the late 1940s the University of Colorado Medical School started to attract national attention.  Psychiatry was taught for all four years in the medical school curriculum, had a liaison program that linked psychiatry to other services and established an outpatient psychiatric clinic for children. 

Interest in psychoanalysis grew and from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, a group of six individuals (Robert Emde, John Kelly, Paul Levine, David Metcalf, George Mizner, and Samuel Wagonfeld) were interested in psychoanalytic training but did not want to move or wait until the Denver Institute was open, and so they commuted every other week, eighteen times per year for five years to the Chicago Institute for their training.



Herbert Gaskill was the chair of Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado and was instrumental in creating the Institute.  In 1969 the Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis was founded, and later became accredited in 1972 by the American Psychoanalytic Association.  

Even with faculty with experience in child development and research, such as Rene Spitz, John Benjamin, Gaston Blum, and Dane Prugh, the first Child & Adolescent training program did not began until 1988.   

In 1992, the Denver Psychoanalytic Society began offering classes in Psychodynamic Psychotherapies, which the Institute later took over.


To read more about the Institute's history, check out these articles published in 1994 in the American Psychoanalyst.

As of  June 2017, the Institute has graduated 80 individuals in Adult Psychoanalysis and 12 individuals in Child & Adolescent Psychoanalysis as well as 76 individuals in the Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapies Program and 13 individuals in the Child & Adolescent Psychodynamic Psychotherapies Program.

12469 E. 17th Place, Mail Stop F478, Aurora CO 80045  (303) 724-2666 | office@denverpsychoanalytic.org

The Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
The Denver Psychoanalytic Society is a 501(6)non-profit organization     
The Denver Psychoanalytic Society Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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