Welcome to the Los Angeles Institute
and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies

LAISPS is dedicated to psychoanalytic independence, an open-minded, discerning attitude toward the rich diversity of psychoanalytic theory and practice. We highly value the broad spectrum of psychoanalytic thought, including classical psychoanalytic theory, object relations, and attachment theory as well as contemporary perspectives of self psychology, intersubjectivity, and relational theories.

The Institute is committed to excellence in training and education of psychoanalysts as well as all psychotherapists, graduate students and interns, and allied professionals who wish to deepen their theoretical understanding and clinical skills in psychodynamic psychotherapy.

LAISPS offers an in-depth Psychoanalytic Training Program as well as an array of thought-provoking continuing education courses, including One-Year Programs in Trauma Studies, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and Eating Disorders. The Institute also features an exciting line-up of Extension CoursesScientific Programs and Conferences, and innovative Community Outreach activities including the Ernest S. Lawrence Trauma CenterProfessionals Affiliated with LAISPS, LAISPS Student Society, and The Affiliate Society. 

We welcome your interest and participation.



Friday 6:30 pm – 9:45 pm

Saturday 9:30 am – 4:30 pm



Audiences who viewed the 2018 documentary, “Three Identical Strangers” were shocked and disturbed by the true story of a set of identical triplets, given up for adoption at birth, who were placed in different homes and grew up without knowing of one another’s existence until accidentally meeting at age 19.  In a further twist, it was revealed that these triplets, along with several sets of twins who were similarly separated at birth, were then studied by researchers over a twelve- year period with the purpose of collecting data about the relative influence of nature vs nurture on development.

The adoption agency justified its practice of separating multiples because of the difficulty in placing multiple infants together, and because some studies suggested that twinship is a burden on families, and negatively affects the twins’ development of independent identities.

Using a screening of the documentary on Friday night as a starting point, this conference will explore the complex phenomenon of multiples, examining both research into the social practices concerning multiples represented by the secret twin studies as well as various psychoanalytic approaches to understanding twin dynamics.  



Registration from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. Wine and cheese will be provided.

On FRIDAY EVENING, we will show a screening of “Three Identical Strangers”. Afterwards, Nancy Segal, Ph.D. will discuss the documentary and the secret twin study as well as the body of research on twins raised apart.



Registration from 8:30am – 9:30 am.  Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

 In a videotaped presentation prepared for this conference, Alessandra Piontelli, M.D. will describe the development of twins from intrauterine life through age three. She will also examine the impact of twins on the lives of the parents and the dynamics of the family, beginning with the first reaction of parents to the news of a twin pregnancy.

Ricardo Ainslie, Ph.D. will talk about twinship as a unique developmental context with specific stresses and characteristics. He will describe the ways in which the separation-individuation process in twin differs from that of singletons.

Vivienne Lewin will discuss her clinical work with twins from a Kleinian perspective, and will show the ways in which the internal twin relationship manifests in treatment in the transference relationship to the analyst.

The conference will conclude with a panel discussion which will provide an opportunity for the presenters to discuss one another’s work and to respond to questions and comments from the audience.



NANCY SEGAL, PH.D., Director if the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton.  She is the former Assistant Director of the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, and is the author of Born Together – Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study, and Entwined Lives: Twins and what They Tell Us About Human Behavior. Currently, she is at work on a book about the secret twin study.

ALESSANDRA PIONTELLI, M.D., Visiting Professor of Child Neuropsychiatry and Researcher in the Department of Maternal/Fetal Medicine and Perinatology, University of Milan. She studied at the Tavistock clinic, where she was a student of Esther Bick, and is the author of Twins From Fetus to Child and Twins in the World.

RICARDO AINSLIE, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a founding member and past president of the Austin Society for   Psychoanalytic Psychology and is a member of the Austin – San Antonio Psychoanalytic Society. He is the author of The Psychology of Twinship.

VIVIENNE LEWIN is a Fellow of the British Psychotherapy Foundation and was a Training Psychotherapist and Supervisor for the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She is the author of The Twin in the Transference and The Twin Enigma: an Exploration of our Enduring Fascination with Twins.



Reduced rate hotel accommodations will be available for registered attendees coming from out of town.



Thomas Helscher, Ph.D., F.I.P.A., CHAIR, PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Trauma Studies Program

Trauma Studies Program will not be offered in the 2019-20 academic year but will return in the Fall of 2020.