The Ernest S. Lawrence Trauma Center

In 1999, the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS) launched the Trauma Center under the guidance of Dr. Ernest S. Lawrence in response to overwhelming mental health challenges within the Los Angeles community. In so doing, LAISPS reached beyond its borders into the city’s ethnically, socially, and economically diverse communities.

The mission of The Ernest S. Lawrence Trauma Center is to provide community service and outreach through psychoanalytically informed treatment of emotional and physical traumas. These programs are based on the principle that psychoanalytic perspectives can be of great benefit when applied outside their traditional frame in confronting cycles of trauma, child abuse and neglect, and transgenerational violence within the community.  In turn, it is believed that psychoanalysis itself can be enhanced by active engagement with these issues.

The Center is comprised of Parents and Infants Developing Together and The Soldiers Project, and also features pertinent workshops for the community.

Parents and Infants Developing Together provides psychological services for families in which multi-generational child abuse may be occurring. A group of volunteer clinicians comprised of members of LAISPS and a LAISPS Affiliates group travels weekly to the Echo Park section of Los Angeles and counsels mothers, fathers, and other family members who are attempting to raise their children without violence. These clients are referred through the Center for Non-Violent Parenting, a non-profit organization in that community. Other Trauma Center therapists provide these services at the Venice Family Clinic in West Los Angeles.

The Trauma Center has offered workshops addressing clinical issues that are likely to arise when working with at-risk populations.  Dr. Neil Altman, psychoanalyst and author of “Analyst in the Inner City” has spoken on “Psychotherapy with Inner-City Populations: A Psychodynamic-Systems Perspective” and “Psychotherapy with Foster Children/Youth and their Families: A Psychodynamic-Systems Perspective.” These workshops were offered in collaboration with A Home Within, an organization that provides pro bono therapy for foster children, and the Venice Family Clinic.

The Soldiers Project addresses the vital need for psychological services for service members and their families. This group of volunteer clinicians offers counseling and support for service men and women, children, spouses, and parents struggling with the overwhelming trauma of war, from deployment to homecoming to post-war readjustment. The Soldiers Project also offers educational outreach to the community. Monthly meetings open to both clinicians and others who are interested in these issues feature guest speakers in the area of war trauma. An active Speakers Bureau comprised of Soldiers Project clinicians sends speakers to community venues to teach and raise awareness about soldiers and their families, who are profoundly affected by current wartime situations.

The Soldiers Project originated within LAISPS and has evolved into an independent, nationally renowned organization dedicated to providing psychological understanding and counseling to service members and their families. For further information about The Soldiers Project, please visit the organization’s website at