The activities of the ACP include the development of educational programs for its members as well as for other mental health professionals, the development of collaboration among members in different parts of the country and the world, the development of public information strategies to inform the general public about the value of a psychoanalytic frame of reference to the understanding of childhood, adolescence, and parenting, and the continued scientific development of the field. Many psychoanalysts teach psychoanalysts-in-training and other mental health professionals, consult in Day Care Centers, Nurseries, Parent Child Centers, and Schools, as well as juvenile court, adult courts and with attorneys on forensic and legislative issues.
Through the examination of the complex relationship between body and mind and the relationship between a child and his or her family, the psychoanalytic frame of reference furthers our understanding of the role of physical health, trauma, parenting, and emotions in personality development and functioning. The psychoanalytic point of view stresses the importance of understanding the individual child and his or her place in the family, in school, in play situations, with peers, and in all other aspects of life. A psychoanalytic framework recognizes the fact that past experiences influence the present and that these past experiences may be distorted by the child's immature developmental and cognitive abilities. It also recognizes that there are factors outside of an individual's (adult or child) awareness which affect the person's thinking and behavior (unconscious mental activity). At other times these factors are remembered but their meaning and importance is not given appropriate weight and/or significance.
Child Psychoanalysts are expert in many modalities of psychological treatment of children and adolescents and their families. Analysts may consult with the child's family or with the child or adolescent individually. In instances where a child's or adolescent's unconscious mental activity adversely affects his or her current functioning and ability to progress, psychoanalytic treatment can assist in discovering and mastering the inner obstacles, and past traumatic experiences.