After graduating from Catholic University, I inquired where people went to get the best training in psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory and practice. The Washington School of Psychiatry and the DC Institute for Mental Hygiene were named repeatedly.
I knew nothing about the Institute’s stellar history when I began working in one of the three branches of what was typically called DCIMH. I am only now fully aware of its incredible backstory. Dr. Harold Eist was appointed the Medical Director of the tiny Institute in 1969 with a handful of staff members seeing less than a total of twenty patients. Harold was the genius behind creating the Institute’s mission which set it apart from all other community mental health centers. The mission was two-fold: first, to provide the same kind of quality mental health care to the poor that the affluent could receive; and second, to offer the best psychoanalytic training to volunteers so that they would flock to the Institute, gladly trading their time and service for the opportunity to learn psychoanalytic theory and practice treating this population. This mission drove its success.