The mission of the Sanville Institute is to provide excellence in doctoral education and ongoing professional growth for a culturally diverse community of master’s-level mental health professionals.
Promote a healthier world by creating innovative leaders and critical thinkers in the field of mental health and social policy.
- Adult Learners
The Institute nurtures the capacity of adult learners for professional growth and personal development through education.
- Advanced Clinical Practice
The Institute is committed to teaching advanced clinical practice that is grounded in psychodynamic understanding, includes a breadth of psychotherapeutic modalities, and reflects awareness of the impact of society and culture on the development of the self, theory, and knowledge.
The Institute encourages diversity of all kinds, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic, gender expression, religious, physical ability, and sexual orientation in its board, administration, faculty, and student body.
- Integrated Educational Model
The Institute strives to make learning a relational process that fosters the integration of theory, experience, practice, and research.
- Promotion of Psychological Understanding
The Institute fosters the application of psychological understanding to enhance the well-being of individuals and groups, and specifically values this in relation to itself at all levels, including the board of trustees, faculty, administration, alumni, and students.
Pre-1974 Informal Planning Period
1974 Signing of the State Charter founding the Institute for Clinical Social Work
1975-1976 Formal Planning Year
1976-1977 Experimental Year
1977-1978 First Operational Year of the Institute
1984 Change of Name to California Institute for Clinical Social Work
1992 Admission of Marriage & Family Therapists
2004 Admission of master’s-level mental health professionals
2005 Change of name to The Sanville Institute
The Institute for Clinical Social Work was incorporated in October, 1974, by a small group of experienced practitioners with a vision of advanced professional education that would permit students to continue their practices while earning a doctoral degree. The founders were members of the California Society for Clinical Social Work, a California professional association, which sponsored the foundation of the Institute.
Following incorporation in 1974, the founding Board of Trustees began a series of meetings to develop the philosophy and direction of the program. After nearly a year of regular meetings, in September 1975, the trustees invited a group of highly esteemed clinical social workers from different areas of the State to participate in planning. In March 1976, this planning group was further expanded to include prominent social work educators, administrators, consultants, and practitioners.
Committees collected and reviewed literature on existing doctoral programs in social work, on other innovative educational programs offering advanced degrees, and from the World Health Organization, which had delineated model programs in professional education. Other committees formulated standards for selecting faculty and students and studied the requirements of the California State Department of Education, Office of Private Post-secondary Education. These studies culminated in the establishment of a nine-month program to test the tentative format and to further develop educational philosophy, curriculum, and modus operandi.
Forty-three highly qualified students were admitted out of 46 applicants for the experimental academic year of 1976/77. Five colloquia were established, each led by an “animateur,” a faculty member who served as facilitator. Each colloquium was charged with the further development of an aspect of the emerging program. The essential structure and content of the program as it exists today was created, and the program opened for new students in the fall of 1977.
In the spring of 1984, the Institute’s Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the Institute to the California Institute for Clinical Social Work in order to differentiate it from another similarly named school that was established in Chicago. In 1992 the Institute expanded its admission policies to include marriage and family therapists who demonstrate a commitment to the principles underlying clinical social work. In 2004, the Institute changed its admission criteria to a master’s degree in a field that leads to licensure as a mental health professional, sufficient practice to support clinical learning, and malpractice insurance. In January 2005, a new name for the Institute was inaugurated, The Sanville Institute.
Jean Sanville was a pioneering advocate for women and Latinos in the mental health profession, and a vocal defender of the qualifications of clinical social workers and psychologists to practice psychoanalysis.
She was a founder not only of the graduate school that now bears her name, but of the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, the creation of which led the American Psychoanalytic Association to accept non-medical practitioners into its ranks for the first time.
Throughout her life she pushed the boundaries of the possible.
She became one of America’s first women aviators in the 1930s, and was a courageous opponent of the McCarthyite loyalty oaths in the 1950s. Widely traveled, she served as an advisor on mental health issues in numerous Latin American and Asian countries, and never ceased to support the advance of educational opportunities in the profession of social welfare.
The remarks below were made at the dedication of the California Institute of Clinical Social Work in her name.
Where to begin to tell you what it means to me to have the California Institute for Clinical Social Work renamed the Sanville Institute?
And that this change of name is happening because the Institute no longer limits its doctoral program to clinical social workers but extends its educational offerings to those holding master’s degrees in a closely related profession, marriage and family therapy—professionals who work in domains almost indistinguishable from those of social work.
So there would seem to be every reason to assume some basic similarities in what we do. We might predict that in California both of these helping professions could be enriched by their “intermarriage.”
I am sure that many of you have heard me say that as an adolescent I found Karl Menninger’s The Human Mind on my physician-father’s bookshelf. That led me to the decision from which I have never deviated: that psychodynamic social work, guided by psychoanalytic principles, was going to be my profession.
Certainly, when I elected to go to the University of Colorado in Boulder, it was not in expectation of being taught Freudian concepts. I had simply fallen in love with the Rocky Mountains with their breathtaking views.
In my senior year, I got myself out to the Boulder Airport and was one of two women accepted as candidates for flying lessons.
In retrospect, I realize that the real reason those lessons were available was an awareness that a war was coming, and the U.S.A. needed trained pilots. As it happened neither of us two women was inducted into military service, and during wartime we were not allowed to be pilots!
So it was years before I flew a plane again. That was in the nation of Guyana in 1966.
My husband Richard and I were invited to consult with President Forbes Burnham to help him deal with the frightening problems brought about by the hatred of two racial-cultural groups. Among the ways it was being expressed was that parents sent their children to school armed.
Burnham knew I had had a TV program in Los Angeles, a CBS twice-weekly show called “Know Your Child,” so he gave me TV time during that summer.
I was leading workshops and seminars for every group in the country that worked with people—including even the police, who were at first irritated, demanding to know what in the world mental health had to do with them! By the end of the summer, they loved me and the course and gave me a gift: a policemen’s club!
I have always loved contact with people who are of cultures other than my own. So, over the years, I’ve served as consultant in the Caribbean, in Peru, the Dominican Republic, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan.
I have felt deep involvement with Mexico. Richard and I drove to Mexico whenever we could find the time. In the early years of our visits, the analysts were primarily medical men. But as a consequence of our coming to know well some of the non-medical mental health people today there is a non-medical institute in Mexico City approved by the International Psychoanalytic.
I am looking for some time to make the trip again, for the social work analysts want officially to award me in some way for the help they feel I gave them in accomplishing their goal of a training institute for non-medical mental health professionals.
FOUNDING OF THE SANVILLE INSTITUTE
I imagine that many other suggestions for a new name for what has been the California Institute for Clinical Social Work must have been proposed and discussed. I am not sure why the Board went back—in imagination or in actual memory—to the meetings of the clinical social workers who were the founders of the Institute.
Many of us still harbor rich reminiscences of those founding meetings at Asilomar, the especially inspirational setting along California’s beautiful central coast.
One of my favorite sayings in psychoanalysis is “Life begins with the dialogue.” Well, CICSW began with a multilogue—the energetic exchange of ideas and ideals that were to shape this new institute. When we at last determined the concepts upon which we believed the Institute should be based, I was somehow selected to be its first dean. And, although I had never consciously aspired to that, I did accept the appointment, agreeing to serve for just two years.
THE LOYALTY OATH
And yet, years later, when the dean of the new School of Social Welfare at UCLA sought me out to be on his faculty, indeed to aid in developing the second year program, I could not say no.
And I spent a lot of years there. Indeed, I am not sure I would ever have wanted to quit, but there was the “Year of the Oath,” and when I refused to sign, of course I was out. But, I was not out of teaching. Erik Erikson was in the same fix as I, and he took a job at Harvard and invited me to come too.
ADVOCACY FOR SOCIAL WORKERS
I was a founding member, thirty some years ago, of LAISPS. We believed strongly that medical training was not essential for a psychoanalyst. So, our Institute was, in its early years, sued by the American Psychoanalytic.
As President at the time, I was subpoenaed and spent a day in a luxurious downtown law office being grilled by medical analysts, after which they dropped their suit.
We have never as a group joined the American Psychoanalytic Association, but that organization does keep old Jean on an interdisciplinary committee that meets each year to discuss ways to improve various aspects of psychoanalytic training programs and to make suggestions that we think might deepen and broaden them.
And the International Psychoanalytic, which never harbored this prejudice against non-medicals, invited such institutes in the U.S. to select representatives to the House of Delegates of the International. Norbert Freedman from New York and Jean Sanville from Los Angeles were elected and served as the first non-medical representatives from this country.
I feel that the California Institute for Clinical Social Work has deepened and broadened the ideas and ideals that we in the old founding group articulated years ago.
At a time in history when most schools of social work are cutting down or eliminating psychodynamic perspectives, this institute manifests approaches that can keep honing those modes of diagnosis and therapy in ways that social changes will inevitably require.
I am profoundly moved that this PhD program will now be known as the Sanville Institute. That is a form of immortality of which I never dreamed.