This Institute will teach new therapists to
recognize the great strengths in the people of Harlem,
and build on them toward a growing capacity for love.

Margaret Morgan Lawrence M.D.

One of HFI's founders and a continuing trustee

Our Mission

The Harlem Family Institute is a multicultural psychoanalytic training institute that provides two community services:

  • For children, their parents and adults in need, a deeply committed program offering free or affordable, long-term therapy provided in neighborhood schools and community centers, especially in underserved areas.
  • For aspiring psychoanalysts from diverse backgrounds, a dynamic training institute offering a foundation for a career as a certified psychoanalyst.

Few long-term psychotherapeutic and emotional-support programs exist for struggling and at-risk youth and their parents in New York’s schools in underserved neighborhoods.

The Institute takes psychoanalytic work out into the community where it gives youngsters a safe space to voice their feelings, learn to use their strengths to manage the challenges they face each day, and discover new ways to relate to the world.


Our History

The Institute was founded in 1991 to serve a struggling and neglected population – impoverished or low-income children and adolescents in Harlem schools and their families.

HFI founder psychoanalyst Stephen Kurtz, left, with founding trustees Dr. Margaret Morgan Lawrence,
and Dr. Robert Coles

It grew from a program for children created by psychoanalyst Stephen Kurtz, at an independent, tuition-free Harlem school, the Children's Storefront. The founding trustees included Dr. Margaret Morgan Lawrence, the nation's first African-American woman pediatrician and psychoanalyst, who remained on the Institute's Board until her death in December 2019 at the age of 105, and Dr. Robert Coles, the Harvard child psychiatrist. Find out more and read Mr. Kurtz’s personal recollection.


  Read Founder Kurtz’s HFI memoir

Our Future

The Institute wants to locate foundations and individuals eager to partner with us to host our treatment sites or to support our programs, designed to empower communities in need. If you want to help, please contact us.

We are also preparing to introduce a Parent-Child Program, in which groups of parents and their toddlers, or groups of mothers or fathers and their babies meet weekly with one or more therapists. Those needing more individual work could be referred to an Institute therapist or therapist-in-training.

We are also preparing to offer psychological-testing and evaluation services for schools and individual children, and psychoanalytically focused educational workshop programs for the community, for parents and for educators. If you are interested, please contact us.

We are eager to establish treatment centers in more schools and community centers, especially in underserved New York City neighborhoods, and to attract more psychoanalytic candidates, psychology interns and others to our programs to staff them. If you are interested in hosting a site for a small annual fee or in training or accruing experiential hours with us, please contact us.

The Institute's Board of Trustees, which holds ultimate responsibility for the Institute's affairs, is led by an independent chair and generally meets quarterly.

Trustees are elected by the board to three-year terms on a staggered basis, one third facing re-election each year. Students may elect one representative to the board each year for a one-year term. Officers face re-election every year.

The Institute's Advisory Council comprises senior psychoanalysts distinguished by many years of excellence in their analytic work and their research, writing or teaching, who offer their counsel to the Institute as needed.

Click here for the boards' members.

Margaret Morgan Lawrence Family & Child Development Center

The Institute's new 501(c)(3) nonprofit subsidiary, Harlem Family Services, Inc., is establishing in 2024 a Harlem center to help hundreds of children, teens, parents, families and others, initially through life-coaching consultations while it works to establish a Harlem clinical facility. Click here for HFS's Margaret Morgan Lawrence Family & Child Development Center.


The Institute's administration — which is small, in keeping with the Institute's desire to operate as inexpensively as possible — is led by the president / executive director, who is responsible for overseeing the overall and day-to-day management and financial affairs of the Institute.

Clinical work and clinical supervision are the responsibility of the clinical director. The Institute's training and other programs are administered by the program administrator.

Click here for a list of the administration members.


The Institute welcomes people of diverse backgrounds and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, age, physical disability, marital status, gender or sexual orientation in any aspect of its functioning or programs.


Click here for HFI Testimonials.


The Institute's faculty, drawn by Harlem Family's mission to serve children and families in underserved neighborhoods, come from a broad range of New York's psychoanalytic institutes.

All the Institute’s supervisors are licensed graduates of psychoanalytic institutes. All supervisors are required to have been practicing as licensed clinicians competent in psychoanalytic work for at least three years.

Click here to go to our Faculty page with further information on our members.

Annual Reports,
Our Donors

The Institute's activities, finances and donors each year are summarized in its annual reports. Its annual financial reports are published here by the NY State Attorney General's Charities Bureau. Its more general annual reports are here:
2017 + 2018 Click to download PDF
2015 + 2016 Click to download PDF
2014 Click to download as a PDF
2012 Click to download as a PDF
2011 Click to download as a PDF

Accreditation and Affiliations

The Institute’s psychoanalytic training program was awarded national accreditation on May 17, 2014, by the American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis.

The Institute is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.

The Institute is a member of the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education.

The Institute is a member of the Alliance of Psychoptherapy Training Institutes of New York.

The Institute’s Licensure-Qualifying Program in Psychoanalysis, leading to the License in Psychoanalysis, was approved by the New York State Education Department on August 12, 2015. The website of the State Office of the Professions offers a wealth of information about the License in Psychoanalysis.