Clinical Psychologist and psychoanalyst

solana beach, ca

Alan Sugarman Ph.D.
Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, Child and Adolescent Psychologist, Adult Psychoanalyst, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry–UCSD, Training and Supervising Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychoanalyst–San Diego Psychoanalytic Center

I have been a licensed clinical psychologist in San Diego for over thirty years, evaluating and treating children, adolescents, and adults with psychotherapy and/or psychoanalysis. Before moving here I was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Chief Psychologist of the Yale Psychiatric Institute where I evaluated and treated seriously disturbed adolescents and young adults in a long term residential setting.

My approach to treating patients of all ages is to first conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation so that I can tailor their treatment to their unique difficulties. Such an evaluation requires an understanding of their own development as my approach to treatment assumes that the symptoms or problematic behaviors for which my patients want help are grounded in their personalities and the ways their minds work. That is, I assume that their difficulties originally evolved as ways of maintaining some sort of mental/emotional equilibrium but eventually became problematic in their own right. Thus, my developmentally based diagnostic evaluation aims to understand the functions served by the problems in question.

Treatments then aim at helping the patient learn to reflect on his or her mind at work, see its various functions in action, understand why they work and interact in the way they do, and use this understanding to gain greater control of one’s own mind. Self-regulation is the ultimate goal and necessary for reducing symptoms, changing problematic ways of relating to others, gaining discipline, developing self-confidence, and the like. This is a very different and highly individualized approach to diagnosis and treatment than the traditional psychiatric one of grouping patients according to clusters of symptoms and treating them with a manualized, cookbook approach that assumes symptoms always are caused by the same thing no matter how different each individual’s personality and life-history is.

I also believe it crucial to continue my involvement in academia through teaching and research. This involvement keeps me up to date on current ideas and approaches so that my treatment is always supported by contemporary findings from psychoanalytic, neuro-scientific, and developmental research.

• Private Practice treating and assessing children, adolescents, and adults for over thirty years.

• Board Certified in Adult Psychoanalysis, Board on Professional Standards,         American Psychoanalytic Association-1989

• Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis, Board on Professional Standards, American Psychoanalytic Association-1995

• Diplomate in Assessment Psychology-American Board of Assessment Psychology-1993

• Fellow-Society for Personality Assessment-1989

• Teaching and supervising psychology interns, postdoctoral fellows, psychiatric residents, child psychiatric fellows in psychotherapy, UCSD

• Teaching and supervising psychoanalytic candidates in psychoanalysis, San Diego Psychoanalytic Center

• Teaching and supervising psychoanalytic psychotherapy fellows in psychotherapy, San Diego Psychoanalytic Center

• Co-Director of Education, San Diego Psychoanalytic Center

• One of the hundred most cited and downloaded authors on the Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing website for 2012 and 2013.

• Levy-Goldfarb Lecturer in Child Psychoanalysis, The Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine, Columbia University, Department of Psychiatry, October, 2010

• Editorial Boards of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Psychoanalytic Quarterly, and Psychoanalytic Psychology

• Winner of the Menninger Foundation Alumni Writing Award

• Member, American Psychological Association

• Member, American Psychoanalytic Association, Fellow-Board on Professional Standards

• Member, International Psychoanalytical Association

• Member, Association for Child Psychoanalysis

• Member, Center for Advanced Psychoanalytic Studies

Areas of Specialty:

o Improving relations with others
o Elevating self-esteem and self-confidence
o Alleviating Anxiety, Depression, and Inhibitions
o Modifying self-defeating attitudes, behaviors, and personality traits
o Managing one’s emotions, particularly one’s anger

o Learning self-control
o Reducing impulsiveness
o Managing temper
o Improving academic motivation
o Helping peer relations
o Eliminating unrealistic fears
o Coping with divorce and death
o Parent Guidance


  1. -
    Clinical Psychologist, Self-employed
  2. -
    Assistant Professor, Yale University Department of Psychiatry
  3. -
    Post Doctoral Fellow, The Menninger Clinic
  4. -
    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Clinical Psychology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville


  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychological Testing
  • Counseling Psychology

Experience Highlights

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Assistant Professor
    Yale University Department of Psychiatry
  • Post Doctoral Fellow
    The Menninger Clinic

Education Highlights

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Clinical Psychology
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville