The AAP Scholarship

The American Academy of Psychotherapists created the Scholarship program in 2009 to provide an intensive clinical training experience while introducing new therapists to AAP. Twenty individuals are selected each year to receive a $1200 need-blind, scholarship; to help cover their registration, hotel and meal expenses while they participate in AAP’s October Institute and Conference. .

Applying For a Scholarship

Scholarship Application Form

Donating to the Scholarship Fund

AAP’s Scholarship Program is sustained by donations from AAP members and others dedicated to providing this training opportunity to beginning professionals.

Donate to the Scholarship Fund (PDF)

To contribute to AAP’s Scholarship Fund,complete the donation form, and FAX your form to: AAP at: 518-463-8656; OR mail your donation to: American Academy of Psychotherapists 230 Washington Avenue Ext, Suite 101, Albany, New York  12203

The Benefits of the AAP Scholarship Award

Receiving this merit-based award allows promising new therapists to take time away from their careers and personal lives to create room for exploring their personal and professional development. Unlike other newcomers to AAP, scholarship recipients also take part in a four-day experiential process group composed of 10 scholars and led by two senior AAP therapists. The scholarship process group encourages each member to learn about themselves in relationships, and as psychotherapists. During the four-day conference, in addition to the scholarship group process experience, scholars also attend a limited number of other workshops, plenary sessions, conference-wide community meetings and social events. 

Uniquely AAP

We are passionately committed to the idea that the person of the therapist is central to successful therapy, rather than a specific technique.  We believe in the compelling role of countertransference and we value personal development as essential to becoming a master therapist. Our goal is to introduce new professionals to the AAP community, while helping them develop a commitment to their personal and professional development. We hope that with this experience, scholarship recipients will feel supported and welcomed into this professional community.

Many scholars and newcomers have noted that AAP meetings are different from other professional conferences they have attended. AAP values relational workshop experiences over lecture formats and encourages authentic interaction. To this end, interpersonal workshops and therapy demonstrations are featured, in addition to more traditional training formats and panel discussions.  Master clinicians offer experiential intensive training institutes as well. AAP members also have the opportunity to join long-term peer groups of Academy members that are designed to promote ongoing interpersonal learning and life-long collegial connections. In an increasingly technical and manualized treatment climate, AAP maintains a commitment to personal engagement, respect for the unconscious, and attention to current developments in the field of psychotherapy.

Former Scholarship Reflections

“Several weeks out I am continuing to process and absorb experiences from the week. I have felt transformed in my work as a therapist, in my relationships, in my own therapy.”

“The community is wonderful! It’s difficult to find a community where people are so open and vulnerable in their sharing... The community is also friendly and a lot of fun! After the 5 days were over, I felt very much more alive, more intimately connected to others and was able to more deeply and intimately feel myself.”

“Being a scholar was life-changing and amazing. It was the nurturing I needed and craved. It energized me in a powerful way.”

“I feel so much more ready to be part of the Academy than I have in the 7 years I have been [attending AAP events].” 

The Scholarship Selection Process   

The scholarship committee reviews all applications received before July 1st. and will select 20 advanced graduate students, interns, and new therapists to participate. Selections and notifications are made by July 15 in time for scholarship recipients to register for workshops, make travel arrangements, and reserve rooms at the hotel and, if desired, select a roommate.

Criteria for selection include: clinical work experience, level of education and post-graduate training, life experiences related to becoming a therapist, well-developed application essays, and references. We are looking for a diverse group of individuals who are open to process-oriented and relational therapeutic approaches Experience in group therapy and training groups will count in your favor.  Each year our scholarship recipients reflect a wide range of age and life experiences, cultural backgrounds, geographic locations, gender and ethnicity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the AAP Experience

1. What is the timeline and deadline for submitting my application, and responding to an offer?

Deadline for applications: July 1
Notification of applicants by: July 15th
RSVP to accept Scholarships: within two days of notification. 
Conference Registration by applicants:  August 1

Our review, selection and acceptance deadlines are close together because we need to accommodate recipients as well as members of our waiting list. Keep in mind that workshop registration is first come/ first served. In order for you to get a choice of workshops, scholarship recipients will need to register as soon as possible after receiving their acceptance email.  

2. What workshops can I register for in addition to the scholarship process group?

Each scholarship recipient agrees to attend all 10 hours / 4 sessions of the Scholarship Process Group. The SPG will meet one hour on Wednesday evening and three hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The core of your experience will revolve around the scholars’ process group and its members. Once you have determined which blocks of time are available for a limited number of additional workshops and plenary sessions, you may also register for sessions that fit into your schedule.

3. What costs can I expect to incur up front?

You will be responsible for covering your costs up front, with your personal credit card, including travel, conference registration, hotel and food.  Once you have accepted the scholarship, we ask you to go online and register at the student registration rate.  Scholars are asked to register for the Saturday dinner dance as well, since this is the culmination of the community’s week and not to be missed.  If you want CEUs, check that box too.

You will need to present a credit card for the hotel and incidentals upon your arrival at the conference.  Although breakfast is provided as part of the registration fee, you must plan to cover the cost of your other meals.

4. When will I receive the scholarship check?

We will present you with your award check (the total amount of $1,200) at the registration desk, on the first day of the conference.  This is our policy, in order to guarantee that checks go only to registered attendees.  Your scholarship award is intended to reimburse you for your conference registration, CEUs (if selected), meals, and shared hotel room.  Awardees will need to be prepared to cover additional costs, including travel, if necessary.  

5. How can I save on costs?

AAP negotiates a block of rooms at the hotel at a special conference rate.
Most scholarship recipients (SRs) save on hotel costs by sharing a room with one or more SRs or other conference attendees.  Once you receive the names and contact information of your scholarship cohort, you can arrange roommates via email.

6. Why should I stay in the hotel?

The scholarship experience is a unique and intense experience. The vast majority of SRs scholarship recipients stay on the premises to allow for easy access to social and community events, and spontaneous gatherings with other conferees. The AAP meeting involves long hours and being on site allows you to take short breaks in your room and return easily. We provide you with a stipend in order to make the hotel costs affordable for early career therapists; and we will deduct $400 from your scholarship if you choose not to stay in the hotel. 

7. How can I distinguish between didactic and process-oriented workshops in the brochure?

Workshops that are didactic are likely to be larger than 20 participants. Workshops that are relational are smaller in size and frequently include the terms “process group”, ‘interpersonal “ or “interactive” in the workshop description.

8. What should I wear to the conference workshops and the Saturday night dance?

There is no prescribed dress code for the conference. Pack comfortable and casual clothing for five days of workshops and activities, and some athletic/leisure wear. Some workshops are movement based and require athletic clothing. Almost no one wears suits, ties or heels until Saturday night.

However, for the Saturday night dinner dance, people tend to dress up. You will see an array of cocktail dresses, long dresses, dress pants, dress shirts, and jackets and ties at the dinner dance celebration. Of course, there is no mandatory dress code. 

9. Can I bring my partner, or children to the conference or the dance? 

Non-therapists may register for workshops at the I&C. However, it is recommended that they have had substantial exposure to therapy and group therapy if they choose to participate in workshops. They must be registered at the conference in order to attend plenaries and community meetings. Members and SRs have the option of inviting family members to the dance or Saturday night dinner, at an additional cost. Some people find the presence of partners to be helpful, though for others the presence of outsiders gets in the way of engaging on the last evening of the I&C. 

10. Once I arrive, what will be some ways for me to connect with other scholars?

Here are some ways that AAP supports scholarship recipients in finding each other:
-  Scholarship recipients will have a designation on their name tags so you can identify each other. 
-    On Wednesday, scholarship recipients are welcome at the Newcomers’ Reception. 
-    At the Wednesday Welcome Dinner and the Saturday dinner, table(s) will be set aside for SRs.
-    The Scholarship Deans will invite you to participate in a low-cost lunch on Thursday for scholars to meet /greet each other socially.  
-    A Sunday Morning de-brief session for SRs will be held 8-9 AM before the Closing Experience. Scholarship committee members will lead this debriefing session to give our participants an on-site opportunity to provide feedback with the whole group present.  (You will also have a chance to give us feedback by responding to a questionnaire, after the conference is over.)
-    Scholarship participants exchange emails with each other and are encouraged to stay in touch after their experience at the I&C comes to a close.

11. How can I make the process of connecting to the larger AAP community easier?

Many members of AAP have developed connections with each other  friendships over the course of many years,their professional life-times, and the obvious intimacy and bonds can be intimidating to newcomers. However, since it is AAP’s has a mission to expand our community, intention to educate and train new therapists, there is now also a significant  cohort of younger members. As a scholarship recipient, you are encouraged to join the community meetings, hang out in the hospitality suite in the evenings, sign up for a hosted dinner at registration, and seek out members you have connected with throughout the conference.

12. What should I expect from the scholarship process group and how should I prepare?

The invaluable and intense scholarship process group involves personal sharing, and you will may at times feel challenged to move beyond your comfort zone. This is an opportunity to discover some of the most valuable aspects of AAP, including authentic self-expression and many styles of therapeutic interaction. Within the  SPGscholarship’  process group, members are encouraged to speak of their experiences, including when if they feel uncomfortable with something that happens in the ir SPGgroup. They are encouraged to speak about their reactions up within the group for their own sake, as well as for the good of the group. SPG participants  Within the scholarship process group, participants frequently discuss their experiences in workshops, plenaries and their encounters within with other the I&Cconference attendees, in order to integrate their AAP experience.

Some of the best preparation for this experience will be taking part in a therapy group, a local AAP salon or another type of group process workshop,-- in order to get exposure to intense interpersonal interactions that occur routinely in the AAP culture.

The AAP website has this a Library tab which is a collection of summaries, links and research articles:

13. Who can I turn to for support when I need it? 

The Scholarship Dean will be available to help you before during and after the conference, by responding to your concerns and questions. Once you arrive at the hotel, you will meet members of the scholarship committee at the registration desk. Our committee, the Dean, and the AAP Membership Chair will all be present at the Newcomers Reception, the welcome dinner, and the large-group Opening Experience on Wednesday.  We will do our best to welcome you.

Your scholarship process group leaders are there to help you successfully manage what comes up in your group. In addition, other AAP-ers may also be helpful to you, including your workshop leaders, former SRs, colleagues, AAP Fellows, Executive Committee members, etc.

If you are referred by have a supervisor or therapist who belongs to AAP, make sure you discuss whether you will be able to touch base during the conference and how to do so. HopefullIdeallyy you are involved in ongoing therapy or supervision, and will have opportunities after the conference to help you process your experience and make the most out of it.

14. What can I do to stay connected with AAP after the conference? 

Throughout your conference experience, you may cultivate relationships that you choose to develop after the conference. You may identify members whom you choose wish to continue to deepen withknow better, share contact information with your peers, and learn about future meetings at AAP’s local and regional chapters. If you attend future AAP meetings and get to know our membership, we would be happy to help you work toward becoming a member.

AAP Scholarship Co-Chairs:
    Doris Jackson, PhD
    Laurie Michaels, PhD
    Lyn Sommer (
    Edwin Sharp, PhD