What is the Frances Tustin Memorial Trust?

The Frances Tustin Memorial Trust was established in Los Angeles, California in 1995, dedicated to the teaching, expansion and extension of Frances Tustin’s seminal work on the understanding and treatment of autistic spectrum disorders in children, adolescents and adults, as well as the treatment of autistic states and defenses in individuals of all ages. The trust aims at expanding Tustin’s thinking on a variety of primitive mental states.

Toward this goal, each year the Trust presents The Frances Tustin Memorial Prize and Lecture, now co-sponsored by The Program of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Each year the Trust awards a prize of $1,000 to the author of an outstanding clinical paper related to primitive mental states, in general, and autistic states and defenses in in particular, and/or expands and deepens the psychoanalytic theory on such states and defenses. Criteria for the prize appear under: FTM prize and lecture.

The Prize-winning author is invited to present the winning paper at The Frances Tustin Memorial Lectureship held each year in Tel Aviv, Israel during October/November to commemorate the anniversary of Frances Tustin’s death on November 10, 1994.

The End Was The Beginning

After Tustin’s death, a Memorial Tribute was held in Santa Monica, California on October 21, 1995. Initiated and coordinated by Dr. Judith Mitrani, the conference was sponsored by the Psychoanalytic Center of California’s Continuing Education Committee, and was introduced and moderated by PCC President Elect John Lundgren, MD.

The audience of over ninety mental health workers was addressed by six speakers: Drs. James Grotstein, Charlotte Riley, and Judith Mitrani of Los Angeles; Dr. Victoria Hamilton of England, Ms. Maria Pozzi of Italy and Dr. David Rosenfeld of Argentina — all of whom had a direct connection with Mrs. Tustin.

The hall where the meeting took place was decorated with portraits of Tustin in her youth, at the beginning of her career, up to the month before her death. A video of her BBC Interview with Alexander Newman of the Squiggle Foundation in London was on view at the reception table, where copies of all of Tustin’s books — generously donated for the occasion by her publishers, Karnac and Routledge — were available to participants for purchase.

A Written Memorial

After the Memorial Conference, Drs. Theodore and Judith Mitrani began the work of collecting, editing and translating scientific contributions from all over the world to add to the papers presented at the Memorial Tribute to comprise a Festschrift for Frances Tustin. Subsequently,Encounters with Autistic States: A Memorial Tribute to Frances Tustinwas published and released by Jason Aronson in 1997.

The Establishment of The FTM Trust

The proceeds from the Memorial, from sales of Tustin’s own books, from the sale of the Mitrani’s book, and some small donations from individuals enabled the establishment of The Frances Tustin Memorial Trust to subsidize and administer a special perpetual fund to support an Annual Frances Tustin Memorial Prize (FTMP) of $1,000 and a Lectureship to be presented each year to the author of an outstanding paper, utilizing, explicating and extending Tustin’s seminal ideas. These papers focus on the psychoanalytic work with autistic states and defenses, in children, adolescents and adults.

For over twenty years, the Trust has awarded the FTM Prize and has hosted the presentation of the prize winning paper in Los Angeles. The recipients of this prize have been Suzanne Maiello of Rome, Italy; Maria Rhode of London, England; Maria Pozzi of London, England; Paul Barrows of Bristol, England; Vincenzo Bonaminio of Rome, Italy; Didier Houzel of Caen, France; Bianca Lechevalier of Caen, France; Jeffrey Eaton of Seattle, USA; Celia Fix Korbivcher of São Paulo, Brazil; Alina Schellekes of Kiriat-Ono, Israel; Dana Amir, of Haifa, Israel; Dolan Powers, of Boston MA, USA; Ofra Eshel of Tel-Aviv, Israel; Mark Howard of Sydney, Australia; Pascale Ambroise, of Torcy, France, Nilofer Kaul, of Delhi, India, Louise Gyler, of Sydney, Australia and Shiri Ben Bassat of Israel.

The trust sincerely thanks those American members who served on The Board of Trustees for 20 years and graciously gave their time and dedication throughout the first two decades of the existence of the FTM Trust: Patty Antin, JoAnn Culbert-Koehn, Jeffrey Eaton, Janis Goldman, James Gooch, Avedis Panajian, Naomi Thorpe and Leigh Tobias.

Added to the Annual Lectures, the FTM Trust has also sponsored International three- day conferences on the work of Frances Tustin: in London, England in October of 2004; in Caen, France in April of 2005; in Venice, Italy in October of 2006; at The IPA Congress in Berlin, Germany in July of 2007; in Tel-Aviv, Israel in May of 2008; in Berlin, Germany in 2010; in Sydney, Australia in 2012; and in Boston, MA, USA in 2014; and in Warsaw, Poland in 2022.

After moving to Paris, France Dr. Judi Mitrani made great efforts to establish in 2017 a cooperation with several esteemed organizations in France, which agreed to be co-sponsors { L’Universitè Paris Descartes (V) , Sociètè Psychanalytique de Paris (SPP), Le Coordination Internationale entre Psychothérapeutes Psychanalystes et Membres Associée (CIPPA), Espace Analytique(EA), Le Journal de La Psychanalyse de L’Enfant (JPE)}. The trust wishes to thank Didier Houzel, Bernard Golse, Bianca Lechevalier, Hélène Suarez Labat, Dominique Amy, Alain Vanier, Geneviéve Haag, Maria Rhode, Theodore Mitrani who all invested time and wisdom to make the transfer to France work. However, great difficulties were encountered in securing a venue in Paris for the lectureship that had been planned for November 2018 and these difficulties ultimately led to the dissolution of the French Board.

At this stage Dr. Judi Mitrani, the founder of the trust and its chair for more than 20 years, addressed Alina Schellekes (training and supervising psychoanalyst of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society; Head of the Primitive Mental States track, Program of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy,  Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel; Frances Tustin Prize winner in 2008) and asked her to take upon herself the role of chair of the Trust. The Trust wishes to thank Dr. Judi Mitrani for her tremendous contribution to the development of the Trust and its activities all over the world. For decades Dr. Mitrani has invested her passion, wisdom and depth of theoretical and clinical knowledge to develop the Trust.

Since November 2018 Alina Schellekes became the new chair of the Trust and she appointed a new Board of Trustees which till 2021 included: Alina Schellekes (Israel), chair; Joel Miller (Israel), vice-chair; Prof. Dana Amir (Israel); Prof. Yolanda Gampel (Israel); Joshua Durban (Israel); Nechama Faber Ben Pazi (Israel); Prof. Didier Houzel (France); Dr. Suzanne Maiello (Italy); Dr. Judith Mitrani (France); Dr. Ted Mitrani (France); Dr. Tami Pollack (Israel); Prof. Maria Rhode (Great Britain); Tessa Zadok (Israel). In 2021 Dr. Judith Mitrani, Dr. Ted Mitrani and Prof. Dana Amir left the board and Jeffrey Eaton (USA) and Josien Gussenhoven (Holland) joined the board. The board wishes to thank Prof. Amir for her special contribution to the development of the trust and to express an immense gratitude to Drs. Mitrani for their long standing devotion to the development of the trust since its foundation.

With the formation of the new board of trustees much effort is invested to renew the tradition of international conferences so that any suggestions from societies that wish to co-sponsor and host a future Frances Tustin International Conference are welcome and should be addressed to Alina Schellekes at

The Trust currently has well over one hundred members, including the British Psycho-Analytic Society. The Trust’s members come from The USA, all over Europe, The UK, Israel, Japan and South America. Lifetime Membership in the FTM Trust can be obtained by any individual/couple/family or institution for a one-time donation of $250. For registering to the trust please press on Membership at the top of this page

There is a saying that 'It is better to light one small candle than to go on cursing the darkness'. It has been my privilege to light one small candle to shed its light on the dark scene of psychogenic autism. With my advantages and opportunities, it would have been a professional dereliction not to attempt to do so.

Frances Tustin,1986

Upcoming Events

Online lectures via zoom

Lifetime Membership in the Trust entitles the Individual/Organisation to :

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