The South African Institute for Relational Studies is a centre that aims to educate and train mental health professionals, including psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and art/drama therapists, in the theory and practice of relational psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Specifically, it offers opportunities for the investigation and development of intersectionality in contemporary psychoanalysis, offering a home to those who would like to interrogate race, gender, sexuality, and the socio-political in their clinical, non-clinical, and academic practices.
In addition to offering a year-long foundational (introductory) and a year-long advanced course in relational psychotherapy, the institute offers 4 courses that build on, and move beyond, traditional psychoanalytic constructions of the unconscious and psychopathology, emphasising instead a conceptualisation of the mind as historicised by racial, gendered, sexual, class influences against the backdrop of the dominant social, cultural, and political orders. As a result, unique and cutting-edge explorations are offered for how psychoanalytic practice, and psychotherapeutic action, can be shaped by difference and unconsciously conveyed alterity.
SAIRS also convenes seminars, lectures, and conferences on topics generating critical debate in the modern practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
The institute also provides an ongoing relational supervision group for those seeking to integrate theoretical material into clinical practice, and for those wishing to challenge structures of power, privilege, and orthodoxy in their clinical work.