Training in psychoanalysis, approved by The American Psychoanalytic Association, has been available to residents of the Houston-Galveston area since 1964. Until 1974, however, it was necessary for candidates in this area to travel to New Orleans for most classes and at least some of their supervisory experience. Founded in 1974 as a geographical extension of the New Orleans Psychoanalytic Institute, the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic School embarked on a full curriculum in psychoanalysis. The program was developed with the assistance and guidance of the faculty of the New Orleans Psychoanalytic Institute.

In the Spring of 1976, the school applied to The American Psychoanalytic Association for approval as a provisional institute. This approval was granted by the national organization in May 1976. At the May 1979 annual meeting of The American Psychoanalytic Association the program was accorded full status as The Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute. As of July 1979 a Certificate of Approval was granted by the Texas Workforce Commission.

In September 1994 the two-year psychotherapy training program with adults begun. A child/adolescent psychodynamic psychotherapy training program was begun in September 1999. The Center enjoys a close working relationship with the departments of psychiatry of the three local medical schools — Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) and The University of Texas Health Science Center in Galveston and in Houston — as well as those in Austin and in San Antonio.

In 2011, the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute was renamed the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies.