Whether and when to Pursue Psychoanalytic Training
The sections below contain detailed guidance for deciding whether and when to apply to psychoanalytic training at SFCP. In addition to reviewing this section of the website, it may be helpful to review the 2022-2023 Candidate Handbook which describes current psychoanalytic training policies. You also are encouraged to contact Outreach Chair Adam Goldyne, M.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is available to discuss your situation with you; to help you think through questions or concerns, practical or personal; or to put you in touch with current candidates who can speak to specific questions or concerns.
Are you prepared for the personal psychoanalysis requirement?
Personal psychoanalysis is considered to be primary to one’s development as a psychoanalyst and must be firmly established prior to starting classes. Accordingly, applicants wishing to begin training in Fall of 2023 must be in a personal psychoanalysis with an SFCP-approved Training Analyst – meeting at a frequency of three or more times per week – by May of 2023.
- Are you already in psychoanalysis with an SFCP Training Analyst, meeting at least three times per week? If so, this treatment will meet training requirements.
- If you are in a treatment that you wish to continue, but it does not meet the criteria described in #1 above, could it be changed to do so? For example, could you attend more frequently? Could your analyst apply to be approved as a Training Analyst at SFCP? Could you obtain a waiver to continue personal analysis with an analyst who does not currently meet requirements to become a Training Analyst or who does not wish to do so? To explore these possibilities, please review the section on Personal Psychoanalysis and contact Training Analyst Committee Chair, Michael Donner, PhD (email@example.com) to have a confidential discussion about these possibilities.
- If your current treatment cannot meet the above criteria, are you prepared to switch to a new Training Analyst to enable training at SFCP? The answer to this question may best be explored between you and your current therapist or psychoanalyst. In addition to contacting the Training Analyst Committee Chair, Michael Donner, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions about this decision, you also should feel free to contact Outreach Chair Adam Goldyne, M.D. (email@example.com) to discuss.
Are you prepared to attend required coursework?
Candidates attend four years of courses at SFCP in San Francisco* on 34 Fridays between September and June of each year, meeting between 8 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. During the post-seminar year(s) of training, candidates attend a post-seminar Graduation Paper Writing Workshop that culminates in writing a scholarly paper on a topic of their choice.
- Are you planning to remain in the Bay Area for the next four to five years?
- Can you arrange to attend classes at SFCP* and meet the attendance/make-up work requirements on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. for 34 weeks per year during each of the next four years? (Note: See detailed information about attendance policies/make-up work in the Candidate Handbook.)
- There are typically two (maximum three) reading seminars each week. Reading the assigned materials is essential for your own learning as well as your capacity to contribute to the group discussion. Can you set aside time each week to read in preparation for classes?
Are you prepared to conduct the requisite amount of supervised psychoanalysis?
Over the course of training, candidates must conduct psychoanalysis with at least three separate patients, each in supervision with a different Supervising Analyst. Each treatment must meet at least three times per week. Candidates are strongly encouraged to see their control cases at higher frequency (four or five times per week) whenever feasible in order to maximize their immersion in supervised casework during training.
- By the second half of the first year of psychoanalytic training, will you be working in a setting in which you are able to have a psychoanalytic couch and to meet with a patient three to five times per week?
- Within the coming years, can you envision participating in supervision for each case you are treating in psychoanalysis?
Can you commit the time required for psychoanalytic training?
- Do you plan to stay in the Bay Area for the next four to five years to be able to complete four years of coursework (Fridays 8:00 am – 1:45 pm) at SFCP* and likely additional years for the supervised clinical work?
- Do you live in San Francisco or will you need to commute to classes from the South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, or Sacramento / Davis Areas?*
- How many supervisors will you have in a given year of training, and how long will it take you to attend, prepare for, and commute to and from these meetings?
- How many consultants would you consult on a weekly basis even if you did not pursue psychoanalytic training?
- Can you commit to personal psychoanalysis three or more times per week during training, and how would this compare to the number of hours of treatment you would undertake if you did not seek training?
- How long will it take you to do course readings, and how would this compare to the amount of reading you would do even if not in training?
- Would you be taking other courses/study groups even if you were not in training?
- How much time will you save on paperwork and documentation as a result of seeing fewer patients more frequently?
Can you afford the financial cost of psychoanalytic training?
Financial Costs of Psychoanalytic Training
- Tuition: Candidates pay yearly tuition to SFCP. A full tuition schedule is available at the Tuition and Fees page. For candidates who identify as persons of color, tuition assistance may be available via the Enrico Jones Fund for Equality and Excellence. See also Other Financial Resources for Candidates.
- Supervision fees: Candidates engage in a minimum of one to three sessions per week of supervision, beginning midway through the first year. Fees are negotiated directly with each supervisor, and usually are between $50 and $150 per session of supervision, depending on what the patient is paying you (see table in Supervised Clinical Work section). Keep in mind that candidates do not begin conducting supervised psychoanalysis until the February of the first year of training at the earliest, and most candidates do not add second or third supervisors until later training years.
- Personal psychoanalysis: Candidates engage in their personal analysis at a frequency of three or more sessions per week with a Training Analyst approved by SFCP, beginning no later than May prior to beginning classes. The schedule of personal analysis typically excludes multiple weeks per year due to vacation. Fees are negotiated directly between the Training Analyst and candidate. At times,Training Analysts are able and willing to treat candidates at reduced fees, and some candidates are able to recoup some portion of their psychoanalytic fees through tax deductions or health insurance. Professional tax advice is recommended.
- Opportunity costs: In order to establish a training case, many candidates find it necessary to offer psychoanalysis at a lower per-session fee than their full-fee rate. This, along with time devoted to coursework, supervisions, personal analysis, and training related transportation, may reduce the number of hours spent earning money in other ways.
Cost Mitigation Strategies
Trainees use a range of strategies for affording the additional costs of psychoanalytic training. These include carefully timing when they take on new training cases; if and when they accept a significantly-reduced fee for a training case; and when they begin each supervision. Other strategies include budgeting differently during training or seeking supplemental sources of income through clinical or other work. Further, each candidate should explore possible tax deductions for expenditures such as personal analysis, supervision, and tuition. Scholarships/resources available for candidates include the Enrico Jones Fund for Equality and Excellence as well as Other Financial Resources for Candidates.
Financial Benefits of Psychoanalytic Training
- More referrals for psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis: Some candidates find that, as they integrate into a new community of like-minded colleagues, they receive more referrals for psychoanalytic psychotherapy and/or psychoanalysis than they did before seeking training.
- More patients attending frequent treatment: Some candidates find that the psychoanalytic training experience deepens their capacity to recognize new and existing patients who could benefit from psychoanalysis and to effectively engage these patients in treatment three to five times per week. For a candidate in private practice, the natural consequence of such an evolution is that the candidate needs fewer, and less frequent, referrals to maintain a robust practice.
- More referrals for affiliated treatments: Members of the psychoanalytic community often prefer to refer to colleagues able to maintain a psychoanalytic sensibility in the practice of affiliated services such as couples therapy, family therapy, psychopharmacology, psychological testing, or medical-legal work.
- Decreased time documenting and more time with patients: Some candidates find that, as they work with fewer patients at greater frequency, less time is required to maintain a clinical record for each patient session. This may free more time to devote to other pursuits of their choosing.
- Do you understand the financial costs, cost mitigation strategies, and potential financial benefits of psychoanalytic training as described in the tables below?
- Do you have sufficient income to be able to afford the additional costs of training?
- If you do not have sufficient income, can you make up the deficit?