SFCP is dedicated to providing a rich experience for each candidate in our Psychoanalytic Training Program. We offer immersion in contemporary psychoanalytic thinking and practice, with an appreciation for the multiple theoretical perspectives and the diverse sociocultural contexts which influence clinical work. This section describes the core principles of our approach to training.
Fostering each trainee’s development as a clinician
A central goal of psychoanalytic training at SFCP is for each candidate to develop the capacities to engage with and contribute to the evolving psychoanalytic conversation, and to practice psychoanalysis in an empathic, humane way that responds to each patient’s unique needs and particular sociocultural context. These capacities grow as candidates engage the following three components of psychoanalytic training (the “Tripartite Model”):
- Curriculum. The Curriculum consists of four years of didactic seminars and case conferences (Fridays 8:00am – 1:45pm for 34 weeks per year) designed to provide clinical and conceptual grounding in psychoanalytic fundamentals and a deep reading of the psychoanalytic literature. In addition, candidates receive training in psychoanalytic writing through writing courses and a final Writing Workshop that culminates in their graduation paper on a topic of their choice. Throughout, each candidate cohort meets for facilitated Reflection Groups in which the group members reflect together upon the experience of learning psychoanalysis together. Detailed information about coursework may be found in the Curriculum section.
- Supervised clinical work. Over the course of training, candidates conduct three or more supervised psychoanalyses – each in supervision with a different SFCP-approved Supervising Analyst – in order to gain a variety of different clinical and supervisory experiences. Each treatment meets at least three times per week, and candidates are strongly encouraged to see their supervised cases at higher frequency (four or five times per week) whenever feasible in order to maximize immersion. Detailed information about supervised clinical work and reduced fee supervision guidelines can be found in the Supervision section.
- Personal psychoanalysis. Personal psychoanalysis is foundational to one’s development as a psychoanalyst, and establishing an analysis is the primary step in analytic training. ****Anyone interested in psychoanalytic training is encouraged to begin their personal psychoanalysis as soon as possible, and 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 (even if the application process is not yet complete). Detailed information can be found in the Personal Psychoanalysis section.
Intensive engagement with multiple psychoanalytic perspectives
Psychoanalysis has evolved exponentially from its origins in the work of Sigmund Freud, and has become an exciting worldwide conversation involving multiple cultures, writers, thinkers, and theoretical traditions. Over four years of coursework, instructors collaborate with candidates to trace the evolution of psychoanalytic thought, engaging with a broad range of conceptually and clinically-useful psychoanalytic perspectives.
Attention to sociocultural dimensions of psychoanalytic history, thinking and work
Coursework in the Psychoanalytic Training Program places intentional focus on psychoanalytic conceptualization of sociocultural experience, on the important role of differing sociocultural contexts in constituting the personal unconscious, and on the significant role of sociocultural history and context in shaping clinical psychoanalysis. Candidates explore ways in which psychoanalytic thinking has embodied the values of the societies and historical periods in which it emerged as well as the biases these introduce into psychoanalytic theory. This focus is in keeping with SFCP’s wider efforts to build a community of clinicians, patients, instructors, and candidates who vary across a range of social dimensions including race, culture, socioeconomic status, class, gender identification, religion, and sexual orientation.
Reflection Groups (described at this link) are scheduled approximately monthly throughout the training year. These facilitated groups are an opportunity for candidates to reflect together within their cohorts on the social and emotional aspects of learning as a group, and on ways in which psychoanalytic training is impacting their identity, their clinical work, and their perspectives on wider society.
Development taught by child psychoanalysts
SFCP is fortunate to be home to Northern California’s only training program in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis. This program may be pursued alongside training in Adult Psychoanalysis or may be pursued independently. For more information, please see the Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis Program section. Beyond facilitating training in child work for those who are interested, child psychoanalysts also teach candidates in adult psychoanalysis, bringing developmental considerations to their understanding of each adult patient’s experience.
Preparation for lifelong learning
As a field, psychoanalysis offers ever-expanding opportunities for learning, exploration and engagement. SFCP’s Psychoanalytic Training Program strives to foster each candidate’s capacity for new discovery via a psychoanalytic way of thinking and learning and via an attuned, respectful, curious, and thoughtful exploration of unfamiliar perspectives. Such privileging of questioning over answering enables our trainees to pursue ongoing education and learning beyond training.
Engagement with psychoanalysis at national and international levels
SFCP is a member organization of the International Psychoanalytic Association, and is the American Psychoanalytic Association’s only member organization in Northern California. Our faculty participates extensively in these national and international meetings, and SFCP candidates are offered reduced rates to attend. Numerous SFCP faculty publish widely in the psychoanalytic literature, and many have held editorial positions for the major psychoanalytic journals.
SFCP regularly hosts visiting scholars from around the world. Amongst these have been Joseph Aguayo, Anne Alvarez, Dale Boesky, Ronald Britton, Giuseppe Civitarese, Ken Corbett, Antonino Ferro, Peter Fonagy, Michael Feldman, Hayuta Gurevich, Adrienne Harris, Anton Hart, Jonathan House, Betty Joseph, Otto Kernberg, Alessandra Lemma, Howard Levine, Riccardo Lombardi, Judith Mitrani, Donald Moss, Roy Schafer, Beverly Stoute, and Virginia Ungar.
Ongoing membership in a supportive, engaged community of collaborators and colleagues
Psychoanalytic candidates develop a lifelong psychoanalytic professional community. This begins with the experience of training alongside an engaged group of colleagues and extends to participation in SFCP’s organizational and intellectual life during candidacy and as a graduate Analyst Member.
Candidates are voting members of SFCP, and Candidate Representatives serve important roles within the organization, including serving on the Board of Trustees, the Psychoanalytic Education Division, the Curriculum Committee for Psychoanalytic Training, and multiple other SFCP Committees. Candidates also chair and participate in the Candidates’ Association, which advocates for candidate concerns and organizes activities to promote a sense of community within the candidate group.