PREPARING FOR YOUR SF-PPTP/FOUNDATIONS INTERVIEW
Once your complete application and letter of reference have been received, an interviewer will call you to set up a meeting. You and your interviewer will arrange a mutually-convenient time for an interview, which may in-person or remote. Your interview will include three parts:
- a personal conversation between you and your interviewer including how you came to be interested in this field and how SF-PPTP/Foundations fits in with your career plans
- discussion of a clinical case with your interviewer
- a chance for you to ask any questions you may have.
We intend this experience to be welcoming, informative and enjoyable. It is not an evaluation of your skill as a psychoanalytic therapist. Rather, it is designed to help us get to know you, to give you a sense of how we think about and discuss cases, and to give us a sense of how you think about clinical material and work with a psychotherapy consultant at this point in your career.
You may find it helpful to review the information about the curriculum, supervision, dates for finalizing your Admissions status, tuition and deposit due dates, and other information on the SFCP webpage prior to your interview so that any questions you may have can be addressed at the interview.
How to Choose a Case to Discuss:
Many applicants have had the opportunity to work with patients in open-ended psychoanalytic / psychodynamic psychotherapy. If this is your situation, please come prepared to discuss a session from a psychoanalytic psychotherapy treatment that you found particularly interesting or challenging.
On occasion, applicants have not yet had the opportunity to treat patients in open-ended psychoanalytic psychotherapy. If this is your situation, choose a clinical case from another form of treatment that might lend itself to psychoanalytic discussion during your interview. In general, we would prefer a case that involves outpatient work rather than inpatient; a psychotherapy case rather than other forms of clinical work; and less-structured forms of psychotherapy (e.g., Interpersonal Therapy) rather than more structured forms of therapy.
In all cases, the most important thing is to choose a clinical encounter which drew attention to at least some of the following factors: (a) the patient’s emotional life, (b) your emotional response to the patient, (c) effects of early childhood on the patient’s current struggles, and/or (d) powerful dynamics in the clinical relationship.
Format of Case Discussion:
The focus of this part of the interview will be the clinical process of a session, rather than details of the patient’s history and presenting problems. Be prepared to start with a very brief (at most 5 minute) description of the way the treatment started, its duration and frequency, major highlights of the patient’s early life and life story, the sociocultural context of their life and history, and notable events in the treatment leading up to the session you are presenting.
Please prepare a copy of your process notes for your interviewer that describe the back and forth of a session in transcript format. (These will be shared with your interviewer at the time of your interview). For example:
Patient: [Looking intently at me] I don’t feel like talking today…
Clinician: [Feeling confused] What’s holding you back?
Whenever possible, try to include details not only of the words spoken, but of other notable details such as the patient’s affect and body language and your emotional responses to the patient. (See the bracketed portions of the above transcript.)
If you have an audio recording of a session that you wish to transcribe, this is acceptable, but we do not require or expect a literal, word-for-word transcript. Rather, present your best attempt — from notes or memory — to convey the back and forth of a session or clinical encounter in transcript format.
If you have questions or concerns about choosing a case to discuss or about the format of the discussion, please feel free to discuss this with your interviewer in advance of the meeting, or to contact the Admissions Chair to discuss.