Preparing for your PPTP/Foundations Interview
Your interview will include three parts: (1) a personal conversation between you and your interviewer including how you came to be interested in this field and how the PPTP/Foundations fits in with your plans for your career; (2) a discussion of a clinical case with your interviewer; and (3) a chance for you to ask any questions you may have.
We mean this experience to be welcoming 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 taste of how we think about and discuss cases, and to give us a sense of how you think about clinical material at this point in your career.
You may also find it helpful to review the information about the curriculum, supervision, dates for finalizing the your Admissions status, tuition and deposit due dates, and other information on the PPTP website prior to your interview so that any questions you may have can be addressed.
How to Choose a Case to Discuss:
Many of our applicants have already had the opportunity to work with patients in 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.
On occasion, applicants have not yet had the opportunity to treat patients in open-ended psychoanalytic psychotherapy. If this is your situation, come prepared to discuss your work with a patient in another form of treatment. In general, try to choose a clinical case which might lend itself to psychoanalytic discussion during your interview. In general, we would prefer to discuss outpatient work to inpatient work; psychotherapy to other forms of clinical work; and less structured forms of therapy (e.g., Interpersonal Therapy) to more structured forms of therapy (e.g., CBT).
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) interesting 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 the many details that can be said about the patient's history and presenting problems.
Be prepared to start with a very brief (i.e., 5 minute maximum) description of the way the treatment started, its duration and frequency, major highlights of the patient’s early life and life story, and notable events in the treatment leading up to the session in question.
Please bring two copies of notes (one for you and one for your interviewer) that describe the back and forth of a session in transcript format. 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 detail 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 tape-recorded 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.
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 over the telephone or contact the Admissions Chair.