News from the Palo Alto Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program

News from the Palo Alto Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program

by Ann Martini, LCSW, Committee Member


At the end of January PAPPTP sponsored a community meeting of PAPPTP trainees past and present to discuss practice building issues.

The Practice Building Workshop

Approximately 30 current and past PAPPTP trainees gathered for a delicious potluck lunch followed by introductions. The various PAPPTP groups expressed how nice it was to get acquainted and feel part of a larger group. This was the first exercise in networking.

Neil Brast, MD, (SFCP member and Faculty) introduced Renee Spencer, PhD, (Candidate SFCP) largely via interviewing her about how she got involved in web marketing. She described the development of her personal website and how she and her husband developed She had previously emailed references to participants about how to develop a website. She has received many referrals from the internet including 2 analytic cases.

She described various levels of a web presence from joining Linkedin and being listed on Google to joining directories like hers (there are several others, the largest being Psychology Today) to developing ones own website. We discussed the demographic which looks on the internet for therapists, and noted additionally, that many people Google us after they have been referred. Some clinicians develop a web presence to have some control over what patients find first when they Google your name. There was also some discussion about how to combat negative Yelp reviews.

After a dessert break, Kent Campbell, MFT, (PAPPTP Graduate) distributed an outline of practical steps to take in starting a practice, including getting an employer ID number, furniture choices, networking, lecturing, volunteering, part time jobs, identifying who you want to work with and targeting those sources for marketing. He spoke about what he had done in these various areas and about positive ways to think of yourself in offering a service to people in need of help who need to know you're out there, as opposed to just promoting yourself.

Denise Leffers, MFT, (PAPPTP Graduate) then talked about personal connections she has made, such as with physicians, and how she's gone about doing that, along with part-time jobs and leading a weight loss group from which she received numerous referrals. She also emphasized getting as much personal therapy as possible to assist in confronting your own anxieties about having a practice, and also about the importance of consultation.

Michael Smith, PhD, (SFCP Member and Faculty) then discussed unconscious factors that affect beginning a practice. He included issues related to fear of success, but also the issue of readiness, specifically, making space unconsciously, to accept and contain patients. This led to more discussion about the important role of personal therapy and analysis. He also talked about developing oneself as a person, familiarity with music, literature etc. with the aim of increasing receptivity and metaphorical understanding of patient’s associations.

We concluded with a few words from Maureen Ruffell, MD (SFCP Member and Faculty) about her two experiences of setting up practices in Boston and again here, and how scary it had been at first.

At the end of the program, the participants expressed gratitude for this sharing of processes and perspectives. It elicited a request for further networking tools amongst the larger PAPPTP and SFCP community. To that end, another community event focusing on the Meanings of Money in Psychoanalytic Treatments both for patient and therapist is being planned for the spring.

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