Psychoanalytic Training

Since its formation seventy years ago by American and European analysts, the SFCP has been an able and avant-garde member organization of the American and International Psychoanalytic Associations.  As it has undergone continuing self-study and evolution in each decade, it now arrives in the 21st Century as a model for contemporary psychoanalytic training — offering a full vision of educational development for psychoanalysts-to-be, including a program that rests on the traditional three pillars of psychoanalytic education: seminars in clinical work and theory, supervision of analytic cases, and personal psychoanalysis, to which we add a fourth pillar — the serious cultivation of critical thinking with a focus on evidence and logical coherence.

The Application and Admissions Process

Application for psychoanalytic training is open to clinicians in the mental health fields, including the degrees of MD, PhD, PsyD, DMH, MSW and MFT.  Academic applicants who have achieved the highest degree in their field may apply for full or partial training, subject to review (and possible waivers) under the Committee on Research and Special Training.

Licensed clinicians of all mental health disciplines are encouraged to apply.  The process usually takes 2 to 5 months.  Our application includes an autobiographical essay.  The interviews that follow the written application will be both personal and clinical in nature.

The Admissions Committee strives, in ongoing review, to make this a user-friendly process.  Advisors who are impartial to and stand apart from the Admissions evaluations can be available to help you through the application procedures.

Click here to download the Psychoanalytic Training Application Form →

Once the Application Form is completed, please submit the application and the application fee (payable to SFCP) to the SFCP office at:

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

or email the application to our Education Program Coordinator, Nicole Lee, at [email protected].

Only one copy of the application is required. Please be sure to include any publications you would like to submit.

You will find more detailed information about the admissions procedure below. You may also contact our Education Program Coordinator, Nicole Lee, at [email protected] or call 415-563-5815.

  1. Physician-Psychiatrists:
    Physicians must be graduates of approved medical schools, must have completed at least one year of psychiatric residency, and must be licensed in California to be eligible for psychoanalytic training.
  2. Doctoral Clinicians must have doctoral level degrees in clinical disciplines from approved programs, must have experience practicing psychotherapy, and must be licensed in California to be eligible for psychoanalytic training.
  3. Masters-Level Clinicians must meet the following requirements:
    1. Hold a clinical master’s degree that is usually awarded in the applicant's field.
    2. Have two years of additional postgraduate training which can be either formal programs or individually arranged
    3. Have an established career track practicing psychotherapy and be licensed in California.
  4. Research and special training applicants:
    Researchers, scientists, scholars, educators, and administrators may be admitted under the Committee on Research and Special Training (CORST) guidelines.
    1. Full Training
      ​​A waiver is required for full training. The applicant must be nominated by a local institute and applications are reviewed on a non-competitive basis and solely on the merits of the applicants themselves, on the research or other program plan that is presented, and on the relevance of full training to that plan. The applicants must meet both of the following requirements:
      1. Hold the highest academic degree that is usually awarded in the applicant's field of specialization or hold equivalent recognition in non-academic fields.
      2. Plan a career in which research or scholarly endeavors clearly play a central role. Applicants are expected either to be accomplished investigators, or to be outstanding academic teachers, scholars or administrators. Through their research, scholarly work, teaching or administrative work, applicants should be in a position to, and have the capacity to, stimulate the development of the application of psychoanalysis.
  5. Partial Training
    This includes a combined program of full or selected seminars and analysis with a training analyst. In special circumstances, prior analysis with a training analyst or other analyst may suffice. A waiver is not required. There are two important issues in partial training. The first is that this center characteristically prefers to train fully. The second is we generally follow the American Psychoanalytic Association CORST guidelines.

All applicants must demonstrate ability, commitment to psychotherapeutic work and personal suitability for psychoanalytic training.

Your application packet must contain the following:

  1. The completed application form, including the signed Ethics Disclosure form (four pages).
  2.  An autobiography at least three pages and preferably no more than six pages  in length. The purpose of this autobiography is to obtain as much information as possible about you to aid the interviewers in learning about your personal psychology.
  3. A current curriculum vitae.
  4. A non-refundable fee of $300.00.
  5. A list of names and addresses of three or four references who are familiar with you and your clinical work and from whom we may request letters of recommendation.  If you have attended a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy program (e.g., the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program), we are requesting that your reference list include one of your clinical supervisors from that program.  In addition, it would be helpful if one of your references could comment on your participation in a group setting (eg., class, consultation group, staff meetings).  
  6. A copy of your state license.
  7. If you are applying to the Child Psychoanalytic Training Program, please provide a brief outline or narrative of your clinical experience with children and adolescents.

If you are requesting credit for previous training in psychoanalysis, please include:

  • names of institute(s) attended
  • seminars and courses taken
  • supervised clinical work completed and ongoing
  • name of training analyst
  • number of hours of training analysis completed

Once the Application Form is complete, please mail the application and the application fee (payable to SFCP) to the SFCP office at 444 Natoma St., San Francisco, CA 94103 or email the application to Nicole Lee at [email protected]. Only one copy of the application is required. Please be sure to include any publications you would like to submit.

(The evaluation process takes 2-5 months.)

  1. Completion of the application form, including a written autobiography and a non-refundable application fee of $300.  Applications will be considered throughout the year.  However, in order to guarantee consideration for the upcoming Fall class, the application must be received by February 1st.
  2. Receipt of three letters of recommendation.  The Admissions Committee will contact your references to request letters upon receipt of your application.
  3. Interviews arranged by the Co-Chairs of the Admissions Committee:
    1. Personal assessment interviews with two graduate analysts.
    2. Clinical case presentations with two graduate analysts.
    3. Applicants for research and special training may be interviewed by academic faculty or by graduate analysts selected by the Co-Chairs of the Admissions Committee in consultation with the Chair of the CORST Committee.
  4. Meeting of the Admissions Committee (usually the first Thursday of the month, September through June), to discuss the application and vote on recommendation for admission. The Co-Chairs of the Admissions Committee, members of the Committee, and graduate analysts who interviewed the applicant are expected to attend.
  5. The Co-Chair of the Admissions Committee informs the applicant of the Committee’s decision and notifies administrative staff, who inform the Chair of the Psychoanalytic Education Division and the Chair of the Curriculum Committee.

Applications for training from close relatives of members of SFCP will not be interviewed and evaluated by members of the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee will request an evaluation of the applicant from a member institute of the American. The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis will abide by the evaluation and decision of the evaluating analysts.

Transfer applications will be accepted from other IPA accredited institutes and will be considered by the Admissions Committee. The applicant must arrange for records to be sent to SFCP. Credits are not automatically transferable. Credit for training elsewhere is determined individually by consultation between the Progressions and Graduation Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and the Dean. Any previous or ongoing supervised analytic work conducted at another training institute will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Progression and Graduation Committee in order for credit to be given to the incoming candidate. Any previous coursework completed at another institute will be reviewed by the Curriculum Committee.

SFCP admits students of any race, color, national, or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, loan program, or any other school-administered programs.

Those applicants who are accepted are enrolled in the training program as pre-seminar candidates. Admission to training carries the expectation that a candidate will, within a month or so of acceptance, report arrangements for his/her personal analysis with a training analyst. This information is treated as confidential within the center and will be available only to the Dean, the chair of the Psychoanalytic Education Division and the chair of the Training Analysts Committee.

The SFCP Psychoanalytic Education Division offers assistance in arranging for the analysis, if requested. The objective is to enable a prompt beginning of training through facilitation of the finding of a training analyst who anticipates having analytic time available reasonably soon. Candidates must be in analysis with a training analyst prior to beginning course work.  A waiver to this requirement is possible.  Please contact the Psychoanalytic Education Division Coordinator for further information.

All candidates at SFCP must be in analysis with a training analyst prior to beginning course work. The expectation is that the training analysis be 4-5x/week, on the couch. Waivers of the requirement to be in analysis with a training analyst are possible under certain very specific circumstances. Such waivers may be granted for candidates in established analyses of more than one year's duration, four or five times weekly, on the couch. The analyst must have graduated at least 5 years previously from an institute accredited by the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) or the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), and must meet additional requirements of experience, immersion and suitability. These requirements include;

  • No ethical violations
  • Sufficient immersion in the practice of psychoanalysis (4 cases post-graduation, non-psychotic, 4x/week on the couch)

For additional information, prospective candidates may consult with one of the co-chairs of the Admissions Committee (Ann Martini, LCSW or Laura Dansky, PhD) or with the Chair of the Waiver Committee (William Glover, PhD).