Psychoanalytic Training Division


Core Principles

SFCP is dedicated to providing a rich experience for each candidate (psychoanalyst-in-training) in our program. This section describes the core principles of our approach to training.


The foremost goal of psychoanalytic training at SFCP is for each candidate to develop the capacity to practice psychoanalysis in an empathic, humane way that responds to each patient’s unique needs. This capacity grows as candidates:

  1. attend four years of courses, including seminars focused on clinical theory and case conferences taught by clinically-seasoned faculty. There is also a writing seminar held on occasional evenings or weekends during the fifth year.
  2. conduct at least three psychoanalyses, each under weekly supervision by a seasoned Supervising Analyst.
  3. develop a lifelong psychoanalytic professional community, beginning with the experience of training alongside an engaged group of colleagues and extending to participation in SFCP’s vibrant organizational and intellectual life as a graduate Analyst Member.


Over four years of seminars, faculty assist candidates in engaging with a range of challenging and clinically-useful psychoanalytic ideas. Thoroughgoing exploration, involving a range of didactic approaches, allows candidates to understand and use meaningful ideas in increasingly sophisticated and nuanced ways. Detailed information about courses may be found in the Curriculum section below.


Though psychoanalysis originated in the work of Sigmund Freud, it now is an exciting worldwide conversation involving multiple writers, thinkers, and theoretical traditions. Candidates receive compelling introductions to a broad range of psychoanalytic perspectives, in the classroom, via contact with international scholars who visit SFCP to teach each year, and via participation in national and international psychoanalytic meetings.


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 below. Beyond facilitating training in child work for those who are interested, the Center’s talented group of child psychoanalysts also contribute significantly to teaching candidates in adult psychoanalysis to bring developmental considerations to their understanding of each adult patient’s experience.


One of the central aims of SFCP’s training program is to prepare our trainees to work productively with colleagues and patients who vary across the dimensions of race, culture, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual orientation. In this spirit, our curriculum features contemporary psychoanalytic thinking that seeks nuanced understanding of these dimensions of human experience at group and individual levels.


As a field, psychoanalysis offers ever-expanding opportunities for learning, exploration and engagement. For this reason, SFCP’s training program does not limit itself to introducing foundational ideas. Rather, it strives to foster each candidate’s capacity for new discovery via a psychoanalytic way of thinking: an attuned, respectful, curious, and thoughtful exploration of unfamiliar perspectives. Encouraging this as a core value enables our trainees to pursue ongoing education and learning beyond training.


SFCP is a member organization of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and is the American Psychoanalytic Association’s only member organization in Northern California. Our faculty participates extensively in these organizations’ national and international meetings. The faculty also counts editors of two major psychoanalytic journals amongst its members, and numerous faculty members publish widely. 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, Jonathan House, Betty Joseph, Otto Kernberg, Alessandra Lemma, Howard Levine, Riccardo Lombardi, Judith Mitrani, Donald Moss, Roy Schafer, and Virginia Ungar.


Graduation from psychoanalytic training at SFCP as an Analyst Member offers entry into a lively community of psychoanalytic friends and colleagues. Together, our membership and faculty are actively engaged in furthering psychoanalytic education, in studying together via a range of postgraduate educational opportunities, and in organizing the rich array of services and scholarly opportunities that SFCP offers to the Bay Area.