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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.

You may download the Application for Enrollment and mail it back to us at:

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

You will find more detailed information about the admissions procedure below.

You may also contact our Education Coordinator, Varsha Kakane, at [email protected] or call 415-563-5815.



Prerequisites for Training:

  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.


Evaluation Process:

(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 January 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

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.



Re-applications will be considered by the Admissions Committee. There is no strict policy about the period of time that must elapse before re-application, nor is there any definite policy about the number of times an application may be accepted for evaluation. During the evaluation of a re-application, the Chair of the Admissions Committee will have the discretion to decide whether to use and how to use the input and written evaluations of previous personal and clinical interviewers. This flexible approach to procedure is intended to insure the fairest hearing for the applicant re-applying. There should be a fresh appraisal by the Admissions Committee for repeat applicants with the participation of new interviewers.


Transfer Applications:

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.


Non-discriminatory Policy:

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.


SFCP Policy on Waivers of the Requirement for Candidates in Training to be in Psychoanalysis with a Training Analyst

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)

When appropriate and when an accepted candidate for training requests it, waivers are requested by SFCP and approved by the APsaA Board on Professional Standards at either their spring or winter meetings.  Accepted candidates may submit waiver request forms (available from the Psychoanalytic Education Division Coordinator) to SFCP’s Waiver Committee for review at any time, but should note the two deadlines that correspond to the APsaA meetings are:  April 15th or November 1st for receipt of the waiver by mid-June or mid-January respectively.  SFCP must receive a waiver on behalf of a candidate before he/she matriculates. For additional information, prospective candidates may consult with one of the co-chairs of the Admissions Committee (Christina Halsey, PhD or Elizabeth Mayer, MD) or the Chair of the Waiver Committee (Wendy Stern, DMH). Current candidates should consult with the Dean if they have questions.



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San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis

444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 563-5815
(415) 857-7596
[email protected]

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