Psychoanalytic Training Division


Whether and when to pursue psychoanalytic training

The sections below contain detailed guidance for deciding whether and when to apply to psychoanalytic training at SFCP. In addition to reviewing this section of the website, it may be helpful to discuss these matters with one of our Outreach Chairs, Adam Goldyne, M.D. (415-826-9639) or Beth Steinberg, Ph.D. (415-441-5302). You are invited to call either or both of them. They will be able to discuss your situation with you; to help you think through questions or concerns, practical or personal; or to put you in touch with current candidates who can speak to specific questions or concerns.


Adult psychoanalytic training involves four years of Friday (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.) coursework and a fifth-year Writing Workshop / Preceptorship Seminar, via which each graduating trainee writes a scholarly paper. In addition, it can take five or more years to complete the supervised clinical work involved. Thus, before applying for training, please consider carefully whether you plan to remain in the Bay Area for at least five years.


Trainees in psychoanalysis are required, prior to beginning first year classes, to be in psychoanalysis (1) four- to five-times-per-week on the couch with (2) a Training Analyst from SFCP’s Directory of Training Analysts. Each candidate is free to choose the approved Training Analyst with whom he or she will be in treatment. As of Fall 2018, psychoanalysts with sufficient training and experience may become SFCP Training Analysts via a straightforward and efficient process.

Are You Ready for the Personal Psychoanalysis Requirement?
Essential Questions
  1. If you already are in a psychoanalysis that meets criteria 1 and 2, this treatment will meet training requirements.
  2. If you are in a psychoanalysis that you wish to continue, but does not meet both criteria, could it be changed to do so? For example, could you attend more frequently? Could your analyst apply to be approved as a Training Analyst at SFCP prior to the date you start classes? To explore the process of your psychoanalyst becoming a Training Analyst at SFCP, you and/or your psychoanalyst should feel free to contact Psychoanalytic Education Division Chair Gary Grossman, Ph.D. (415-928-4662).
  3. If your current treatment cannot meet the above criteria, are you prepared to switch to a new Training Analyst to enable training at SFCP? The answer to this question may best be explored between you and your current therapist or psychoanalyst. However, please feel free to contact Adam Goldyne, M.D. (415-826-9639) or Beth Steinberg, Ph.D. (415-441-5302) if you have any questions about this.


Candidates attend four years of courses at SFCP in San Francisco. Each year, courses are held on 33 Fridays between September and June, meeting between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.. During the fifth year of training, candidates attend a Writing Seminar / Preceptorship Course that culminates in a scholarly paper. This course typically meets in the evening and does not require attendance at Friday coursework.

Are You Ready to Undertake Psychoanalytic Training Coursework?
Essential Questions
  1. Are you planning to remain in the Bay Area for the next five years?
  2. Can you arrange to attend classes at SFCP on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for 33 weeks per year during each of the next four years?
  3. Can you set aside time each week to read in preparation for classes?


During training, candidates must conduct psychoanalysis with at least three separate patients, including both male and female genders. Each treatment must meet at least four times per week, though there may be approval for one case to meet three times per week if this is clinically indicated. In addition, one of the three cases must have a low fee, defined as $75 or less, for a minimum of two years.

Each psychoanalysis must be in supervision with one of the Supervising Analysts from SFCP’s Directory of Supervising Analysts. The candidate pays a supervision fee that often is close to what the patient pays for one session.. As of Fall 2018, psychoanalysts with sufficient training and experience may become SFCP Supervising Analysts via a straightforward and efficient process. For more information about this process, please contact Psychoanalytic Education Division Chair Gary Grossman, Ph.D. (415-928-4662‬).

Graduation does not require supervised cases to have terminated, since the duration of psychoanalysis often is longer than the duration of psychoanalytic training. However, each case must have been supervised for at least two years prior to graduation, and there is some requirement for immersive work, i.e., for more than one case to have been in treatment concurrently.

Candidates who choose to do so may, at times, be referred a low fee case by the SFCP Low Fee Referral Service. However, most supervised training cases begin treatment in a less intensive frame, progressing to psychoanalysis when candidate and patient together decide to meet more frequently and, often, to use the couch. Candidates receive ample support in facilitating this process of deepening the treatment.

Are You Ready to Pursue the Supervised Psychoanalysis Requirement?
Essential Questions
  1. By the second half of the first year of psychoanalytic training, will you be in private practice or working in another setting in which you are able to have a psychoanalytic couch and to meet with a patient four times per week?
  2. Within the coming years, can you envision attending supervision for each case you are treating in psychoanalysis?


How would your schedule in psychoanalytic training compare to your current training? The answer depends on many considerations, amongst which are:

  • Do you live in San Francisco or will you need to commute to classes from the South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, or Sacramento / Davis Areas?
  • How many supervisors will you have in a given year of training, and where are they located?
  • How many consultants would you consult on a weekly basis even if you did not pursue psychoanalytic training?
  • Will you attend psychoanalysis four or five times per week during training, and how would this compare to the number of hours of treatment you would undertake if you did not seek training?
  • How long will it take you to do course readings, and how would this compare to the amount of reading you would do even if not in training?
  • Would you be taking other courses even if you were not in training?
  • How much time will you save on paperwork and documentation as a result of seeing fewer patients more frequently?

By way of illustration, consider a professional who is not in psychoanalytic training, but who practices twelve or more hours of psychotherapy each week; who attends twice-weekly psychotherapy and once-weekly consultation; and who reads about one hour per week. If this professional undertakes psychoanalytic training, he or she will devote an average of 7 additional hours per week to a combination of activities, including reading, attending courses at SFCP, attending consultation, preparing process notes, attending treatment, and commuting between the various locations involved. If he or she lives in the East Bay, South Bay, or North Bay, an average of 9 additional hours per week will be required. For a professional who otherwise would not be in psychotherapy or consultation, the additional time required for training will range from 9 additional hours per week to 11 additional hours per week, averaged over the year.

Do you have the time for psychoanalytic training?
Essential Questions
  1. Are you able to reduce other activities in your life in order to devote an additional 7 to 11 hours of your weekly schedule to psychoanalytic training? (How many depends upon your circumstances as described above.)
  2. In the coming years, can you envision attending supervision for each case you are treating in psychoanalysis?


The following tables elaborate the financial costs and potential financial benefits of psychoanalytic training.

Financial Costs of Psychoanalytic Training
Supervision fees Trainees engage in one to three sessions per week of supervision, beginning midway through the first year. Fees are negotiated directly with each supervisor, and frequently work out to be about what the patient is paying for one session. Keep in mind that candidates do not begin conducting supervised psychoanalysis until halfway through the first year at the earliest, and often do not add second or third supervisors until later training years.
Personal Psychoanalysis Four or five sessions per week with a Training Analyst approved by SFCP, beginning before the start of first-year classes. The schedule of personal analysis typically excludes several weeks per year when the Training Analyst is out of the office. Fees are negotiated directly between the Training Analyst and candidate. At times, Training Analysts are able and willing to treat candidates at reduced fees. This possibility is best explored directly between a candidate and a prospective training analyst. The cost of personal analysis varies according to the fee. At times, trainees recoup some proportion of their psychoanalytic fees either by declaring them as businesses expenses on their tax returns or by treating them as medical expenses and seeking insurance reimbursement. Trainees should have an accountant’s help in deciding how to proceed in this regard.
Opportunity Costs Candidates are required to treat one of their three patients in four- to five-times-per-week psychoanalysis at a fee of $75 per session or less. This, along with time devoted to coursework, supervisions, personal analysis, and longer commutes, may reduce the number of hours spent earning money in other ways.


Financial Benefits of Psychoanalytic Training
More referrals for psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis Some candidates find that, as they integrate into a new community of like-minded colleagues, they receive more referrals for psychoanalytic psychotherapy and/or psychoanalysis than they did before seeking training.
More referrals for affiliated treatments Members of the psychoanalytic community often prefer to refer to colleagues able to maintain a psychoanalytic sensibility in the practice of affiliated services such as couple therapy, family therapy, psychopharmacology, psychological testing, or medical-legal work.
More patients attending frequent treatment Some candidates find that the psychoanalytic training experience deepens their capacity to recognize new and existing patients in need of psychoanalysis and to effectively engage these patients in treatment three to five times per week. For a candidate in private practice, the natural consequence of such an evolution is that the candidate needs fewer, and less frequent, referrals to maintain a robust practice.
Decreased time documenting and more time with patients Some candidates find that, as they work with fewer patients at greater frequency, less time is required to maintain a clinical record for each patient session. This may free more time to work with patients.

If you would like help estimating how much psychoanalytic training would cost you, please download Estimating the Cost of Psychoanalytic Training spreadsheet and fill out all yellow cells. The spreadsheet estimates what psychoanalytic training will cost, by helping you figure out the following equation:

Cost of 4 Years of Psychoanalytic Training
Cost of the next 4 years if you do pursue training
Cost of the next 4 years if you do not pursue training

If you would like confidential help filling out or interpreting this spreadsheet, please contact Adam Goldyne, M.D. (415-826-9639).

Can you afford psychoanalytic training?
Essential Questions
  1. Do you understand the costs and potential financial benefits of psychoanalytic training as described in the above tables?
  2. Do you have sufficient income to be able to afford the additional costs of training as estimated by the Estimating the Cost of Psychoanalytic Training spreadsheet?
  3. If you do not have sufficient income, can you make up the deficit?

    Trainees use a range of strategies for affording the additional costs of psychoanalytic training. These include carefully timing when they take on new supervisors; when they accept a low fee psychoanalytic case; and when they begin each supervision. Other strategies include budgeting more stringently during training or seeking supplemental sources of income through clinical or other work. Further, each candidate should fully explore whether he or she may take a tax deduction for expenditures on personal analysis, supervision, and tuition.