Combined Psychoanalytic Training Program

Psychoanalytic training is a comprehensive life experience, involving new learning, new personal insights and new connections with professional colleagues.

Our program is based on deep respect for:

   • the uniqueness of each individual

   • the profound and therapeutic understanding that develops within the long-term collaboration between analyst and patient

   • the analytic principle that the past lives on and is transformed in the present

Thus, we believe that preparation for providing analytic treatments should cultivate a comprehensive ability to think critically and self-reflectively about psychoanalytic theory and practice over time, as it relates to both children and adults.

We offer training for all licensed mental health professionals in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, with programs designed to meet your particular interests and enhance your professional skills and practice – all in the context of a welcoming and supportive community. At times, this may include distance learning for some students who are either geographically too far away to attend all classes in-person for the full duration of the program, or who are disabled.

SDPC is affiliated with the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytic Association, and is accredited by the California Medical Association and the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists.


Training Overview: 

The Integrated Curriculum:

SDPC provides two formal psychoanalytic training programs for qualified mental health clinicians. The Psychoanalytic Training Program includes comprehensive education and clinical training in adult psychoanalysis, and can include training in child and adolescent analysis as well. We offer an integrated curriculum which can - if desired – lead to graduation in both areas. All candidates may include at least one supervised child analytic case in their psychoanalytic education. The integrated curriculum may include seminars taught by a child and an adult analyst, as well as readings from both fields. Our focus is on the development of mental and emotional functioning throughout the life cycle, as well as its implications for clinical technique. Whenever possible, material drawn from child analysis is integrated with that of adults, enriching our understanding and work with all age groups.

We also offer a non-clinical Psychoanalytic Academic Program, as well as an Early Admissions Program for clinicians or students who are committed to psychoanalytic training and have completed an admissions process, but who are not yet able or qualified to begin the full training program.  This program consists of monthly seminars and clinical supervision, for one or more years, in preparation for analytic training.  

The Psychoanalytic Training Program: 

Goal: to develop psychoanalytic competence and a psychoanalytic identity, i.e., an intellectual and emotional openness toward understanding the full complexity of the human mind, its development and its expression in the world, particularly in relationships.

Method: A balance among three basic components, referred to as the tripartite model of analytic training : a personal analysis, a didactic curriculum, and supervised clinical experience. All three elements influence, clarify, and enhance each other. This “immersion” creates a multi-dimensional and comprehensive experience which has the intensity of personal involvement, depth of understanding and therapeutic conviction that underlies a psychoanalytic identity.  

A.    Personal psychoanalysis - the foundation of psychoanalytic education

• Entirely confidential and not directly considered in the evaluation of candidate progression.

• Fundamental in developing the capacities for self-reflection, self-observation, and ultimately self-analysis

• Provides a deep understanding of analytic process and the impact of analysis upon patients.

• Fosters the capacity to examine and understand countertransference reactions, to develop insight into one’s own unconscious processes so as to appreciate those of others, and to perform analytic work as effectively as possible.

• The personal analysis with a Training Analyst must begin within a year of acceptance, and at least six months before matriculation. Selection of an analyst should be made from a roster provided by the Education Committee, but is otherwise entirely the responsibility and prerogative of the candidate

• To optimize the potential for the fullest psychoanalytic experience, and In accordance with the minimal standards of the American Psycho­analytic Association, the personal analysis should be conducted four or five times a week through termination, except when special considerations require temporary interruption or alterations of frequency.

   • Although the decision to termi­nate the analysis is made between the candidate and analyst within the psychoanalytic process, the personal analysis is expected to continue well into the supervision of clinical work.

B.    Curriculum  -  the interface of clinical situations and theoretical concepts

• Our theory informs our work, and our work enriches our understanding of the theory - or leads to its further evolution. 

• Five basic tracks: Psychoanalytic Theory, Psychopathology, Development, Treatment and Technique, Psychoanalytic Writing.

• Seminars held Wednesdays 10:00 am - 2;00 pm, 2 per week in a trimester format.

• Formally completed in four years, but candidates continue to participate in a limited schedule of elective seminars, clinical case conferences or co-teaching experiences until all requirements for graduation are fulfilled. 

C.   Supervision – putting it all together. The context for learning how to successfully use the psychoanalytic method, supervision develops skills in: 

  • Diagnosis 
  • Case selection
  • Assessment of analyzability and suitability for psychoanalysis
  • Establishing and nurturing the psychoanalytic process
  • Working flexibly and responsibly in keeping with the Practice Guidelines and Principles of Ethics of the APsaA
  • Recognizing the ways in which psychoanalytic technique may be distinguished from the techniques used in psychotherapy or modified psychoanalytic treatment
  • Furthering the development of an analytic process
  • Recognizing transference, countertransference, resistances to learning
  • Conceptualizing and writing about the psychoanalytic work

Supervision consolidates a personal psychoanalytic identity through integration with the personal analysis and didactic course work.

We recommend that:

   • Candidates select a supervisor from the list of Training And Supervising Analysts as soon as they are accepted into the program. Here, they can discuss their current caseloads, begin to think psychoanalytically about them, and consider possible conversions to psychoanalysis.

   • Candidates have psychoanalytic experience with a number and variety of types of patients in order to develop the competence needed to conduct psychoanalysis independently.  In keeping with APsaA Standards, the  minimal requirement is three adult non-psychotic cases, including patients of each sex, a minimum of 50 supervisory hours per case, and a total of at least 200 supervisory hours. Every case should be supervised weekly for at least one year, and each candidate must have at least three different supervisory analysts. Candidates may change supervisors with no loss of supervisory hours or any other prejudice. 

Applications are currently being accepted for the academic year beginning in September 2019.

You may email or mail your completed applications and supporting documents to

Michelle Spencer at: 4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 202 San Diego, CA 92117.