SFCP is dedicated to providing a rich experience for each candidate in our psychoanalytic training program. We offer immersion in the thinking and practice of psychoanalysis in the modern world, with an appreciation for the multiple theoretical perspectives and the diverse sociocultural contexts which influence clinical work. 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 and particular sociocultural context. This capacity grows as candidates immerse themselves in the various components of the training program:
- Curriculum. Candidates attend four years of courses, including seminars focused on clinical theory and case conferences taught by clinically-seasoned faculty. In addition, candidates receive training in psychoanalytic writing through yearly writing courses and a final Writing Workshop that culminates in their graduation paper on a topic of their choice. Detailed information about coursework may be found in the Curriculum section below.
- Supervised clinical work. Candidates conduct at least three psychoanalyses, each supervised by an SFCP Supervising Analyst. Supervisors may be chosen from the Directory of SFCP Supervising Analysts. Any psychoanalyst with sufficient training and experience may now become an SFCP Supervising Analyst 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).
- Personal psychoanalysis. Each candidate engages in personal psychoanalysis with an SFCP Training Analyst, chosen from the Directory of SFCP Training Analysts. This personal analysis is non-reporting, but is considered vital to one’s development as a clinician. If you are currently in treatment with an analyst who is not an SFCP Training Analyst, please contact the Psychoanalytic Education Division Chair Gary Grossman, Ph.D. (415-928-4662) to have a confidential conversation to learn more about the process by which your analyst may become an SFCP Training Analyst.
- Professional community. Candidates develop a lifelong psychoanalytic professional community. This begins with the experience of training alongside an engaged group of colleagues and extends to participation in SFCP’s vibrant organizational and intellectual life as a graduate Analyst Member.
Psychoanalysis has evolved exponentially from its origins in the work of Sigmund Freud, and has become an exciting worldwide conversation involving multiple cultures, writers, thinkers, and theoretical traditions. Over four years of coursework, instructors collaborate with candidates to engage with a broad range of clinically-useful psychoanalytic perspectives. In addition, candidate groups have meetings with international scholars who visit SFCP to teach each year
Coursework in the Psychoanalytic Training Program places intentional focus on psychoanalytic conceptualization of sociocultural experience, on the important role of differing sociocultural contexts in constituting the personal unconscious, and on the significant role of sociocultural history and context in shaping clinical psychoanalysis. Candidates explore ways in which psychoanalytic thinking has embodied the values of the societies and historical periods in which it emerged, and the biases and blindspots this introduces into psychoanalytic theory. This focus is in keeping with SFCP’s wider efforts to build a community of clinicians, patients, instructors, and candidates who vary across the dimensions of race, culture, socioeconomic status, class, privilege, gender, and sexual orientation.
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 contributes significantly to teaching candidates in adult psychoanalysis, bringing developmental considerations to their understanding of each adult patient’s experience.
As a field, psychoanalysis offers ever-expanding opportunities for learning, exploration and engagement. For this reason, SFCP’s Psychoanalytic 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 and learning: an attuned, respectful, curious, and thoughtful exploration of unfamiliar perspectives. Such privileging of questioning over answering 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 national and international meetings, and SFCP candidates are offered reduced rates to attend. Numerous SFCP faculty publish widely in the psychoanalytic literature, and many have held editorial positions for the major psychoanalytic journals.
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, Anton Hart, Jonathan House, Betty Joseph, Otto Kernberg, Alessandra Lemma, Howard Levine, Riccardo Lombardi, Judith Mitrani, Donald Moss, Roy Schafer, and Virginia Ungar.
Candidates are voting members of SFCP, and candidate representatives serve important roles within the organization, including serving on the Board of Trustees, the Psychoanalytic Education Division, and the Curriculum Committee for Psychoanalytic Training. The candidates also chair and participate in the Candidates’ Association, which advocates for candidate concerns and organizes activities to promote a sense of community within the candidate group.
Graduation from training offers entry into a lively community of psychoanalytic friends and colleagues. Together, our membership and faculty are engaged actively 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.