Psychoanalytic Training Division


In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we prioritize the health and safety of our candidates, staff, and instructors. At present, the SFCP building remains closed, and all classes and supervisions will be conducted virtually through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. We are committed to offering psychoanalytic training as scheduled in the upcoming 2020-21 academic year, and we are actively planning for all contingencies. As more information becomes available from the public health department, we will provide regular updates regarding the impact of the public health guidelines for classes in the psychoanalytic training program.

Introduction to Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis Program

SFCP offers the only child analytic program in northern California

There are two paths to becoming a child analyst. Traditionally, child analysts were required to train as adult analysts first before entering child and adolescent analytic training. The new Child Focus Program is designed for therapists who would like to be analysts and who wish to work primarily with children and adolescents. The new program enables these child therapists to focus on children and adolescents early on in their training.

Child Focus candidates can easily add the adult requirements to their curriculum if they find that they also wish to become adult analysts.


Training Requirements

  • Supervised analysis of three children (pre-latency, latency and adolescent children)
  • 4 years of didactic classes
  • 4 years of case conferences
  • Preceptorship paper

All participants must be in a training analysis with a SFCP Training Analyst during their training.

The program strongly recommends supervised analytic treatment of one adult as well.


Didactic Curriculum

Training Years 1 and 2

  • First year child candidates are given a mentor who meets with them weekly to discuss all issues of training, but especially to consider the candidate’s child and adolescent psychotherapy cases with the goal of developing these into analytic cases when appropriate.
  • Child candidates take all seminars in Years 1 and 2 of adult analytic training with the adult candidates. This is an in-depth introduction to psychoanalysis: the development of analytic theory, analytic technique, and child development – infancy through adolescence.
  • In Year 2 if the candidate is ready, he/she can begin the Child Analytic Seminars as well. These seminars are open to child candidates of  all levels of training, so all child candidates get to know each other and are able to learn together and to support each others’ learning and case development.
  • Child candidates take a weekly case conference. In Year 1 this is a case conference for all first year candidates. In Years 2, 3 and 4, child candidates take the child-adult case conference. Adult-only candidates also take this conference at some time during their training. This conference presents a child/adolescent case and an adult case side-by-side – allowing child candidates to begin to see child analytic work in action, and to compare/contrast this with adult analytic work.


Training Years 3 and 4

  • Child Analytic Seminars continue through these years. Often there non-local faculty (Anne Alvarez, Robin Anderson, Anne-Marie Sandler, Robert and Mirta Oelsner) who lead the discussions of clinical material and readings via skype. Candidates frequently present their on-going cases in this setting, giving candidates more exposure to clinical work and to the sophisticated thinking of these experienced non-local faculty as well as local child analysts.
  • Child candidates also continue to take some seminars with adult candidates, since a number of curriculum topics are important to learn about together (for example – Ethics, and Gender).
  • Child candidates will be expected to be well-versed by the end of these four years of seminars in child development, diagnosis and analytic technique with children/adolescents and with different developmental levels of capacity, psychopathology of childhood, play and action in therapeutic work.


Additional Program Offerings

  • Child Colloquium ( 4-6 yearly, Saturday mornings)
  • Infant observation, preschool observation and consultation
  • Child candidates are encouraged to participate with the adult candidates in the Candidates Association and Candidates Colloquium, and in other SFCP events such as the Scientific Meetings


About Child Analysis

What is the goal of child analysis?

The modification of psychological roadblocks so that children and adolescents can achieve their full potential.


What does a child analyst have to offer to children and parents?

  • A child analyst approaches each child or adolescent individually
  • They help their parents take care of their child’s difficulties
  • They understand that factors outside a person’s awareness can influence feelings, thoughts and actions.
  • They help parents and children understand how the past shapes the present  and can influence the future
  • They help children to remove obstacles to the development of their abilities so that they can become happier, more caring , productive and creative


Psychoanalysis is the best treatment when:

  • The problems primarily stem from within the child or adolescent
  • Children or adolescents have complex emotional disturbances
  • Other treatments and attempted solutions have failed to deliver deep long lasting change