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.

SFCP Psychoanalytic Training Program:
Year 2 Curriculum

The theme of Year 2 courses is ‘The Developing Individual in Society.’  Courses will be organized around two animating questions:  (1) How do people become who they are? (2) How does cultural experience structure the unconscious and how does the unconscious structure individual and collective cultural experience?  Seminars will attempt to illustrate how development is situated within the natural environment and within multiple collectives, including the family and the broader sociocultural surround.   Specific attention will be given to understanding the impact of power, privilege, and diversity in the clinical situation and in the classroom group process.

‘Psychoanalysis and Development' Seminars
Courses within this 46-week sequence aim to provide a multidimensional approach to teaching human development from a psychoanalytic perspective.  The development of bodily functioning, cognitive abilities, and psychic capacities within an individual is an integrative, elaborative process — situated within multiple collectives --   including the family, the natural environment, and the broader sociocultural surround. Video and other multimedia approaches will be incorporated wherever possible to illustrate developmental principles.

Individual Courses in Development Sequence:

  1. Infancy (7 weeks):  This course focuses on physical and cognitive development; infant interaction research (Sander, Stern, Trevarthen, Beebe, Emde); affect and affect regulation as basic organizers of experience (Stern, Ekman, Emde); attachment theory and research (Bowlby, Ainsworth, Main); various psychoanalytic theories regarding infant development (Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Fraiberg); the impact of early trauma; models of working with infant and caretaker dyads and families; cultural variations; and the process of socialization.
  2. Toddlerhood (5 weeks): This course focuses on physical and cognitive development; the attainment of capacities for bodily control, including locomotion, bladder and anal control, behavioral control, etc;  language development; separation and individuation (Mahler); transitional objects and transitional phenomena (Winnicott); mentalization (Fonagy); the role of the other in the formation of the mind and self;  selfobjects, self-organization, self-esteem and narcissistic development; development of peer relationships and critical social thinking; and the influence of context and collectives.
  3. Early Childhood/Preschool Ages 3 - 6 years old (7 weeks): This course focuses on physical and cognitive changes; mastery of language and its major contribution to symbolic function; the capacity for fantasy and imaginative play; working with play in the clinical setting; the role of unconscious fantasy, repression, and the dynamic unconscious; symptom, defense, and character formation; the “Oedipus Complex” through a contemporary lens; development of gender and queer identity; multicultural critiques; and thinking about ways in which the child’s mind and body are “structured” by context and collectives.
  4. Middle Childhood/Latency Ages 6 - 12 years (5 weeks): This course focuses on changes in physical and cognitive development; new motor abilities; a new organization of the mind—“concrete operations”; school competencies; peers, group formation, and group identity; games and sports; heroes, ideals, and values; the broader culture—media, literature, images; the concept of latency; and the question of repression in school age children.
  5. Adolescence (5 weeks): This course focuses on physical development, puberty, development of sexuality and sexual orientation; growth of new competences, including formal operations and nuanced peer relations; separation from family and from childhood; intergenerational conflict; trauma in adolescence; normative transient psychopathology; pathological presentations in adolescence  (i.e., eating disorders, performance issues, drug and alcohol abuse, technology addictions); conceptions of gender and sexuality, and the influence of class and culture.
  6. Adulthood and Late Life Development (5 weeks): This course focuses on changing roles and identities over the course of adulthood; on loss of capacities due to illness and aging; on mourning; and on mortality.
  7. Infant Observation (6 weeks): The primary goal of this course is to study recorded observations of infants in their natural home environment in order to facilitate the development of an analytic observation style, the ability to contain intense affect states, and other aspects of the analysts’ functioning in clinical work.  It is thus an introduction to core clinical skills.

‘Psychoanalysis, Society, and Culture' Seminars
The primary aim of courses in this 27-week series is to explore the sociocultural dimension in psychoanalysis and its impact on the developing individual.  Beginning with Freud, psychoanalytic theories within the collective paradigm have been brought to the study of the psychic life of groups and societies, both conscious and unconscious; however, the focus on the collective has traditionally been de-emphasized in pyschoanalytic theory.  In recent decades, attention has turned increasingly to ways in which culture and context shape individual development, interpersonal relationships, family life, and clinical psychoanalysis.

Individual Courses:

  1. Groups and Cultures (9 weeks).  This course focuses on the unconscious life of groups and on the influence of culture.
  2. Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Sociocultural Diversities (18 weeks):  This sequence will focus on psychoanalytic perspectives on sociocultural diversities including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic class, immigration and loss of core cultural identity.   The impact of diversities on the clinical treatment relationship will be explored.

Case Conference Sequence (21 weeks)
Candidates in Year 2 will participate in a series of three case conference modules.  Each case conference group integrates candidates from Years 2, 3, and 4 and focuses on the close examination of ongoing cases in psychoanalytic treatment.  At least three of the nine modules during Years 2, 3, and 4 will focus on cases of children or adolescents in psychoanalytic treatments. Candidates will present clinical process from their own cases, and discussions will be led by seasoned clinicians with different psychoanalytic points of view.  Candidates will be encouraged to formulate their own psychoanalytic perspectives on the clinical material under discussion. The impact of sociocultural issues on the treatment will be explored.

Elective (7 weeks)
Candidates in Years 2, Year 3, and Year 4 will have the opportunity to choose one elective from several offerings each year to explore individual interests (prior electives have included psychoanalytic perspectives on Groups,  Misogyny, Film, Culture, etc)

Writing and Case Formulation (7 weeks)
Each year of candidacy will conclude with a writing course in which candidates will be prompted to write in a way that makes explicit their psychoanalytic thinking and their lived clinical experience.  Facilitated by the instructor, candidates will read and discuss each other’s writing. Ideally, candidates will leave this course feeling that the process of writing, and of reflecting upon that writing with their group and instructor has (1) contributed to the growth of their capacities for describing, conceptualizing, and emotionally-processing aspects of their clinical experience, including formulation and analytic process; (2) strengthened the engagement of their group; and (3) helped to metabolize what they have learned and experienced together over the course of the year.