Selection Criteria and
Do I have to be qualified as a mental
health professional to train?
No. Applicants come
from a range of different professions. Although it is often
the case that applicants do have a previous training in a
core mental health profession (psychiatry, psychology,
social work or nursing) applicants from other professional
or academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Do I need to have clinical experience
before I can apply?
There is no a-priori
requirement for clinical experience. At the preliminary
interview stage an individual’s clinical experience will be
explored and it may be that an honorary placement in a
clinical setting would be suggested as a way of gaining more
experience. Once a candidate is accepted and registered,
he/she, together with his/her progress advisor, will develop
a programme that will provide the candidate with any
clinical experience required for the training, in addition
to conducting the analyses of two training patients.
Do I have to be in analysis in order to
apply or to be accepted for the training?
No. There is no
requirement to be in analysis before applying to do the
training and this is not a reason to postpone the
application process. However, many applicants are either in
analysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy before applying to
train as this can be an important way of helping to decide
whether psychoanalytic training is the right choice for the
individual concerned and can also be helpful in the
Is there an upper or lower age limit for
There are no age
restrictions regarding applications for training. However it
is worth remembering that psychoanalysis takes a long time
to learn and this includes a long period after formal
training is complete. For this reason it is better, if
possible, not to leave the start of training later than
necessary. On the other hand of course people develop and
become ready at different rates and every applicant is
Are there any essential criteria for
Beyond the requirement
that applicants must have a degree or equivalent, the
Institute discourages a tick-box type approach to
applications to train. Becoming a psychoanalyst is a
demanding course of work and any applicant needs carefully
to consider his/her situation before undertaking such a
commitment. The application process assesses each
application on its merits and recognises a broad range of
How can I know whether I would stand any
chance of being accepted to train?
It is possible to have
an informal discussion with a training analyst over the
phone or by email independent of the application process. If
you wish to do this, contact the Education Officer who will
give you the name and contact details of a training analyst
for an informal discussion.
The first stage of the formal application process is to send
your CV with a covering letter to the Education Officer. You
will then be offered a preliminary interview with a training
analyst who will discuss your CV with you to help you to
make a decision about whether to continue with the formal
If I am turned down from the training
can I re-apply?
of the application form, the candidate has two personal
interviews with senior analysts and a decision is made by
the Admissions Committee about whether to accept the
applicant for training. Sometimes a decision is made not to
accept the applicant immediately but to invite him/her to
come to be interviewed again, which can be any time from 18
months to 4 years later, provided s/he starts or continues
with 5 times a week analysis throughout that time. Whilst it
can be upsetting not to be accepted straight away, this
outcome is an indication that members of the Admissions
Committee think that an applicant shows potential and it is
often the case that those who reapply are successful when
they are interviewed the second time.
Those applicants who are neither accepted nor offered the
option of re-interview after the first time can apply twice
more, up to a maximum of three applications. The Admissions
Committee recognises that individuals do develop over time
and there is
a very significant number of qualified members of the
Institute, including some who now have considerable
reputations, who were not accepted on their first or even
Will I get feedback about my
Following the outcome
of the application process, unsuccessful applicants can meet
with one of the analysts who conducted the interview (or
another member of the Admissions Committee if they prefer)
for feedback and a full discussion of the Committee’s
What alternatives are there to training at the Institute of
Psychoanalysis? Why should I train at the Institute?
There are two
trainings available in the UK that confer eligibility for
membership of the International Psychoanalytical
Association. The training at the Institute is well
established and has been running since 1924, whilst the
training at the BPA has its first intake of students in
There are a number of differences between the two trainings.
One of the most significant formal differences is that
students undertaking the BPA training are required to be in
their own personal training analysis and to see their
training cases four times weekly, as compared to five times
weekly at the Institute. The Institute of Psychoanalysis has
a long standing international reputation, with world-wide
links to other institutes. Our members are represented at
numerous international conferences and workshops where the
organization's widespread recognition and prestige attract
opportunities to teach, supervise and participate in events
across the globe. Training at our Institute thus offers
opportunities to learn from psychoanalysts with
international reputations as writers and scholars. Five
times weekly analysis is intensive but given the high
demands of undertaking any psychoanalytic training the
Institute anticipates that it will continue to be the first
choice for most applicants.
For those interested in less intensive trainings there are a
number of psychoanalytic psychotherapy courses that make
fewer demands on students, although they also provide a less
rigorous training experience.
Isn’t it true that the training at the
Institute is very expensive and costs much more than training
as a psychotherapist? What are the costs of training?
The main cost of the
training is the training analysis. In addition there are
fees for seminars and supervision. The requirement of the
Institute of Psychoanalysis is for trainees to be in five
times a week psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
training organisations may require less intensive therapy or
analysis (although trainees are often encouraged to undergo
4 or 5 times weekly analysis) While this may be cheaper, the
difference is partially offset by the fees for seminars at
the Institute (currently £450 per year) that are
significantly lower than for most psychotherapy trainings.
Is there any financial help
There is financial support available
through a loan scheme. All students are eligible to apply for
a loan (of up to a maximum of £15,000). The loan is provided
on favourable financial terms (payable interest free
within seven years of qualification).
What does a ‘training analyst’
A training analyst is a senior analyst who,
by virtue of his/her experience, has been considered
sufficiently expert to undertake the analysis of candidates
wishing to complete training as a psychoanalyst. In order to
undertake the training trainees must be in analysis with a
training analyst approved by the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Training analysts also provide supervision for students’
How do I go about finding a training
The Education Officer of the Institute has
a list of training analysts and can put you in contact with
analysts who you can consult with a view to seeking an
analysis. The arrangement and fee for your analysis is a
private arrangement between the individual and the training
How long does the
training analysis last?
students are required to have been in five times a week
analysis with a training analyst of the British
Psychoanalytic Society for a minimum of a year before
starting lectures and seminars and for the duration of the
training. In very exceptional circumstances, when a
candidate from the regions has to travel more than an hour
to his/her analysis, and where the only possible alternative
would be to have five sessions on four days, permission may
be given following full discussion with the Chair of Student
Progress Committee for the training analysis to take place
four times a week, on four consecutive days.
What can I do if I am
in analysis but my analyst is not a training
You should discuss your
position with your analyst so that you can consider what steps
you might take. In order to be able to start the training it is
likely that you would need to arrange to work to end your
analysis before starting with a training analyst.
What sort of time input is
The amount of time
required for the training differs at different periods in
the course of the training. In addition to the trainee’s
personal analysis (five times a week for 50 minutes), the
first year of training comprises seminars on two or three
evenings of the week as well as an hour of infant
observation. Subsequent years usually involve seminars on
one to three evenings a week. In addition, usually from the
second year onward there is the time commitment of seeing
the first training patient and subsequently the second
training patient (each five times a week) plus weekly
supervision for each training patient. Whilst the number of
hours differs slightly from year to year, it may be
sufficient to allow trainees to register as students for the
purposes of Council Tax and therefore be eligible for a 25%
discount. Please note that the Institute will provide a
letter stating how many hours you work; the local authority
will then decide whether to grant an exemption.
I have a family and a busy job – how can
I possibly find the time to train?
This is an important
question asked by many people thinking of applying to the
training. Whilst the demands of the training are high, there
is also a fair amount of flexibility that enables students
to plan the training to fit in with their particular
circumstances. Some students spread the seminars over a
longer period, or attend weekend seminars, so that they
spend fewer evenings at seminars during the week. However,
it is not possible to complete the training only through
weekend seminars. In reality, trainees, many of whom are
working full time alongside the training, do manage to find
the time to meet all the requirements even though initially
this may seem impossible.
Do people take time out to have
Yes. The training is flexible enough to
accommodate the arrival of children and support is provided to
enable parents to plan the subsequent structure of the
Is it possible to train from outside
Yes, and applicants
from outside London are welcome although there are
significant challenges and it may not yet be possible for
students to train from all regions throughout the UK. There
are currently students training who live as far from London
as Manchester and Sheffield. The Institute will help any
applicants living outside London to consider how they might
find a training analyst (there is a small but increasing
number of training analysts living outside London). It is
possible to participate in seminars via teleconferencing
facilities, which enables students outside London to avoid
the necessity of frequent travel.
How long does the training take?
The average duration for completion of the
training is four to five years. Some trainees manage to
complete it in a shorter time (three years) and others may
take longer, perhaps because of events such as having
What is the range of psychoanalytic
Training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis
is founded on the work of Sigmund Freud and covers the major
schools of psychoanalysis in Britain; Contemporary Freudian,
Kleinian and Independent. The Institute also links with
European and worldwide psychoanalytical societies and there are
opportunities for training with students from other countries
at international conferences which facilitates exposure to a
range of perspectives.
Is the training old
fashioned and rigid?
The training is based on
the teachings of Sigmund Freud – it is unapologetically
Freudian. Drawing on this core of theory the BPAS is home to
some of the foremost international thinkers working as
psychoanalysts. Their work in developing contemporary theory
ensures that clinical practice is inspiring and alive. The
training is anything but old fashioned although it does aspire to be
rigorous and disciplined.
formally assessed written paper required for the training is
at the end of the course on Infant Observation.
What is the purpose of
During the first year of training students make weekly
visits to observe a mother and baby and participate in a
weekly seminar to discuss their observations. The experience
provides the opportunity to develop observational technique,
to gain a theoretical and clinical understanding of the
emotional development of infants, and thereby enhances
clinical practice in a variety of ways.
Is it possible to
combine the training with Child
It is not part of the
initial training to become a psychoanalyst but it is
possible to start the child training after commencement of
the second adult training case, provided the Education
Committee is satisfied that the adult training is proceeding
satisfactorily. If the training to become a child analyst is
undertaken after qualification the possibility exists for it
to be undertaken as part of the post qualification course to
become a Fellow of the Institute.
What is needed for qualification? How
are trainees assessed?
The major components of the training
One year of infant observation followed by an
assessed written paper.
Completion of a number of compulsory and
optional theoretical and clinical seminars.
The supervised analysis of two training cases
over the course of a minimum of two years and one year
respectively, each five times a week.
A personal training analysis (not part of the
Progress at all stages
of the training is dependent on the recommendation of the
Student Progress Committee. In the early stages the feedback
of seminar leaders is important. In the later stages the
assessment of the trainees two supervisors carries
particular weight. Feedback reports are provided by each
seminar leader for all seminars attended by the trainee.
Supervisors provide six-monthly reports. The student is
assigned a Progress Advisor who collates all reports and
discusses these regularly with the trainee. Once all
required components of the training are completed, the
Student Progress Committee and the Education Committee
consider all reports and decide on whether the trainee has
developed to a point at which s/he can be recommended to
qualify as a psychoanalyst.
The Education OfficerThe Institute of Psychoanalysis
112a Shirland Road
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