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Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy

Train with the PPA

Welcome to the training section of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association (PPA)

Undertaking a clinical training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy represents a major personal investment in terms of time, money and individual development. We hope the following information will give you a sense of what training at the bpf might be like.

We currently offer:

London Training

The training programme is strongly rooted in the tradition of the intensive psychotherapy trainings previously provided by the British Association of Psychotherapists, the Lincoln Clinic and Centre for Psychotherapy and the London Centre for Psychotherapy, based in London.

Find out more about London Training

Modified Entry Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to enable qualified child psychotherapists (ACP), couples psychotherapists (BSCPC), and adult psychotherapists who are not registered with the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) to train as adult psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Find out more about Modified Entry Scheme

Wessex Training

The bpf  Wessex Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Adults is intended for applicants based in, or able to travel to, the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire areas. 

Find out more about Wessex Training

Why train with us?

The training offered by the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association (PPA) of the bpf and is strongly rooted in the 60-year tradition of intensive psychotherapy trainings previously provided by the British Association of Psychotherapists, the Lincoln Clinic and Centre for Psychotherapy, and the London Centre for Psychotherapy.

The merger of these three organisations in 2013 into the British Psychoanalytic Foundation and the creation of the PPA means that as a qualified member you will join one of the largest professional bodies for psychoanalytic psychotherapy in the UK. This gives you access to a full range of post qualification professional development opportunities, including the opportunity of advancing to senior membership.  Within the bpf you will find yourself in a unique cross fertilising community of colleagues with qualifications in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Jungian Analysis a well as Psychoanalysis.  You will find a rewarding and rich professional life in a career offering psychoanalytic treatment to people in all walks of life.

Training in the PPA incorporates best clinical practice and high standards. It is accredited by the British Psychoanalytic Council. Once qualified, members are eligible for registration with the British Psychoanalytic Council which is regulated by the Professional Standards Authority. You will be equipped to work intensively and in depth with adult patients. With this foundation, therapists are well equipped to develop a private practice or to apply the model to work in the NHS, higher education and the third sector.  

We welcome applications to train from all members of society. The bpf opposes discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual orientation. Selection of candidates for training is made solely on the basis of qualities directly concerned with the ability to learn and to function as a psychotherapist.

What is the orientation of the training?

Our training is underpinned by a theoretical framework derived from the rich, longstanding and well-founded psychoanalytic traditions of Freud, Klein, Bion, Winnicott and the British Object Relations School.  Based on Freud’s discovery and elaboration of the unconscious and its effects in everyday life, the work explores the ways that unconscious aspects and conflicts of the personality may be hindering development and informing conscious choices in an unhelpful way.

Intensive Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy involves seeing a patient three times a week, usually on the couch.  This frequency, together with the psychoanalytic setting, enables a depth of contact between therapist and patient that is significant and effective. It is an internationally recognized standard of psychoanalytic work that is also practically manageable in terms of time, money and the other demands of contemporary life.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy allows for a sustained and meaningful therapeutic relationship to develop. This allows both patient and therapist to explore and understand the patient’s difficulties and conflicts in his inner world in the safe and contained setting of the consulting room. Treatment aims to reach beyond the initial symptoms which may have initiated the desire for therapy, to the underlying causes which reside in deeper layers of the personality. Working in this way can provide profound and lasting change for the patient, and a deeply rewarding and creative experience for the therapist and patient alike.

What does the training involve?

The practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy seeks to explore, understand and work in depth with the emotional problems of another. It necessarily requires a rigorous and thorough training which entails the therapist’s time and commitment and the capacity to explore themselves in their own personal therapy.

Our four-year part time qualifying course comprises the following strands: the trainee’s own personal psychotherapy/analysis; the completion of an infant observation; undertaking clinical work with patients under supervision, and attendance and participation in theoretical and clinical seminars.

Personal therapy

It is crucial that a psychoanalytical psychotherapist has a thorough knowledge of their own emotional conflicts and difficulties in order to be able to work in an appropriately professional way with their patients. We believe that a trainee’s personal psychotherapy is central to their development as a psychotherapist and is a core part of the training.

Therefore we require trainees to be established in a minimum of three times a week therapy before starting the training and continue in it until reaching qualification. This therapy should be undertaken with an approved PPA training therapist, which will ensure that the therapy and training are congruent with that which trainees are learning to practice.

If you are not yet in therapy we will assist you in finding a suitable training therapist.

Infant observation

This component allows the trainee to gain first-hand experience of the development of an infant and his/her attachments, and therefore to develop a greater understanding of the early states of mind and human experiences which exist within us all. It also facilitates the development of a capacity to experience and observe intense emotional states both in the mother and baby and in the observer themselves.

Trainees are required to observe a mother and baby in the family setting once a week for an hour. Detailed reports on these observations are written, which are then discussed at a weekly seminar led by an experienced psychotherapist. The observations begin at birth and continue for a minimum of one year, with an option to continue for a second year.

A piece of written work on the observation is to be completed before beginning with the first training patient.

Clinical work with patients under supervision

Usually beginning in the second year of the course, trainees begin to treat the first of two training patients, one of each sex, at least three times weekly. Before qualification one patient must be seen for at least two years, the other for at least 18 months. The trainee submits a report on each patient every 6 months, describing the process of treatment, and attends a seminar once a term to discuss these reports.

The clinical work with each training patient is discussed in one-to-one weekly supervision with a PPA approved supervisor, until qualification.

Clinical and theoretical seminars

Theoretical seminars are attended for four years. These provide trainees with a thorough grounding in classical and contemporary psychoanalytical theory. They take place on a weekday evening, and on two Saturdays in each term.

Clinical seminars take place weekly until qualification, and take place on the same evening each week as the theoretical seminars. During the first year they will take the form of weekly work discussions in which trainees present patients or clients with whom they are working in. This might be at an honorary placement in a hospital or counselling setting, or come from professional work that you are already doing. Issues relating to working once weekly, or in a time-limited frame, will be introduced and discussed. 

Later in the course, the seminars provide an opportunity to present and discuss the treatment of training patients in a small group with experienced seminar leaders of different psychoanalytic orientations.

What support is available to trainees?

We recognize that undertaking a clinical training represents a major investment in terms of time, emotional growth and professional development. Because of this, each trainee is assigned a tutor who provides a link with the Training Committee, and who will give continuing support, advice and appraisal to the trainee throughout the course. Assessment is ongoing and trainees are given regular feedback and opportunities to discuss their development and learning both privately with their tutor, and as a group with the Training Committee.

What are the practical commitments: time and cost?

The Theory and Clinical seminars are held on one weekday evening between 6.30 – 10.30pm. A further seminar, for Infant Observation, is attended, at a time to suit the individual during the first year (or two, if a Two year Observation is undertaken). Two Saturday mornings a term are also scheduled with workshops and plenaries with the Training Committee.

We aim to keep fees as affordable as possible, and they are currently set at £2,950 annually for the training, plus £325 per term for the infant observation component. Trainees also pay an annual membership fee of £141 which provides access to the bpf library, to PEPWEB (an excellent online resource of psychoanalytic literature), and access to bpf’s wide-ranging scientific and cultural life.

The trainee’s fees for their own personal therapy would be negotiated with the training therapist on an individual basis. Similarly, when beginning to see training patients, the trainee will agree a fee for the weekly supervision required on these cases with the supervisor in question.

What are the requirements to train?

Selection of candidates for training is made solely on the basis of qualities directly concerned with the ability to learn and to function as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and each application is carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.

Typically, successful applicants have some experience of working with adults on emotional difficulties within a one-to-one relationship, either professionally or on volunteer basis. They may have a degree, but we also accept applications from those able to demonstrate the capacity to undertake the academic components of the course.

An application is likely to be strengthened by having some familiarity with psychoanalytic ideas, and for the applicant to have experience of being in their own personal psychotherapy. As noted above, should the application be successful we would require the individual to be in therapy with an approved PPA training therapist, three times a week, for a minimum of one year, before starting the training.

Following acceptance onto the course, those without previous psychiatric experience will need to undertake a psychiatric placement, either before or during the training. Those with little relevant clinical experience will need to undertake a clinical placement, as all trainees need to be engaged in one-to-one therapeutic work with adults during the first pre-clinical year of the training, so that they can participate fully in the clinical work seminars.

How do I find out more, or begin the application process?

If you would like further information about this course or you would like help in preparing to apply, including finding a training therapist, choosing an introductory course or finding a suitable honorary placement, please contact:

The PPA Training Manager
Sophina Khan
+44 (0)20 8438 2419
and she will put you in contact with an experienced advisor.  


Tel: 020 8452 9823 Registered office: 37 Mapesbury Road, London NW2 4HJ
Company number 8238969 registered in England and Wales Registered charity number 1150806