psychoanalytic psychotherapy wessex training

  • no intakes are currently planned
  • the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire

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. The Wessex Training administrative centre is in Oxford, but seminars and clinical work usually take place in Oxford, Reading and other locations in these counties. The Wessex Training strives to combine the highest clinical standards with academic rigour, while sharing facilities and a lively professional life with bpf members in London. Successful completion of the training leads to Membership of the bpf and eligibility for Registration with the British Psychoanalytic Council.

The Wessex Training also runs scientific events, short introductory courses and public talks on psychoanalytic psychotherapy and related topics. These are mainly based in Oxford but also in Reading and Basingstoke.

course content

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 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.

Teachers and discussion facilitators will all be bpf psychoanalytic psychotherapists, jungian analysts, child and adolescent psychotherapists or psychoanalysts working in private practice, the voluntary sector and the NHS. Each student will have the support of a mentor, also a bpf member, who is able to offer guidance through the course and, for those wishing to go further, advice about pathways towards one of the bpf professional trainings.


The Wessex Clinical Training shares a framework with the London-based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training.

Trainees are required to attend Theoretical Seminars once a week for four years. Seminars usually take place on Mondays from 8.30pm to 10.00pm. These take place at venues in the Oxfordshire and Berkshire area. Some seminars may be scheduled on a Saturday morning in place of evenings.

Seminars include the study of Classical and Contemporary Freudian theories and Kleinian and Independent/Object Relations theories, offering trainees an understanding of the history of psychoanalytic ideas. Their purpose is to provide a basis for developing a conceptual framework from which to look at clinical material through the dynamics of transference and countertransference.

infant observation

During the first year of the course, Trainees are required to observe a mother and her baby in the family setting once a week for an hour. The observations are written and discussed at weekly seminars, which take place in Reading on Tuesday evenings.

An Infant Observation paper of 4000­-6000 words must be passed before the trainee can apply to take on a training patient.

treatment of training patients

Trainees are required to treat two patients - one of each sex - a minimum of three sessions per week, in accordance with the BPC Code of Ethics and Guidelines on Confidentiality. One training patient must be treated for at least two years and one for at least eighteen months. These patients will be referred usually by the bpf. Trainees are required to submit written six-monthly reports describing the progress of treatment and to attend seminars once a term to discuss these reports.

An additional ‘portfolio of work’ is required on patients on a once, twice or three times a week basis in the trainee’s work setting. These are not for assessment purposes but to increase the experience of application of psychoanalytic ideas.

Each training patient will be discussed in individual weekly supervision with a bpf approved supervisor. It is normally required that the trainee has a patient and a supervisor of each sex. Supervision will continue throughout the training until Membership is obtained.

clinical seminars

Clinical seminars are held fortnightly on a weekday evening from 8.30-10.00pm, from the second year until qualification. They provide the opportunity for trainees to present and discuss the treatment of their training patients in a small group with experienced seminar leaders of different psychoanalytic orientations. They will also focus upon issues of transference and countertransference, ethical issues and the development of good practice and an analytic attitude.

entry requirements

For some people a training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy represents a first training in a clinical discipline. Others will be established already in a 'core profession' and will view this as a means of extending, developing or shifting the focus of their clinical work. Many practitioners use this professional qualification to develop their psychoanalytic work in the public sector and/or to establish a private practice.

Applicants are expected to have:

  • Personal therapy with a bpf approved training psychotherapist or psychoanalyst, a minimum of three times a week, for at least one year prior to starting training;
  • Academic qualifications at least to degree level or equivalent;
  • Relevant work experience in clinical psychology, medicine, nursing, social work, teaching or counselling;
  • Other professions will be considered;
  • Worked in a Mental Health setting clinically with individuals either full or part time, in a paid or voluntary capacity;
  • Experience of work in a psychiatric setting. Following discussion with a member of the Training Committee, those without psychiatric experience will be required to undertake a psychiatric placement, usually for a minimum of half a day a week for one year, which they will usually complete by the end of their first year of training. This can be completed before they start the training;
  • Aptitude: Applicants need to be considered personally suitable and be able to demonstrate a potential to think and work analytically;
  • Finance: Applicants must anticipate the ability to support themselves financially throughout the entire training;
  • Clearance by the Criminal Records Bureau for work with vulnerable people in regard to the Infant Observation component.

support & appraisal during training

The Wessex Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Committee is responsible for all decisions in connection with each stage of the trainee’s training progress. Assessment is based upon both continuous and examined assessment.

Each trainee is assigned a training tutor throughout the training. The role of the tutor is to be a link with the organisation and provide continued appraisal for the trainee. The support of the peer group is also considered very important.

The trainee’s personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy/psychoanalysis is central to their development and must be continued intensively until obtaining Membership.


To be confirmed.

how to apply

Potential applicants are advised to contact the bpf Wessex Training Administrator to arrange for an informal discussion and advice about the training. This will include whether they have sufficient experience to apply and recommendations can be offered about suitable placements to gain this experience Assistance will also be given on how to find a suitable training therapist, should this be necessary.

An application form can be obtained from the bpf Wessex Oxford office. Copies of all degrees and diploma certificates must be submitted with the completed application form with the names of two referees.

The bpf  Wessex Training Administrator can be contacted by:
phone: 0754 153 7828.


Currently there are no resources available for this course.

access information

Please check venue accessibility with the course organiser.

contact us

If you have any questions and for further information please contact the bpf  Wessex Training Administrator:
phone: 0754 153 7828.

The bpf welcomes applications from all sections of society. The bpf values diversity and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.