psychoanalytic psychotherapy reading group

  • 8 week reading course: October - December 2021
  • The reading group is meeting online but will go back to in-person, when possible.

Are you interested in the origins and development of psychoanalytic theory and practice? How has psychoanalytic thinking been developed and applied to understanding ourselves and the world we live in?

who is it for

The course may appeal to people who want to acquaint themselves with the fundamentals of psychoanalytic theory out of personal interest, or who see it as a step towards embarking on a psychoanalytic training.

course content

This reading group will discuss and explore the rich psychoanalytic literature from Freud to the current day. Members of the group will be expected each week to read a seminal paper chosen from the psychoanalytic literature. The discussion is an important part of the ethos and is intended to leave room for a variety of different views in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

The group will be facilitated by an experienced psychoanalytic psychotherapist who will be able to offer a context for each paper and some material from their own clinical experience as an aid to learning.


Seminars run on Thursdays via Zoom online from 18.30 - 20.00.

Dates - Autumn Term

  • Thursday  7 October, 14th October, 21st October, 28th October

(Reading Week no seminar)

  • Thursdays 11th November, 18th November, 25th November, 2nd December 

entry requirements

A personal interest in the fundamentals of psychoanalytic theory.


Cost of a term of 8 seminars is £310. Cost for the two terms (16 seminars), if booked together, will be at a discounted rate of £600, whilst the cost for all three terms (24 seminars) is £880.

Please note that the bpf will not be held responsible for travel/hotel expenses made or incurred in the unlikely event of this course either being cancelled or postponed. See our cancellation and refund policies for more information.

how to apply

To apply for this course, please download and complete the application form supplied and email it to the PPA Training Coordinator at [email protected]

download application form


Reading list for Summer 2020

download reading list

Reading list for Autumn 2021

PPA reading group - autumn term 2021

The focus of the term is the process of psychic change, with an emphasis on renewal and repair. How does this become possible in Psychoanalysis and when is enough, enough?

What are we looking for when we enter into treatment, and how do we feel when or if treatment doesn’t deliver as expected?

Background readings will be given as we go. If time is short, where two readings are given, please try to read at least one so that you can join in the discussion.

Week 1) The Process of Psychic Change.

Chapter 3 in Alessandra Lemma (2016) Introduction to the Practice of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, John Wiley, West Sussex.

Week 2) Analysis

Terminable and Interminable (1937). Sigmund Freud (1964) Standard Edition XXIII, Hogarth Press, London.

Week 3) Mentalized Affectivity in the Clinical Setting.

Chapter 11 in Peter Fonagy et al (2002) Affect Regulation, Mentalization and the Development of the Self, Routledge, London and New York. What do Psychoanalytic Theories and Attachment Theory have in common? Chapter 12 in Peter Fonagy (2001) Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis, Karnac Books, London.

Week 4) Insight and Emotion in Psychoanalysis.

Chapter 2 in Neville Symington (1986) The Analytic Experience, Free Association Books, London. The Reversal of Narcissism. Chapter 8 in Neville Symington (1993) Narcissism: A New Theory, Karnac Books, London. Reading Week.

Week 5) Language: Miracle and Tyranny.

2 Chapter 14 in Bessel Van der Kolk (2014) The Body Keeps the Score, Penguin Random House.

Week 6) Talking makes things happen.

Athol Hughes: Chapter 9 in (ed) Edith Hargreaves and Arturo Varchevker (2004) In Pursuit of Psychic Change, Routledge, East Sussex.

Week 7) Playing: A Theoretical Statement

(1968) Chapter 12 in Lesley Caldwell and Angela Joyce (ed) Reading Winnicott, 2011, Routledge, East Sussex. Week 8) Survival-with-Enjoyment. Chapter 1 in Nina Coltart (1993, 2021) How to survive as a Psychotherapist, Phoenix Press, Oxfordshire. The Hardest Thing of All. Chapter 22 in Mike Brearley (2017) On Form, Little Brown, London

Reading list for Autumn 2021

download reading list

Reading list for Summer 2021

download reading list

access information

The building has limited access - please call us on 020 8452 9823 to discuss your needs.  

contact us

To find out more and discuss your interest, please email Alice Cowley at [email protected]

For any admin enquiries, please contact the PPA Training Coordinator at [email protected]

The bpf is committed to diversity and inclusivity in all the work we deliver. We are fully dedicated to promoting, maintaining and supporting equality of opportunity in all aspects of our organisation and, as such, the bpf welcomes applications from all sections of society.