psychoanalytic psychotherapy association training

  • deadline for applications: 31st August 2020 for January 2021 start
  • 37 Mapesbury Road, London NW2 4HJ

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.  

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.


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

The Theory and Clinical seminars are held on one weekday evening between 6.30 – 10.00pm. 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.

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.

2020 term dates


spring term

11th January – 24th March
Half Term: the week of 17th February

Saturday seminars:

  • Platform PPA20 only: Saturday 11th January
  • Rolling Programme trainees only: Saturday 25th January
  • All trainees:  Saturday 29th February

summer term

21st April – 4th July
Half Term: the week of 25th May

Saturday seminars:

  • All trainees: Saturday 25th April
  • All trainees: Saturday 4th July

autumn term

22nd September – 1st December
Half Term the week of 25th October

Saturday seminars:

  • All trainees: Saturday 3rd October
  • All trainees Saturday 7th November

entry requirements

personal therapy

It is crucial that a psychoanalytic 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.

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.

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.


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 aim to keep fees as affordable as possible, and they are currently set at £2,950 annually for the four years of the theory curriculum. After this, while clinical work is completed, there is a reduction in the annual fee.

If an Infant Observation is undertaken there is an additional fee of £500 per term.

Trainees also pay an annual bpf membership fee of £135 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 is negotiated with the training therapist on an individual basis. Similarly, when beginning to see training patients.

how to apply

Before you apply please contact the PPA Training Coordinator :
Phone: 020 8438 2419

The closing date is 31st August every year for the following academic year which starts in January. Late applications will be considered where possible.


PPA Curriculum


Making sense of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis (by BPC).

A very clear and comprehensive account of what psychoanalytic psychotherapy is, including its history and how it differs from other treatments, written by psychoanalyst Jane Milton

view document

access information

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

contact us

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 Coordinator at and you will be put in contact with an experienced advisor.  

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.