Course Descriptions

This training approach considers the psyche from a multi-faceted perspective, so that the analytic technique can be tailored to the unique personality structure of each individual, whether child, adolescent or adult. A serious examination of the human psyche is based in the comprehensive study of the foundational psychoanalytic theories and immersion in development. Clinical research derived from Infant Observation, Attachment Theory, and Development are studied, enabling candidates to draw from both classical and contemporary psychoanalytic ideas.

The curriculum is listening-based. A unique clinical emphasis throughout keeps theory vitally connected to the analytic listening experience. All learning is based on a spiral model: Concepts presented in beginning courses are revisited in later courses to deepen clinical and theoretical understanding.

Sigmund Freud’s seminal work is foundational in the curriculum. Psychoanalytic developments such as ego psychology, object relations theory, and the theories of Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicott, and Wilfred R. Bion are studied in a historical context and as responses to questions arising from clinical work. Candidates are encouraged to think critically about what they learn and to bring their individual life experience and intuitive understanding to the learning process as they develop their own analytic voice.

The courses described below fulfill the academic part the Institute’s graduation requirements for clinicians who have a New York State license in Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work, or Nursing as a Nurse Practitioner (Track A). They also fulfill the New York State Education Department’s subject area requirements for candidates who want to take the qualifying examination to become licensed psychoanalysts (Track B).

Completion of these courses, as well as fulfillment of other graduation requirements and the payment of dues, enable Track B candidates to become members of the Contemporary Freudian Society and the International Psychoanalytical Association.

First Year

The first year of the analytic listening and concept sequence focuses on the beginning analytic relationship and the understanding of central analytic concepts (while listening to clinical material).

The first year of the development sequence focuses on pregnancy, infancy and the developmental stages of childhood as they relate to and are evidenced in clinical material in the adult and child analysand. The first year also includes a course on psychoanalytic ethics.

1A- Becoming an Analyst: Basic Concepts I – Learning to Listen

Candidates study the beginning analytic relationship. They discuss the initial consultation and understand it both as a diagnostic tool and as a way to introduce the patient to the analytic method. Candidates learn central analytic concepts and begin to learn to work with the transference and countertransference. The candidate is encouraged to listen to his or her own affective response to the analysand and to understand this as information about the analytic work.

1B – Mind in Conflict: Basic Concepts II – Listening for Defense

This course follows the development of Freud’s theory of the mind from the repression/abreaction model, to the topographical model, through to the structural model and the importance of defense and conflict. The course will focus on concepts such as the unconscious, consciousness, the ego, superego, intrapsychic conflict and the development of defenses. We will overlap with Toddler Development when we look at certain impulses and the defenses against them that center on the anal zone. We look ahead to what those impulses and defenses look like in the adult and discuss concepts such as character, character type, character organization, and symptom neurosis.

1C – Unconscious Fantasy and Dream Interpretation: Basic Concepts III – Listening for Unconscious Symbolism

Dream work, unconscious fantasy, screen memory, and basic tenets of dream theory are introduced as they were first elucidated by Freud and elaborated on by later theorists. Questions such as why we dream, how dreams are formed and how meanings can be found will be explored. The major emphasis is on the technique of dream interpretation and on the unique role of dreams as communications, indicators of psychic functioning, and illuminations of the structure of the mind. Extensive use is made of verbatim clinical material presented both by instructor and candidates. Readings will include observations on the impact of child development on the ability symbolize.

2A – Personality Development: Infancy

Candidates study parenthood, the mother/infant dyad, and the infant. Among the topics considered are pregnancy as a developmental phase and parental identifications; intergenerational trauma; infantile anxieties and mother’s role as container; and problematic mother-infant interactions. Candidates learn to recognize attachment patterns and the role of the object in the developing self. Reports of recent research on prenatal and postnatal development will be read, as well as reports from infant observations.

The candidates learn to listen for the infant in adult clinical material in order to discern the enduring shape of each person’s unique childhood experience as it affects psychic development. Particular attention is given to infantile anxieties that can persist into adulthood and influence psychic equilibrium.

2B – Personality Development: Toddlerhood

Candidates learn about the experience of the toddler from multiple theoretical perspectives and with attention to the complex developmental growth this phase ushers in and consolidates. Candidates study the anal phase of instinctual development and learn about the toddler’s struggle with aggression as it manifests in sadism and desire for omnipotent control, and as employed in successful mastery of tasks. Attachment theory and the growth of object relations are studied. Attention is given to toddlerhood as a time when separation/individuation is negotiated, and how the toddler develops defenses to help bolster ego strength and identification to help with loss. The importance of the toddler’s affective experience of shame is studied as it complicates and promotes development. Reports of observations of toddlers and clinical material from child and adult cases are provided along with relevant readings.

2C – Personality Development: The Oedipal Phase

In this developmental phase, the child is faced with the loss of the dyadic world and the negotiation of triangularity. His or her sexual longings and fantasies for the parent come centrally alive and the experience of jealousy and being an outsider is evoked. Candidates study how the child’s increased capacity for symbolic play helps in negotiating this developmental milestone, as does the capacity for identification. The impact of earlier, pre-oedipal experiences will be recognized as they affect the negotiation of this phase, which is central for both child and adult analysands.

9A – Ethical Dilemmas in Psychoanalytic Practice

This course examines a wide variety of clinical situations that raise ethical dilemmas such as boundary violations and boundary crossings, the difference between confidentiality and privacy, and a clinician’s duty to report (including child abuse). The course includes confidentiality specific to working with both children and parents, educators and schools, and physicians and other professionals involved with the child/family.

Second Year

In the second year of coursework, the listening and concept sequences focus on thinking diagnostically. In the development sequence, the study of the life cycle continues, focusing on late childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

3A – Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice – Diagnostic Thinking I Hysterical and Obsessional Neurosis

This course provides candidates with a beginning capacity to recognize and diagnostically formulate an understanding of clinical states, defensive systems, and neurotic pathologies as they appear in an analysand who has achieved a relatively sustained level of separateness, is able to tolerate and express a range of affect, and is able to reflect upon experience. Candidates will learn about hysterical and obsessional neurosis. The first-year course material on anxiety, defense and unconscious fantasy will be further elaborated on in this second-year course and will be applied to the study of neurotic symptoms and defense. Analytic techniques such as free association, resistance, transference and working through will be studied and listened for in clinical material provided by the instructors as well as by candidates.

3B – Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice – Diagnostic Thinking II Depression and Manic States

Candidates learn to recognize and assess the severity and causality of depressive states, establish its place on the neurotic/psychotic continuum, and assess the analysand’s capacity for bearing the affective pain necessary for the work of mourning. Manic states are studied as defenses against experiencing depressive pain. Particular attention is given to the analyst’s countertransference difficulties in bearing the despair, envy or hatred of the depressive and melancholic patient.

3C – Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice – Diagnostic Thinking III – Narcissism, Schizoid Phenomena, Psychotic Ideation and Primitive Anxieties

Candidates study and listen to clinical material from analysands with narcissistic or schizoid pathology. They study the defenses of splitting and dissociation and learn how these defenses disrupt the capacity to recognize and experience emotions and in turn disrupt the capacity for reflection and symbolization. Candidates learn how to work with an analysand who cannot symbolize, and who instead communicates somatically and through action. The candidates learn to work with projective identification and countertransference in order to understand and decode clinical material. The value or harm of enactments is discussed. Primitive anxieties, projective identification, and negative therapeutic reactions are some of the concepts studied.

4A – Personality Development: Latency

The study of the latency child offers valuable insights into the achievements or difficulties of earlier stages of development and an appreciation of the vast upheaval that characterizes the next stage: adolescence.

In the 6-10 year old child, ego development aids in the negotiation of external and internal demands. The role of repression and sublimation as well as other defense mechanisms are studied and illustrated by reading clinical material from child and adult analyses. The ideas of Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicott, and Berta Bornstein are all examined as they pertain to this developmental period.

4B- PersonalityDevelopment:Adolescence

The mind/body storms of adolescence involve the painful and ambivalent turning away from dependence on parental authority and reaching for an authentic sense of self. Candidates study this second phase of individuation and identity formation with attention to the importance of peer relationships in claiming these new identities, and the role of the adolescent’s changing relation to their sexuality and aggression. We discuss questions of gender identity and sexual orientation that reappear as new sexual object choices are made. and the adolescent’s struggle with depression and existential anxiety in the context of this developmental upheaval. Clinical material is studied as are relevant writings on adolescence.

4C – Personality Development: Stages of Adulthood

This course examines a wide range of the complex intrapsychic, biological and socio-cultural forces involved in the process of becoming and being an adult. In the clinical material of every adult we can hear echoes of previous developmental achievements and derailments. We will consider how implicit and explicit memories of these earlier experiences influence the adult’s current emotional state, belief systems, desires, conflicts, capacity for relatedness, sense of identity, and responses to life circumstances, all of which shape personality development throughout the life cycle. Special attention will be paid to how the process of grieving what has been lost with the passage of time and the limitations of reality can enhance the adult’s ability to adapt to change at all ages. The work of Chodorow, Colarusso, Diamond, Akhtar and others help provide an understanding of what we call “growing up.”

Third Year

In the third year candidates study the writings of Sigmund Freud.Through the sequence of early, case and late papers, candidates will read technique papers along with current commentary and will study in detail the evolution of Freud’s thinking about the mind. The technique sequence will focus on essential issues in psychoanalysis such as beginning an analysis, the nature of therapeutic action, transference/countertransference, and interpretation. Variations in technique for different diagnostic conditions will be studied. At the completion of the sequence candidates will have a strong grounding in significant psychoanalytic issues and essential papers from the literature.

5A – Freud’s Early Writings

Candidates read Freud’s early case histories and papers on technique in order to see how Freud developed his theoretical and clinical understanding. These cases are complemented with recent commentaries that expand, evaluate and deepen Freud’s discoveries. Studying these early works has the goal of broadening candidates’ awareness of the history of psychoanalytic thought and the ways in which more contemporary thinkers have built upon it. Clinical examples from the concurrent technique classes serve to illustrate the changes in how we listen.

5B – Freud’s Clinical Cases

The study of Freud’s work continues with a focus on theoretical and technique papers. These will be read with recent commentaries and expansions made by authors revisiting Freud’s theories. This course investigates the advances in psychoanalytic theory and technique that led from an early emphasis on drives to the considerations of ego psychology, structural theory of the mind, and the clinical consequences of this new way of understanding human motivation. The course elaborates on the ways socio-cultural forces influence the inner life of the individual and the shape and form of the new ideas of the mind.

5C – Freud’s Later Writings

A focus on Freud’s later writings and the advances in his thinking that were influenced by the structural theory. A deepened investigation of the tripartite model of the mind allows for the exploration of drive theory and how unconscious forces impact the state of the ego, creating the need for compromise. Freud’s thinking about the conflicting aims of the libidinal and death drives will be examined in his socio-cultural papers, where he considers the fate of instincts in the context of a larger, civilized society.

6A – Practice in Psychoanalytic Technique I: Beginning a Psychoanalysis

This seminar uses current clinical material in a supervised case of one or more of the candidates. The focus of this first of three case seminar in the third year is on evaluating, as best as is realistically possible, the suitability and analyzability of the patient as well as issues surrounding the induction of the patient into psychoanalysis. As the case presented will, in all likelihood, be in its first year, a variety of technical challenges to establishing a psychoanalytic frame can be discussed. Several classic papers will be assigned to augment topics discussed by faculty and candidates together.

6B – Practice in Psychoanalytic Technique II: The Treatment of the Borderline Patient

Many control analyses fall under the diagnostic rubric of Borderline Personality Disorder. In a small seminar format, a candidate or candidates will present their cl work to the seminar members. The seminar’s readings will elaborate the psychic structure, internal dynamics, and technical challenges and opportunities that this broad and heterogeneous group of patients present in analysis. Countertransference to the Borderline patient can be intense and confusing to candidates in training. This seminar provides a space to normalize and understand these countertransference evocations. Finding ways to help the candidate in the use of their countertransference in formulating interpretations is part of the seminar process.

6C – Practice in Psychoanalytic Technique III: The Treatment of Narcissistic Patients

A supervised analytic case of a candidate will be selected that features narcissistic issues in the transference-countertransference matrix. Major themes associated with the treatment of narcissistic states and/or narcissistic personality disorders will be illustrated and discussed, such as disorders of the self, defenses against dependency, and defenses against affects. Classic papers that highlight the inner structure and dynamics of these complicated and often treatment refractory patients will be explored in a seminar format alongside the case presentation.

Fourth Year

Course work focuses on post-Freudian theoretical developments, including the evolution of psychoanalytic thought and views of psychopathology-each development alters or privileges different models of the mind. Psychoanalytic controversies applicable to and arising from each new development are studied. The analytic listening sequence proceeds in continuous case seminars.

7A – Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice – Psychopathology I: Ego Psychology and Psychoanalytic Controversies

Candidates study the development of ego psychology, focusing on influential theorists in this field. Candidates deepen their understanding of Freud’s structural theory with attention to the ego psychologists’ elaborations of the functions of the ego and its capacities for defense, adaptation, and identity formation. The theories of Heinz Hartmann, Edith Jacobson and Hans Loewald are studied in depth. Recent psychoanalytic controversies surrounding findings from research in infant development, attachment theory and neuroscience as they pertain to psychoanalysis are studied.

7B – Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice – Psychopathology II: Introduction to Object Relations Theory and Psychoanalytic Controversies

Candidates investigate the importance of the early relation to the object for ego development and growth. Candidates read papers by Sandor Ferenczi, Ronald Fairbairn, D.W. Winnicott, Michael Balint and Heinz Kohut and learn how each theorist understands the nature of the object as it is internalized. Changes in technique resulting from this understanding are discussed. Candidates study controversies arising from the different views of the nature of the infant to his or her primary object. This understanding of the role of the environment in influencing psychic life affects analytic technique and raises controversies regarding the provisions from the analyst in the analytic work.

7C – Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice – Psychopathology III: Introduction to Kleinian and Post-Kleinian Theory and Psychoanalytic Controversies

Candidates study the theory and clinical technique of Melanie Klein and follow the development of her theory in its historical context with attention to the controversies her ideas elicited in the British psychoanalytic community. Klein believed her ideas developed Freud’s work, yet her work described a somewhat different theory of mind with an emphasis on early capacity for unconscious fantasy, a focus on the maternal, an awareness of object relating from birth and with attention to the death instinct, aggression, envy, and the archaic oedipal. The candidates study these differences and the controversies they engendered. Candidates study Klein’s views on the paranoid schizoid and depressive positions and read clinical papers by the contemporary Kleinians who further developed and shaped Klein’s theory and practice.

8A – Continuous Case Seminar I

In this seminar candidates have the opportunity to practice their skills at recognizing various psychopathological issues and to review theories of psycho-diagnosis. The ideas discussed in the concurrent course on ego psychology and related controversies are discussed in relation to the clinical material.

8B – Continuous Case Seminar II

In listening to an ongoing case, candidates have an opportunity to test their understanding of the various points of view studied in the concurrent course. They begin to see how different psychoanalytic theories of psychopathology influence how the analyst listens to, understands, and responds to the patient.

8C – Continuous Case Seminar III

In the ongoing case, candidates continue to observe how their listening changes as their understanding of various psychoanalytic points of view deepens. In their dialogue with each other about the clinical material and their application of psychoanalytic views of psychopathology, they can practice and develop their own approach to the patient.

10A – Child Continuous Case Seminar I 10B – Child Continuous Case Seminar II 10C – Child Continuous Case Seminar III

These seminars are for all candidates who take on a child control and/or want to graduate as a child analyst. Candidates who have completed the course of study with an integrated curriculum and graduated as adult psychoanalysts can, at a later date, take on a child analytic control case and enroll in the Child Continuous Case seminars at that time.

These child seminars will provide opportunity for further study of:

  • criteria for choosing analytic treatment for young patients
  • principles of technique evolved for establishing an analytic process with the three different age groups – preschool, latency and adolescence. This involves the setting up of the therapeutic alliance, the careful analysis of defenses, attention to the choice and timing of interpretation, and the understanding of transference issues in children.
  • concurrent work with parents, families, schools and other professionals with whom consultation may be advisable

Infant Observation

All candidates who wish to graduate as a Child Analyst will be required to complete a one year infant observation course which establishes the foundation for later theoretical understanding and clinical work. It is recommended for all candidates. The close observation of a parent-infant couple forms a strong basis for further psychoanalytic work. It provides a unique pathway for psychoanalytic work, applicable to the understanding of the power and intimacy of the analytic relationship as it unfolds in the transference and countertransference as well as helping attune us to the nuances and complexity of nonverbal communication.

For Track B Candidates

9B – Psychoanalytic Research Methodology

The first four weeks of this course introduce concepts such as hypothesis generation, hypothesis testing, naturalistic research design, randomized control study design, and the null hypothesis. Candidates discuss the underlying assumptions in research designs that are primarily qualitative, and those outcome studies with a critical eye towards whether or not the question asked was definitively answered. Candidates are required to write a paper in which a hypothesis is tested. The paper is the method section, in which subjects, assessments, interventions, and preliminary data of analytic procedures are described.

9C – Ethical Issues in Psychoanalysis II

This course reviews the rules and regulations and ethical issues discussed in Ethics I, and illuminates ethical dilemmas as they come up in the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. Questions arising out of the experiences of candidates in their own work will be encouraged. In addition, scope of practice laws, malpractice issues and other licensing regulations are covered. Candidates who have not already completed a two hour course in Reporting Child Abuse will be requested to do so online.

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