Washington Square Institute
Training Institute

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training
Course Descriptions

Basic Level Courses


Principles of Psychoanalytic Treatment – Fall and Spring semester–15 weeks – 22.5 hours

This course addresses the difficult beginning phase of establishing a working alliance, and emphasizes early assessment of strengths and weaknesses, manifestations of resistance and transference. Clinical material serves to illustrate the engagement of the patient in the treatment process.


Psychoanalytic Theory I & II

These two 15- week courses provide a more thorough coverage of basic psychoanalytic theory than is usually taught in academic work. Reading and discussions of the literature emphasize primary and secondary processes, topography and structure, drive, conflict theory and defense. The classic theory of neurosis and symptom formation is presented in the Fall semester; contemporary psychoanalytic theories in the Spring semester.


Psychoanalytic Theory I: Basic Writings of Freud – Fall Semester – 15 weeks– 22.5 hours


Psychoanalytic Theory II: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Theory – Spring Semester – 15 weeks – 22.5 hours


Psychopathology I – Spring semester – 15 weeks – 22.5 hours

Assessment of pathology, problems of diagnosis and descriptive nosology is discussed with attention to differential diagnosis, and diagnosis as an instrument in treatment. Diagnosis from a psychoanalytic point of view including recent developments in psychoanalysis is presented. Topics illustrated by case material.


Psychopathology II: Severe Mental Illness – Summer semester – 6 weeks – 12 hours

Work with patients who exhibit psychotic or psychotic-like traits requires the therapist’s understanding of mental illness, being able to listen and to continue to do analytic work. This course explores several approaches to understanding, covering issues of conflict and failures of development, using the perspective of drive, ego functioning, self experience, and object relations.

Matriculate Level Courses


Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Development: From Infancy to Adulthood – 45 hours, Fall semester – 15 weeks

This course uses the writings of Sigmund Freud, Abraham and Anna Freud as a base for the exploration of more recent contributions to developmental theory (Spitz, Mahler, Blos, etc.). Normal development is considered, as well as typical pathological outcomes. Case presentations emphasize clinical application of the theoretical concepts discussed in assigned readings.


Psychoanalytic Assessment and Treatment – Spring semester – 15weeks – 45 hours,

This course focuses on the importance of diagnosis and ongoing assessment in the initial phase of treatment and throughout the expected course of therapy. Class discussions explore the working alliance, transference, changes in the sources and intensity of anxiety, level of object relatedness, and defensive as well as adaptive responses to treatment. The impact of developmental arrest on the treatment process will be considered. Case presentations emphasize psychoanalytic diagnosis and assessment as the foundation for treatment planning and interventions.


Object Relations Theories – Fall semester – 22.5 hours – 15 weeks

All psychoanalytic models, whether classified as drive models (Freud, Klein, Hartmann, Mahler, Jacobson and Kernberg), relational models (Fairbairn, Winnicott, Guntrip and Sullivan), or mixed models (Kohut), have some strategy for dealing with the psychic consequences of the internalization of relations with external objects. This course focuses on identifying these strategies, with attention to their theoretical and technical consequences.


Transference-Countertransference – Spring semester – 15 weeks 22.5 hours

This course presents a comprehensive exploration of the roles that transference and countertransference play in the psychotherapeutic relationship. This course approaches issues using traditional psychoanalysis as a paradigm from which more contemporary and seemingly less intensive treatment processes have evolved. While the metapsychological underpinnings are observed, stress is on clinical material.


Legal & Ethical Issues in Psychoanalytic Practice – Summer semester – 8 weeks – 12 hours

This course provides advanced candidates with an opportunity to review ethical, legal and practical issues associated with the practice of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Guest lecturers in the field of law, psychiatry and psychoanalysis are invited to present.


Psychoanalytic Research – Spring semester – 15 weeks – 22.5 hours

As a newly licensed profession in New York State, it behooves psychoanalysis to test clinical experience against theoretical concepts that may be outmoded. The course will discuss underlying assumptions of research designs, review past research and discuss the pros and cons when generalized research is compared to the following of a clinical case.


Dream Interpretation – Spring semester – 15 weeks – 22.5 hours

The role of dreams in psychoanalytic treatment is considered. Various topics, such as manifest and latent content, the dream work, anxiety and punishment dreams are addressed. Further focus concentrates on dream symbolism and dreams as resistance. Studies of dreams are explored.


Continuous Case Seminar I – Fall semester– 15 weeks – 22.5 hours

This course must be taken before courses 300-301, 302-303. Students select appropriate cases to be followed over a period of time. Focus is on process and on exploring resistances, transferences and interventions. Special emphasis is placed on patient responses to countertransference. Class is kept small; special readings may be assigned.


Continuous Case Seminar II – Spring semester– 15 weeks – 22.5 hours

This course must be taken before courses 300-301, 302-303. Students select appropriate cases to be followed over a period of time. Focus is on process and on exploring resistances, transferences and interventions. Special emphasis is placed on patient responses to countertransference. Class is kept small; special readings may be assigned.


Theory and Technique of Psychoanalytic Treatment: I – Fall semester – 15 weeks – 45 hours

Integration of theory and technique and attempts to develop a consistent theory of technique applicable to a variety of clinical syndromes. Normalcy, neurosis, character disorders, affect disorders, perversions and borderline states are compared with an eye to differential diagnosis and formulation of treatment interventions. Case presentations emphasize technique. Course #305-6 is prerequisite for enrollment.


Theory and Technique of Psychoanalytic Treatment: II – Spring semester – 15 weeks – 45 hours

A continuation of the previous course. Particular emphasis on the character disorders, affective states and perversions. Extensive case material is utilized.

Additional Course Requirements of the Psychoanalytic Training Program:


Clinical Conference – Fall and Spring semesters – 12 hours

In each of the meetings invited experienced clinicians present ongoing work and where evolving psychoanalytic theoretical conceptualizations and treatment technique are discussed. The aim is to involve candidates in a professional community and to introduce/explore a variety of psychoanalytic concepts of theory and treatment. Requirement for all students, both matriculated and non-matriculated, for duration of training.


Child Abuse & Maltreatment: Recognition and Reporting – 2 hours

This seminar for matriculated students may be taken in any year of their training, either at the institute or another certified program. It is required for certification


Case Presentation

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