Curriculum

Each week, the Two-Year program consists of a theoretical and a clinical class, as well as a supervision group.  Each year consists of two semesters.  In the reading courses, candidates are encouraged to discuss their responses to both the content and the experience described in the week’s assigned articles, as well as to present clinical material that relates to the assignments.  This is in keeping with our philosophy of personal growth as an integral component of clinical competence.

Some semesters are 15 weeks long: in the additional week candidates from both years attend a mandatory workshop on a particular topic. Some recent topics were “A Basic Introduction to Trauma Work” and “Starting a Private Practice.”

CLINICAL COURSES:

The clinical sequence focuses on the understanding of therapeutic interaction, and on the development of effective clinical skills.  In all courses readings serve as the springboard to class discussions.  We encourage candidates to pay attention to their affective responses to the articles, and to develop their capacity for self-reflection in these courses.

THEORETICAL COURSES:

In the first year, each semester consists of two 7-week theory modules.  Each module highlights a particular theory and its accompanying clinical practices.  By the end of the first year, the candidates have a beginning grounding in the major theoretical schools. The second year’s courses are Development, and Unconscious process / dreams / and termination.

First year – first semester courses:

Clinical Processes I: This course serves as an introduction to working as a psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapist.  Readings and case examples are used to address questions such as: what are the therapist’s initial tasks; how does the therapist listen, provide an atmosphere of safety, engage the patient, and encourage curiosity; what are common problems that arise early in treatment; and how may they be used to advance the work?

Introduction to Classical Theory: This is a 7-week module, in which the candidates read and discuss articles by Freud and contemporary Freudian theorists.  Founder of our profession, Freud’s contributions are the basis from which all other analytic theories derive.

Introduction to Object Relations Theory: Also a 7-week module, this course teaches the important theories that began to shift analytic theory towards a two-person psychology. These theories expanded the understanding of psychological functioning. Readings include theorists such as Klein, Fairbairn, and Winnicott.

Supervision Group 1: The class is divided into two groups, each of which meets weekly with its group supervisor to discuss the candidate’s work with individual patients.  The group remains together for both semesters of the first year.

First year – second semester courses:

Clinical Processes 2: This semester’s material looks at the therapist’s experience with her / his patient (including “countertransference”) as a valuable source of information.  More complex clinical concepts current in professional thinking and theorizing are introduced and discussed.  Specific aspects of therapy situations are also discussed from the perspective of the therapist’s experience.

Introduction to Self-Psychology Theory: This course provides an introduction to one of the constituent components of “two-person psychology,” through reading Kohut and other innovators of clinical practice and theory.  The syllabus also covers contemporary Self-Psychological and Intersubjective perspectives.

Introduction to Interpersonal & Relational Theory: In this last theory module of the year, candidates learn about Interpersonal theory from articles by major contributors to this school of thought. Contemporary Relational theory developed from many sources, including post-modern and feminist critiques of older models of mind, Candidates read works that explore current themes in understanding therapeutic relationship.

Supervision Group 2: This is a continuation of the first semester’s group.

Second year – first semester:

Development: This course focuses on human development from a psychoanalytic perspective. Candidates read developmental theorists who have made contributions to the understanding of infancy, the early relationship between mother and child, and developmental issues from childhood through adulthood.  Writings of theorists of varying schools of thought, all of whose works shed light on different aspects of development, are in the syllabus.

Clinical Assessment 1:  This course helps candidates assess symptoms, presenting problems, and on-going patient material. Candidates get an overview of several theories of assessment.  Some topics include affect, trauma, mentalization, and borderline, narcissistic, and dissociative states.  The way various capacities are expressed in the therapeutic relationship will be considered.  Traditional concepts, such as diagnostic entities, character structure, and self- and object-constancy will be integrated with this clinical / relational model of assessment.

Supervision Group 3: In the second year, the candidates are shifted into different group configurations, so they get exposure to additional perspectives from other classmates.  The group supervisors are different from the first year supervisors, and the new groups stay together for both semesters.

Second year – second semester:

Unconscious processes, Dreams, and Termination: This class explores the work we do from a more philosophical perspective, and emphasizes cultivating an appreciation of unconscious processes.  The discussion of dreams includes personal contributions from some candidates.  Termination, a part of each treatment whether dealt with explicitly or not, is an appropriate ending to the semester and the two years of the program.

Clinical Assessment 2:  This is a continuation of the first semester.

Supervision Group 4: This is a continuation of the first semester.

 

The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.