Psychoanalytical Training Overview

The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis offers a psychoanalytic training in London.  Our training reflects the philosophy of the organisation and is for a minimum of four years. It offers critical readings of psychoanalysis and its links to European philosophy and feminist theory. It aims at engaging with the historical, political, theoretical and clinical developments of psychoanalysis and seeks to acknowledge the socio-cultural specificity of the individual’s experience. Our aim is to encourage trainees to reflect critically on psychoanalytic theorising and practice so that they may develop their own individual style as psychoanalysts. The following should be read alongside our Constitution, Training Standards document, and Trainee Handbook. To obtain hard copies of these or to request a brochure, please contact our office.

Duration of Training

The training consists of the following elements:

  • personal therapy
  • theoretical and clinical seminars
  • supervised work with patients
  • written essays
  • the ‘pass’

The training may not be completed in less than four years. Nevertheless, in order to achieve their personal best and fulfil the course requirements, some trainees may need to remain in training for longer than four years.

Personal Analysis

All trainees are required to be in individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy/psychoanalysis for at least one year prior to training and to remain in it at least until graduation. The therapist/analyst must be experienced and approved by the training committee.

The Site does not hold the view that the “depth” or “intensity” of a given analysis is determined by its frequency. However, we accept the current convention within the PPS of UKCP that an analysis of less than twice weekly is not acceptable for training purposes.

The Site respects and values the confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship and would not wish to intrude on it by asking analysts for reports.

The Site does not hold a list of ‘approved training therapists’ and each would be considered on merit. If a trainee is in ongoing analysis with an experienced psychoanalytic therapist he/she may normally stay with them. In case of a new analysis, the analyst / therapists will have to have been qualified for at least five years.

In the unusual event that the Training Committee might ask a trainee to change analyst, a clear reason will be given. The committee may have to write to an analyst / therapist unknown to it, to find out about their training and experience.

The Training Group

The Site has two open training groups in London, which all students join.  In contrast to many other trainings, we do not operate year groups. The group has a maximum of 20 students.

The Site subscribes to Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing (PEPweb), which includes the classic thinkers of psychoanalysis – Freud, Klein, Winnicott etc. This enables students to access much but not all reading material for the programme online for free. 


The seminars are designed to introduce trainees to psychoanalytic and other relevant texts. The aim is to enable trainees to situate themselves in the psychoanalytic field and its practice in a thoughtful way. Our aim is to enhance the vitality of the training experience. To this end, the syllabus is not static and is redesigned each year according to the particular needs of training groups as well as the latest research interests of the teaching faculty. Reading lists for each seminar will be provided together with the training programme. The seminars take place on Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings, and consist of two parts:

  • a theoretical seminar on readings from psychoanalysis and other relevant disciplines such as continental philosophy and feminist theory;
  • a clinical discussion in which a student presents clinical material or issue to be discussed by the group and the teacher. In most cases the teacher for the theoretical seminar also leads the clinical discussion. Students may be asked to write/present texts in the course of a particular seminar.

In addition to the weekly seminars, once a year there is a non-residential training weekend and trainees prepare for this by working together in small groups on presentations for the weekend. In addition to the set seminars we expect our trainees to attend the talks, workshops, conferences and other events organised by the Site.

Supervised Clinical Work

Each trainee is expected to build up a varied practice and to gain as much relevant experience as possible. Out of this practice, two patients will have to be long-term patients (not less than 18 months) under weekly supervision.

During the course each trainee will have to see two supervisors approved by the training committee. One of the two must be a member of the Site. Students will remain in some form of supervision for the duration of the training and must stay with each of their training supervisors for at least 18 months.

As in the case of personal therapy, the frequency of sessions with patients taken to supervision will be decided by the trainee, patient and supervisor according to the needs of the patient and the approach practised. However, it is accepted that for the purpose of training, the two long-term patients will have to be seen at least twice weekly. Other patients will be taken into account as the varied practice.

First year paper (3,000 words)

At the end of the first year, each trainee lodges with their tutor a theoretical paper based on some aspect of their first year’s teaching.  This paper will not be formally assessed, but will be discussed in the tutorial setting. The aim of the paper is to give both trainee and tutor a sense of how the trainee has settled into the training ethos and to identify any areas where further support would be helpful.

Theoretical Paper (3-7,000 words)

At the end of the second year, each trainee submits a paper on an aspect of psychoanalytic theory. The paper is read and assessed by two members of the training committee. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate the trainee’s capacity for understanding and for critical and creative thinking in the psychoanalytic field. The readers will pass written comments to the tutor who will discuss these with the trainee. The trainee may be asked to rewrite the paper until it is deemed satisfactory.

Clinical Paper (3-5,000 Words)

At the end of their third year each student will submit a clinical paper. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate the trainee’s capacity to write about their psychoanalytic work with patients in the context of the theoretical and clinical seminars and of their supervision. The paper will be assessed in the same way as the theoretical paper. Only when the paper has reached the required level and providing all other requirements have been fulfilled, will the trainee be able to approach the committee with a view to graduate.


Each trainee is assigned a tutor who guides them through the training. The tutor meets the student once a term. Its function is to liaise between the trainee and the training committee. The tutor is responsible for obtaining regular reports from supervisors and for informing trainees of their progress as reported by teachers. Extra tutorials can be arranged if necessary.


The training committee assesses trainees each term and whenever the need arises. When all training requirements have been fulfilled to the training committee’s satisfaction, a trainee may approach their tutor to decide whether they are ready for the ‘pass’. This involves presenting a case to the members of the Site, the trainees and any guest he or she may wish to invite. A successful ‘pass’ marks a trainee completion of his or her training and his or her passage into membership of the Site. Trainees may read their final paper or speak to the assembled company about their work in any way they wish. On the night, they are assessed on their ability to hold their own in a discussion. If the assembled company feels that they did not ‘pass’, trainees may be asked to re-present their case.

Membership and UKCP Registration

Successful completion of the training leads to full membership of the Site and eligibility for registration with the UKCP and the College of Psychoanalysts. New members will have the opportunity to participate in the management and general running of the organisation and its committees. They will also have an opportunity to contribute to other activities such as study groups, lectures and conferences.


Applicants are expected to have been in personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy for at least one year prior to their application (see requirements for Personal Therapy). The Site is eager to avoid the disruption of anyone’s personal therapy. However, please note that an applicant’s psychotherapist will have to be approved by The Site’s training committee. Prospective applicants are strongly advised to consult The Site prior to starting with a new psychotherapist.

1. Applicants are expected to have had work experience in related fields

2. The training is at graduate level. Whilst formal academic qualifications are not necessary, applicants must be able to demonstrate a capacity for studying at the required academic level and that they have had some formal learning experience.

3. On receipt of the completed application form and payment of application fee, two (occasionally three) interviews are arranged with members of the training committee. Following this, references are taken up and the training committee formulates a final decision on the applicant’ s suitability. Successful applicants usually join the training group during the Autumn term.


The fee is currently £1,375 pa which will increase to £1,500 pa from January 2024.