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Training information

It is possible to train as an adult or child psychoanalytic psychotherapist and this can enable one to practice both within the NHS and privately, depending on one’s previous qualifications and on the training chosen. Trainees are normally expected to have a first degree or equivalent qualification, and to have relevant experience, often obtained through a previous professional training such as: doctor, nurse, teacher, psychologist, play therapist etc. This is not mandatory, however, and any interested individual, with relevant experience should not feel reticent about enquiring.

Training as a psychoanalyst is either through the Institute of Psychoanalysis (www.psychoanalysis.org.uk) or, for Jungians through The Society of Analytical Psychology (www.thesap.org.uk). The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust trains both child and adult psychotherapists (www.tavistockandportman.nhs.uk) to work in NHS and private contexts and the British Association  of Psychotherapists, BAP (www.bap-psychotherapy.org.uk) also offers training for both child and adult psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

For adult training, in addition to London, there are regional centres in Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle, Oxford and Edinburgh. The Severnside Institute for Psychotherapy is based in Bristol with a long standing tradition of training adult psychoanalytic psychotherapists www.sipsychotherapy.org.uk. For further information on adult trainings, the registering body, the British Psychoanalytic Council (www.psychoanalytic-council.org.uk) may be helpful for finding the contact details of member training organisations. Similarly, the Association of Child Psychotherapists (www.childpsychotherspy.org.uk) would be a good starting point for finding child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy training organisations. There are regional child psychotherapy trainings in Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh.


The UK Council for Psychotherapy (www.ukcp.org.uk) is another registering body, covering member organisations in both adult and child psychotherapy fields; only some are psychoanalytic in approach. However, because there is no statutory, registration of either profession, the would-be practitioner is advised to look carefully into which registering body various trainings are affiliated to, and to find out whether or not such registering bodies are recognised in the context(s) in which one might wish to practice subsequently.

All trainings are trying to develop courses to suit people who may have to travel far, with the BAP for example, sometimes teaching in weekend blocks.  All Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy trainings require candidates to have personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy for the duration of their training, as specified and approved by the respective training committee.

Training normally lasts for a period of four years or more but some shorter trainings are emerging, which will equip successful candidates to work with patients once a week only. Funding can be obtained to train as a child psychoanalytic psychotherapist working within the NHS but there is no such similar provision for adult trainees and all trainings are costly, if one includes the personal therapy fees. Some places of work may subsidise a candidate’s training, if one is fortunate!


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