CAGS in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

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With the CAGS in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (CAGS/PP), clinicians bring greater depth and awareness of unconscious dynamics to their work with clients.  Designed for psychotherapists who already have a master’s degree or higher, the CAGS/PP intensifies the student’s psychodynamic understanding of how people develop their emotional and mental lives, how people operate from motivations that are outside their own awareness, and how to work with a full range of pathologies.

Through BGSP’s integrative approach to learning, students gain a deeper understanding of people in their full complexity and a specialized understanding of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, with an emphasis on severe mental disorders such as borderline and schizophrenic pathologies.

Graduates of the CAGS/PP are eligible to sit for the Candidacy Entrance Exam and gain advanced standing in the clinical Doctor of Psychoanalysis (PsyaD) program.

Program Objectives

In this program, students:

  • Gain a psychoanalytic perspective on human development and clinical work which includes understanding client’s contact; differing responses to stimulation; symbolic communications; and develop the ability to observe emotional induction in themselves and use it therapeutically
  • Become familiar with unconscious processes such as repetition, defenses, transference, resistance, and symbolism
  • Develop a psychoanalytic framework for understanding psychopathology across a wide range of diagnoses
  • Learn to compare diagnoses across psychoanalytic and psychiatric (DSM) perspectives
  • Hone their skills for developing therapeutic relationships with regressed or narcissistic clients

Learning occurs in the classroom, during the fieldwork externship (which may be the student’s current employment), and in the training analysis.

Course of Study

Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of the 26.5 credit curriculum
  • 400 hour Field Placement Externship with accompanying supervision groups
  • Presentation of fieldwork cases indicating sufficient understanding of case dynamics
  • A minimum of 70 hours of training analysis
  • Students planning to apply to the doctoral program also complete the Fieldwork Research Paper

Program Catalog

Please refer to the program catalog for exact graduation requirements


During the program, CAGS students participate in a 400-hour field placement that offers direct contact with severely regressed patients, giving students the opportunity to observe extremes of pathology at the earliest levels of fixation. Depending on a student’s professional experience, s/he may request approval of his or her existing practice or employment as a field placement, or the student may request a residential or day treatment placement through the School. In either case, students participate in an ongoing case seminar, as well as individual and group clinical supervision. The field placement provides the opportunity to hone one’s skills in developing therapeutic relationships with clients in regressed states.  It fosters the ability to read the client’s contacts, responses to stimulation, and symbolic communications while observing the emotional responses induced in oneself. These skills are important for working with people at all levels of functioning. Students graduate from the Fieldwork Externship after a successful fieldwork clinical presentation.

Training Analysis

Each student engages in a training analysis, working individually with an analyst throughout the program.  The training analysis is an important part of the educational process.  It deepens the student’s understanding of course material through personal experience and helps the student tolerate the feelings aroused by psychoanalytic study.  It offers a fuller appreciation of one’s own emotional dynamics, increases the student’s access to all emotional states, and increases self-understanding, which is particularly critical for understanding others.

Students choose an approved training analyst and work out the frequency of sessions with the analyst. Seventy hours of training analysis are required for graduation at a recommended minimal frequency of once a week.

Time to Program Completion

The 26.5-credit program takes three semesters (full-time) to complete, or longer if studying part-time.

Admission Criteria

The program is open to all candidates who have earned a clinical master’s degree. Beyond this credential, however, applicants demonstrate through their personal statement and interviews (when invited) their motivation to learn, capacity to understand oneself and others, academic and applied interests, and readiness to engage in studies of unconscious processes.

In order for BGSP to determine academic readiness, applicants submit transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. For those applicants who meet the academic criteria, there will be three admissions interviews scheduled with the faculty.  In addition, applicants who are interviewing are asked to write a spontaneous response to a psychoanalytic text.

International applicants are also evaluated for English proficiency based on their TOEFL or IELTS scores (required) and their performance during the admissions interview and on their writing samples.  Some international students require additional training in writing in a second language.  Newly accepted students are sometimes advised that this training and support will be required in order to succeed in the program, and may choose to register for additional writing support throughout the course of their studies at BGSP.

Graduates of the CAGS in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy program who wish to continue in the doctoral program are required to apply to that program separately. At that time, their readiness to progress is assessed on the basis of interviews and their previous work at BGSP as well as performance on the Candidacy Entrance Exam.

BGSP does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic status in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other School-administered programs.