Certificate in Psychoanalysis (Cert. Psya.)

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BGSP’s original training program, the post-graduate Certificate in Psychoanalysis provides full academic and clinical training to practice psychoanalysis. Until recently, with the inception of the doctorate in psychoanalysis, the Certificate was the highest credential in the field of psychoanalysis, leading to the term, “certified psychoanalyst.” In fact, the academic and clinical studies in the Certificate and clinical Psya.D. programs are very similar. However, the doctoral program provides more research training and emphasizes generating research as well as clinically training to become a psychoanalyst.

Candidates who have already earned a master’s degree in a mental health field may follow the four-year sample program of studies in the program bulletin.  Those candidates whose master’s degree is in a different field tailor the program to cover any missing material, adding up to one year to the program.  Those without a master’s degree, or who wish to obtain a license in Mental Health Counseling, should first pursue BGSP’s M.A. in Psychoanalysis or M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

The Certificate program takes candidates through the process of understanding how people develop their emotional and mental lives, into the realm of entering and intervening in the intrapsychic life of clients.  The Certificate candidate explores the full range of character structures and psychopathology, integrating academic study with clinical work to understand patients’ repetitions, defenses, resistances, and symbolic communications.  In clinical supervision, candidates learn to use their own countertransference responses to understand the transference and to work constructively as psychoanalysts. Psychoanalytic research studies foster the candidate’s discipline to examine clinical data systematically, strengthening the process of making valid inferences from observations.

Most students in the program are working while pursuing analytic training. Classes are scheduled during the evening or on Fridays to accommodate working students.

Program Objectives

Upon completion of the Certificate Program, students are expected to achieve a number of learning outcomes:

  • Students demonstrate understanding and mastery of psychoanalytic theory and ability to apply this understanding to clinical cases
  • Students demonstrate understanding of their patients, including transference and countertransference dynamics, past and current resistances as they relate to character, and diagnosis and critical interventions for treatment
  • Students demonstrate their ability to employ psychoanalytic technique appropriately in their clinical work
  • Students demonstrate self-understanding and the ability to utilize their emotional responses to understand and work with their patients
  • Students demonstrate the ability to integrate theory, research, and clinical observation in executing and presenting a satisfactory clinical presentation

Course of Study

Degree Requirements

  • Satisfactory completion of coursework
  • Satisfactory completion of the fieldwork externship, case presentation, and written case study
  • Successful completion of the Candidacy Entrance Exam
  • 450 hours of training analysis, of which 150 may be group analysis
  • 200 hours of supervision with at least three supervisors (at least 50 hours are completed with each of two different supervisors)
  • Analysis of three psychoanalytic cases over time
  • Satisfactory presentation of cases for Clinical Case Review after 25 hours of control supervision, demonstrating understanding of cases and current resistances including countertransference resistance
  • Final case presentation to the faculty demonstrating understanding of the case as well as use of self as a therapeutic personality
  • Completion of the single case study research project: a well-executed research project demonstrating mastery of psychoanalytic concepts, a body of literature, research methodology and valid inference making

Program Catalog

Please refer to the program catalog for exact graduation requirements


The Certificate program is designed for the student who is interested in full clinical training as a psychoanalyst, who does not want to pursue the Doctorate. Training at the Certificate level is very similar to the Doctoral program, with extensive clinical and research studies, but all Certificate students complete the single case study final project in lieu of a dissertation. Students follow a similar path through coursework, fieldwork, Therapy Center internship, and training analysis, as outlined in the information about the Doctor of Psychoanalysis program. Certificate students are expected to achieve the same learning outcomes as doctoral students, with the exception of the dissertation. Certificate students are expected to demonstrate the ability to integrate theory, empirical research, and clinical observation in executing and presenting a satisfactory single case study research project.



Prior to beginning psychoanalytic practice under supervision, certificate candidates participate in a two-semester fieldwork program, which provides direct contact with regressed patients in mental hospitals or comparable settings, giving students the opportunity (a) to observe extremes of pathology at the earliest levels of fixation or regression and (b) develop basic skills for establishing a therapeutic relationship with regressed or narcissistic clients.  The fieldwork experience fosters an ability to read the client’s contacts, responses to stimulation, and symbolic communications while observing the emotional responses induced in oneself. These skills are basic to working with people at all levels of functioning.  The fieldwork experience culminates in a clinical oral and written presentation of cases.

Therapy Center Internship

After completing the fieldwork program, students apply to begin their Therapy Center Internship. During the internship, students work with three or more analytic cases (at least weekly) under supervision for the duration of their studies (minimally three years). Candidates enroll in the clinical seminar appropriate to their level of training, beginning with Case Management and progressing through advanced psychoanalytic seminars, in which they remain until graduation. Initially, students engage in group supervision; they then choose individual control supervisors, one of whom covers only the primary control case.  (A “control case” is the term used for a case studied under close supervision.)

Candidates present their work with cases to the clinical faculty at two points during training: once after 25 hours of control supervision, for the Clinical Case Review, and again at the end of their studies, for the Final Clinical Presentation.  The Clinical Case Review is a time for the candidate to gain formal feedback on clinical work, including case formulations, patient dynamics, and countertransference resistances, in order to work more productively towards the Final Clinical Presentation.  This phase of the program takes from three to six years depending on the pace at which the student develops a caseload and progresses in meeting clinical and academic requirements.

Candidacy Entrance Exam

After completing the first year of full-time coursework (or its equivalent) and the fieldwork program, candidates sit for the Candidacy Entrance Exam.  In conjunction with assessment from first-year coursework and the fieldwork presentations, the Candidacy Entrance Exam is used to assess readiness for further psychoanalytic study.

Training Analysis

All certificate candidates are required to undergo a personal training analysis concurrent with their studies. The training analysis is an indispensable part of the training. It prepares candidates to develop their emotional repertoires in an effort to resonate with patients with a broad spectrum of emotional pathologies. It also increases the understanding of candidates’ own conflicts and defenses and thus enables them to work more effectively with their cases. Candidates choose an approved training analyst. Four hundred and fifty hours of training analysis are required for graduation. One hundred and fifty hours of group analysis may be applied to the four hundred and fifty required hours. Candidates are expected to be in analysis at a minimal frequency of once a week until graduation. Meeting at the minimum frequency is not sufficient to meet the 450 hour requirement for full-time students. Candidates may enter the program with approved prior training analysis hours, may meet more frequently, and/or, more typically, may proceed on a part-time basis while accruing hours of training analysis. At least 70 hours of training analysis are required before beginning the Therapy Center internship.


Psychoanalysts study the unconscious level of mental functioning through making valid inferences from the stream of verbal and behavioral responses comprising human behavior, whether individually or in groups. Psychoanalytic research projects address a question about underlying motivation and conflict, about what leads to change in psychic functioning, about resistances to change, and a variety of other questions of interest both clinically and theoretically. In working with a patient, the analyst has the opportunity to make multiple observations over time under similar conditions while intruding minimally into the patient’s presentation of their experience and conflicts. Each case may be an in depth study, in itself contributing to the knowledge base on a particular pathology or character structure. For this reason, the Certificate research curriculum and final project focus on the single case study of the control case, in which a research question is posed which targets the central dynamics of the case. Inferences are backed up by evidence drawn from systematic observations of the analytic process, with particular attention to the transference-countertransference data.

Time to Program Completion

Because of the emotional growth inherent in learning to analyze patients, becoming a psychoanalyst takes more than a checklist of requirements, and every candidate’s progression is unique. On a full-time basis, students take at least four years to graduate, but developing a robust caseload of psychoanalytic training cases can take more time. Almost all candidates reduce their studies to part-time status for one period of time or another. Some students do attend full-time and complete the program in four years, and many more students study part-time and complete the program in closer to 8 years.

Admission Criteria

Criteria for Admission Application to the Certificate program is open to applicants who have earned a master’s degree. In order to complete the program in four years full-time, the applicant’s previous graduate work includes coursework in somatic factors, socio-cultural influences and diversity, research methods in human sciences, psychopathology, and clinical work. Other post-master’s applicants may be admitted with up to one year additional course or clinical requirements. Applicants with a master’s degree or CAGS in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from BGSP may waive certain coursework and field work in consultation with the admissions team and advisor.

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 Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at BGSP who wish to continue in the certificate program are required to apply to that program separately. At that time, their readiness to progress into an advanced clinical or academic program is assessed on the basis of interviews, their previous work at BGSP and 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.