Students from all walks of life enroll in this Master’s of Psychoanalysis program in order to understand how people develop their emotional and mental lives, how people operate from motivations that are outside their own awareness, and why people interact and behave in characteristic ways.
Whether as a supplement or preparation for clinical work, doctoral study, or as a way to enrich their work with people in other fields (such as law, education, or organizations), students gain a deeper understanding of people in their full complexity through BGSP’s integrative approach to learning.
Through this program, students gain psychoanalytic insights into clinical and interpersonal situations and will be prepared for post-graduate psychoanalytic training at BGSP. The program neither offers a complete course of clinical training nor leads to licensed practice, but provides an introduction to psychoanalytic approaches to regressed patients and a solid basis for further clinical study.
In this program students :
- Gain a psychoanalytic perspective on human development and clinical work
- Learn about the development of the human psyche from infancy onward
- Study 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 understand diagnosis from psychoanalytic and psychiatric (DSM) perspectives
- Develop basic skills for establishing a therapeutic relationship with regressed or narcissistic clients
- Learn to understand a client’s contacts
- Understand different responses to stimulation
- Grasp symbolic communications
- Observe emotional responses induced in themselves and use self-knowledge in order to understand others
Course of Study
- 43 credits of required and elective academic coursework
- A minimum of 600 field placement hours and approval of the fieldwork case presentation and paper
- An approved Master’s paper or thesis
- A minimum of 70 hours of training analysis
Please refer to the program catalog for exact graduation requirements
The Master of Arts in Psychoanalysis program grounds students in academic psychoanalysis with application to the clinical setting, and prepares them for advanced clinical and research studies. (Additional training beyond the master’s level is required to become a psychoanalyst.) The curriculum provides a solid foundation in the knowledge of human mental and emotional functioning that constitutes the platform for psychoanalytic study. The program includes courses in theories of human development, psychoanalytic theory, research, and clinical studies. Students attend a field placement over the course of three or more semesters as part of their clinical studies, seeing four patients per week in a setting for psychotic or very regressed patients. Students culminate their studies with a Master’s paper or thesis. In addition, students are required to engage in a training analysis throughout the program.
During the program, students attend a three-semester field placement that offers direct contact with severely regressed patients in a residential or day treatment setting, giving students the opportunity to observe extremes of pathology at the earliest levels of fixation. First semester courses and the training analysis prepare the student to begin the field placement. The field placement provides the opportunity to learn how to develop the basic skills in establishing a therapeutic relationship with clients in regressed states. It 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 field placement consists of a minimum of 600 hours in placement-related activities, including individual contacts with regressed patients, team meetings, and administrative supervision at the facility. The Fieldwork Seminar and Fieldwork Group Supervision are taken concurrently with the field placement.
Students engage in a training analysis throughout their studies. The analysis is considered an important part of the educational process. It provides experiential learning and a fuller appreciation for one’s own emotional dynamics as they relate to the observation and understanding of others and of the course material. 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. At least twelve sessions of training analysis are required before beginning the field placement. Students planning to pursue further psychoanalytic training plan their frequency of analysis to help meet the analytic hour requirements for graduation from subsequent programs.
The Master’s research curriculum introduces students to research methods in the human sciences and facilitates the student’s completion of the Master’s Fieldwork Research Paper. In the paper, the student analyzes qualitative clinical data from the field placement. Working with both the research instructor and the fieldwork instructor, the student demonstrates his or her ability to apply psychoanalytic theory, to view the clinical process from a research perspective, and to provide an empirical basis for inferences. Interested students may choose to enroll in Directed Research and work with a thesis chair on a more elaborate research project as well.
Time to Program Completion
Full-time students may complete the 48-credit program in four semesters, if they proceed through the field placement and research paper very efficiently. Students admitted in the spring semester sometimes require additional time because of scheduling constraints. Many students find it beneficial to slow their pace of study to a part-time schedule, which allows them to more fully integrate the course material, clinical work, personal analysis, and in many cases, outside employment. On average, students typically take three years to complete the program. Program courses meet once per week, primarily in the evening or during the day on Friday. Students with high curiosity, openness to new experiences, and tolerance for ambiguity tend to proceed more successfully through the program. Some students take one or more additional semesters to complete the paper.
At a minimum, applicants to the Master’s in Psychoanalysis program are required to have earned a baccalaureate degree from an approved undergraduate institution. 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 for graduate level study, 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 Master’s in Psychoanalysis program at BGSP who wish to continue in the Certificate or one of the doctoral programs 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 and their previous work at BGSP, and successful completion of 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.