Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program
(Formerly known as the Adult Psychotherapy Program and the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program)

The Institute’s Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program (CAPT) was established in 1962. Nearly 60 years later, we have integrated our child, adolescent and adult training in order to provide students with a range of options and an up-to-date curriculum. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the Institute will offer a certificate program in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy designed specifically to meet the needs of clinicians in the contemporary mental health environment. This Psychotherapy Program remains the only Psychodynamic Child Therapy training opportunity in the Chicago area.

The Institute's Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program offers two tracks—a concentration in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and a concentration in Adult Psychotherapy. We also offer students an opportunity to crossover and sample classes in the other track.

Psychoanalysis has taught us that though treatments such as CBT or medication can relieve immediate distress, and in some cases are quite useful, deeper exploration of an individual’s life history, character, belief systems, dreams and aspirations can be immensely rewarding and even life changing. Psychoanalytic perspective aims to answer deeper questions—why do people do what they do? What are the obstacles to change? How can we help them lead more meaningful lives? How can we help them improve their relationships?

Our Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program aims to fill the gap in mental health training and give therapists the tools they need to understand human development and complex psychological phenomenon and help their patients in a deeper and more satisfying way. Practitioners who go through our program join our psychoanalytic community, and they find their work as therapists much more rewarding both from an experiential and intellectual point of view.

Mission Statement for the program:

This program offers advanced training for mental health professionals who want to develop skills in use of psychoanalytic based theory and technique to deepen and enrich their clinical practice. Students choose to specialize in adult or child/adolescent psychotherapy and may acquire training in both fields. The program requires completion of coursework, conduct of psychotherapy cases under supervision and a capstone paper.

Learning Goals:
1) Students will acquire theoretical knowledge and clinical practice skills required for the practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy
2) Students will further their skills in the conduct of psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the initial evaluation to initiating the treatment process to moving to a middle phase of deepening the treatment and working through to the ending of a therapy
3) Students will be able to conceptualize the therapeutic process in a manner that integrates understanding of theory with clinical practice


During this year, students will participate in the first year with students from all Institute programs.

  • Students will be able to articulate and define the concepts basic to psychoanalytic thought

  • Students will be able to describe the arc of the evolution of psychoanalytic thought from Freud to present day

  • Students will be acquire a psychoanalytic perspective on development across the life cycle

  • Students will earn the basics of technical approaches unique to psychodynamic therapy and rationale for them

  • Students will be introduced to the psychoanalytic clinical process

Building on the first year’s coursework, students will expand on the knowledge base and deepen their understanding of  the theoretical concepts central to psychodynamic practice and their application to clinical work.

  • Students will learn the core themes of the classical/ego psychology, object relations, self-psychology and relational theories and how each theoretical school articulates its differences from theirs

  • Students will acquire an understanding of dynamic systems approaches to psychoanalytic thought

  • Students will consider the core concepts of psychanalysis-the unconscious, fantasy/dreams, transference/countertransference, the therapeutic relationship, life narrative and development and affect- in the context of varying theories

  • Students will refine their skills in understanding the unfolding of the therapeutic process for evaluation to ending

  • Child/adolescent students will develop skills in working with parents

This final year provides an opportunity for students to use their increased theoretical understanding and better refined clinical skills to be able to conceptualize the arc of an unfolding therapeutic process, reflect on their interventions and promote the patient’s growth and development in ways that demonstrate its relation to their knowledge.

  • Students will demonstrate their capacity to integrate theory with clinical practice skills


The Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute’s Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program is open to all licensed mental health professionals. Students come from psychiatry, psychology, social work, counseling, psychiatric nursing and educational therapy. Clinicians who do not have a license or are pre-licensure are also welcome to apply. Individuals without a license who wish to take the course should consult with a member of the administration committee regarding suitability. It is strongly recommended that students a have at least one patient in ongoing therapy in order to get the most of the program. Students should have malpractice insurance.

The Curriculum provides psychodynamic framework to understand the inner world of adults, children and adolescents. Coursework covers theory, technique, development and psychopathology. Child therapy courses also help therapists understand their child patients in the context of their families and communities. Students become part of the lifelong learning community.

Classes are small, enabling students to develop a relationship with each instructor and each other. Clinical case seminars provide a powerful opportunity to learn from each other as well as experience clinicians, sharing diverse theoretical perspectives. Students in clinical case seminars are exposed to many theoretical frameworks.

In addition to didactic curriculum, students are provided with one-on-one weekly supervision of their clinical work. Clinical supervision promotes students’ advanced learning, enhancing clinical understanding as well as the opportunity to integrate classroom material with the aim of the development of each student’s unique clinical self.

They also do supervised diagnostic evaluations to gain psychodynamic perspective on a variety of cases. Diagnostic evaluation and ongoing clinical case supervision are vital parts of our curriculum.

Course and Schedule
Classes meet on Fridays in the Chicago Loop. While students in the greater Chicago area are expected to attend classes in person to maximize the education benefit, the Institute also has robust distance learning capacity and experience for intentional and out-of-town students.

All first-year students will be part of the Fundamentals program, which offers four classes per quarter.
Part-time options are available for students who wish to take two classes at a time instead of four.

Coursework will be presented in 3 sequences:
1) Theories and Concepts
2) Clinical Process and Technique
3) Case Conferences

Each course meets for the full 12-week quarter
There is one course for each sequence
Case conference is divided into Adult and Child/Adolescent

Fundamentals curriculum

Fall Quarter
T&C: Unconscious, dreams, fantasies; transference/countertransference, relationship
CP&T: Beginning the treatment: evaluation, formulations, treatment plan, getting underway
Case Conference:

Winter Quarter
T&C: Defense, resistance
CP&T: The middle phase and working through
Case Conference:

Spring Quarter:

T&C: Affect and affect regulation: Temperament, Assertion, aggression, mastery
CP&T: Endings, planned and unplanned
Case Conference:

Fall Quarter
T&C: The move from linear to dynamic systems
CP&T: Trauma
Case Conference:

Winter Quarter
T&C: Introduction to neuropsychoanalysis
CP&T: using the Solms/Panksepp schema
Case Conference:

Spring Quarter
T&C: Elective
CP&T: Elective
Case Conference:


Privileges and Benefits
Students will have access to the Institute’s McLean Library, containing one of the largest collections of psychoanalytic literature in the world. 
They are also invited to participate in the lively Institute seminars, held every Wednesday from 1:30-2:45, where local and visiting mental health professionals present works in progress. Students are encouraged to participate in the Institute’s many continuing education activities, and to attend the monthly scientific meeting of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Society. In addition, all students and graduates are eligible for membership in the Psychotherapy Associates of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Students may also be eligible for reduced fee psychotherapy or psychoanalysis through the Adult Clinic of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute.

To apply online, click here. Along with the application, you will be asked to submit the following items:

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume

  • $100 Non-refundable Application Fee (Please note - if you decide, after applying and paying the fee, that you would like to cancel your application, we cannot refund the fee)

  • Copy of must recent academic transcripts

  • Copy of license and certificate of malpractice insurance

  • (2) Letters of Reference from professional contacts (Reference guidelines can be found here)

  • Personal Statement (No more than 600 words)

You will be able to start, save and return to the application to complete it, before submitting. For consideration to begin in Fall, please submit your materials by June 1. Each applicant will also have a personal interview.


Please address questions or concerns about the program to our Director of Education


Tuition, Fees and Scholarships
Please visit our Tuition and Fees page for cost information and Scholarships page to learn more and apply.


(formerly known as the Adult Psychotherapy and Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Programs)