Program in Psychoanalysis

The Program in Psychoanalysis is the Institute’s full program. It is designed for individuals who hold an eligible license and a master’s or higher degree and want to become certified psychoanalysts. It begins with child & adolescent work before proceeding to some adult work and usually requires a minimum of five years part-time.

Candidates start by learning the essential elements of play therapy and working with parents or primary caregivers, while expanding and deepening their knowledge of psychoanalytic theory and technique. In child work, clinical sessions are used to treat children and adolescents, while collateral sessions are held with parents or primary caregivers.

Candidates may spend their first few years working clinically in one of the Institute’s child-treatment centers with children, adolescents and their parents or primary caregivers. For the final two or three years of the program, candidates may have the option of moving to another of the Institute’s clinical settings where their work may focus more on parents as adult clients or on other individual adult clients.

Candidates (other than LMSWs) may also meet the Institute’s clinical-experience requirements by conducting individual therapy with private child, adolescent and adult patients in their own offices if they are working in economically disadvantaged communities or with economically disadvantaged patients, under the supervision of an analyst approved by the Institute. The Institute requires candidates to maintain an HFI-supervised psychoanalytic caseload of at least five cases at any time.

Full details of the programs are contained in the Institute’s catalogue. Click here to download a PDF of our Catalogue.

Application Requirements


Applicants should hold an eligible license and at least a master’s degree in a program recognized by New York State. Eligible license-holders are licensed clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, registered professional nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and physician’s assistants. LMSWs may also apply.

In interviewing applicants, Harlem Family looks for broad humanistic interests, seriousness of intent, potential for good clinical skills, intellectual development, and a high capacity for empathy. Copies of their licenses, transcripts of at least one graduate degree in a program recognized by New York State and at least two letters of recommendation are required.

Program Requirements


The program aims to provide a solid base for independent practice. Candidates are required to:

  • Complete the Institute’s coursework involving a minimum of 450 hours of instruction across a wide range of psychoanalytic areas.
  • Maintain at least five cases a week throughout the program once the candidate is approved for Institute clinical work. In school settings, case work is required only during the school year. Candidates must accumulate at least 750 such client-contact hours as part of 1,500 hours’ experience in the practice of psychoanalysis. In child and adolescent work, candidates must also provide regular collateral sessions to parents or primary caregivers.
  • Later in the program, two of the clients must be seen two to four times a week. The increased frequency of sessions deepens the intensity of connectedness found in psychoanalytic work, providing strong foundation for private practice in child & adolescent psychoanalysis. Of the 750 core psychoanalytic client-contact hours, at least 250 must be with adult clients.
  • Complete at least 225 clock hours of casework supervision in weekly sessions throughout the program with at least three different licensed therapists who are certified psychoanalysts or otherwise psychoanalytically competent. At least 50 of these hours shall be with one supervisor working on one control case involving a client seen two to four times a week, and at least 50 more hours shall be with a second supervisor working on an additional one or more cases.
  • Complete at least 300 clock hours of personal psychoanalysis two to four times a week with a licensed therapist who is also a certified psychoanalyst. Once they have completed 300 clock hours of personal analysis two to four times a week, candidates working with clients for the program must remain in personal psychoanalysis at least once a week.

Because Harlem Family candidates provide a free or low-fee community service to children, adolescents, families, schools and other organizations in underserved communities, they pay affordable fees for their supervision and course work. The Institute will also try to help candidates obtain affordable personal psychoanalysis. Training costs are thus ideally kept to a minimum.

Curriculum and case work


HFI’s curriculum is tailored to help candidates integrate the Institute’s school- and community-based clinical training. This on-site practice allows candidates to play an active part in the Institute’s community life.

The Institute offers each candidate at least two weekly courses at a time on week-night evenings during two semesters from September to June, usually starting between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The institute aims to offer both these courses on the same evening, where possible, though the evenings may vary according to the current schedule. The Institute may also offer summer courses and weekend workshops by leading practitioners to challenge the candidates and help them to further refine their clinical skills.

The program begins with an introductory course exploring both psychoanalysis and child & adolescent psychoanalysis. It begins with a historical survey of psychoanalytic theory, exploring drive, ego, object, self, archetypal and relational approaches, before introducing child & adolescent psychoanalytic theory and technique. The course offers a strong base for child & adolescent psychoanalytic work.

The curriculum is separated into three phases – (i) introductory - including prerequisite courses, (ii) child & adolescent courses, and (iii) adult and concluding courses.

Child-focused courses cover play therapy techniques; working with parents and families; child & adolescent development; assessment of childhood psychopathology and diagnostic evaluation; and work with the exceptional child. Courses will also be offered in subjects of specialized interest, such as organic conditions, trauma, and childhood depression.

Adult-focused courses cover the regular psychoanalytic curriculum.

Final phase


The final two years or so of the program aim to provide a solid base for independent practice.

Requirements include:

  • Working with at least two cases two to four times a week.
  • Successfully presenting a case in an informal collegial setting.
  • Successfully completing course work on establishing a practice.

Candidates will receive a Certificate in Psychoanalysis upon successful completion of the program.


Apply now for psychoanalytic training starting in February and September.

Download our Admission Application.


Catalogue & Training Manual

The Institute’s catalogue describes its training programs in detail.

Download a PDF of our Catalogue.




The Institute’s faculty, drawn by Harlem Family's mission to serve children and families in underserved neighborhoods, come from a broad range of New York's psychoanalytic institutes.

All the Institute’s supervisors are licensed graduates of psychoanalytic institutes. All supervisors are required to have been practicing as licensed clinicians competent in psychoanalytic work for at least three years.


The Institute welcomes people of diverse backgrounds and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, creed, national origin, age, physical disability, marital status, gender or sexual orientation in any aspect of its functioning or programs.

Clinical Settings

The Institute’s clinical facilities are located in schools or community-based organizations, where its therapy rooms are equipped with toys, games and other materials for sessions with children.

Since schools and community-based organizations are convenient centers of neighborhood life, HFI therapists are able to maintain consistent connections with the children and adults they work with.

An HFI liaison, working under the direction of the clinical director, assists the trainees with referrals for the duration of their training.

LMSW Applicants

The Institute welcomes applications from Licensed Masters in Social Work who want to undertake psychoanalytic training toward psychoanalytic certification while simultaneously using their clinical hours in this program toward their License in Clinical Social Work.

They should apply for the full Program in Psychoanalysis or the shorter Program in Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. They may transfer from this shorter program to the full program at any time.

Their casework will be supervised by an LCSW who is certified in psychoanalysis by a recognized psychoanalytic institute or is otherwise psychoanalytically competent. The LCSW license includes psychoanalysis in its scope of practice.

Applicants With
Other Mental-Health

Applicants who hold licenses or master's degrees in mental-health counseling, creative-arts therapy or marriage and family therapy should enroll in the Institute's Licensure-Qualifying Program in Psychoanalysis because licenses in those fields don’t include psychoanalysis in their scope of practice.

Without psychoanalysis in their scope of practice, they may not practice psychoanalysis except through a licensure-qualifying program, unless they embark on training elsewhere for one of the other licenses that include psychoanalysis in their scope of practice. The Institute received state approval to introduce a licensure-qualifying program in August 2015.