The Washington Psychoanalytic Institute


Child and Adolescent Training Program

The Washington Center for Psychoanalysis (WCP)  has a long tradition of teaching child/adolescent psychoanalysis.   The Center's Child and Adolescent Training Program  exposes  candidates to  theoretical contributions from all major schools of psychoanalytic thought. The theoretical presentations are complemented by clinical courses which focus on the following:

  • Diagnosis with an emphasis  on the importance of understanding the difference between normality and pathology at each developmental level.
  • Ways in which the vicissitudes of development can be technically worked with, thus enhancing mutative action in the treatment of children, adolescents,  and their families.
  • Understanding how unconscious phenomena  affect analytic interventions with children and adolescents. 
  • Appreciation  of  the  environmental and constitutional factors which contribute to the psychological development of the child.

The (WCP) offers an integrated child and adolescent/adult curriculum which is organized so that both technical modalities are a focus from the beginning of training. Candidates learn about psychoanalytic theory and technique and it's applicability and complexity at all developmental stages. The early exposure to child clinical work highlights the relevance and value  of developmental thinking which increases  the analysts attunement  to both child and adult analysands.

A major advantage of the integrated curriculum is that most of the required courses for child/ adolescent  training are offered in the adult curriculum.

The required  courses are as follows:

Psychoanalytic Theories of Development: This course highlights the theoretical underpinnings of a number of psychoanalytic theories as they relate to the concept of development. Development will be understood as a complex interaction between maturational/constitution factors and environmental experiences which affect functioning. An enhanced knowledge of how derailment in development can lead to pathological compromises and mental functioning is imperative in the psychoanalytic treatment of patients at all developmental levels. The understanding of play, fantasy and action as means of deepening the analytic  process and promoting self reflection in work with the children and adults will be discussed in depth.

Development Illustrated  via Clinical Material: The study of human  development provides  scaffolding for understanding psycho-sexual and psycho-social experiences throughout the life cycle. The intrapsychic and  interpersonal phenomena at  each stage  lay the groundwork for the subsequent levels of development. This course will use  clinical material to examine the following psycho-sexual stages of life: Oedipal, Latency, Pre-adolescence, Middle-adolescence, Late-adolescence.

Adolescent Continuous Case:  In this course an adolescent psychoanalytic case will be presented. Clinical material   from the assessment period, as well as the beginning, middle, and termination phases of adolescent analysis will be presented and discussed. The technical  challenges of treating patients from this phase of development will be highlighted.

Child Continuous Case: In  this course a child psychoanalytic case will be presented. The class will unfold in the same way as the above described Adolescent Continuous Case.

Continuing Case Seminar in Psychoanalysis: This  is a required course to be taken outside of the adult curriculum requirements.  It is a course taught in conjunction with the Baltimore-Washington Center for Psychoanalysis (BWC). Typically it  involves the presentation of one or more psychoanalyses. Special focus is given to the discussion of technique as it affects the progress of the analysis. Graduate analysts typically participate in the seminar with candidates. Participants are encouraged to consider alternative interventions, and to review their potential impact on the treatment process. The presentations offer an opportunity to consider topics discussed in advanced technique courses, including manifestations of transference, countertransference, defense analysis, and contemporary thinking regarding therapeutic action.


All candidates in the adult program are eligible to take on a child case even if they are not enrolled in the Child/Adolescent Training Program. This case can count as one of the three control cases required for graduation from the Adult Division  of WCP. The case would be supervised by a Child/Adolescent Supervising Analyst  from either the WCP or the BWC.

A Candidate  in the Adult Program is eligible to become a candidate in the  Child/Adolescent Training Program  following consultation with his or her adult faculty advisor. Following this consultation the candidate should fill out the application for child and adolescent training which can be found on the Washington Center  for Psychoanalysis website.

The Candidate  should also contact the Chair of the Program, Dr. Anita Bryce (, or 703-734-9287) to let her know of  his/ her interest in child and adolescent training.

Any graduate of a IPA accredited program can apply for child and adolescent training at the WCP. They can proceed by filling out the application described above  and contacting the Chair of the Program.

When the candidate begins the Program   they will be assigned a Child/Adolescent Faculty Advisor.

Training  Progression and Graduation  Requirements  for the Child and Adolescent Program

A candidate may request permission to begin the first case at any time.  It is preferable that Candidates be in their training analysis for at at least part of their child and adolescent training.

Progression is determined by the number of cases that the candidate has in analysis as well as the Child/Adolescent Progress Committee's (CAPC) evaluation of the candidates capacities to understand the complexities of the analytic process with children  and adolescent patients.

Requirements for graduation are the supervised analyses of three patients, including one adolescent and two  latency or pre-latency children. It is highly desirable that both genders be included. The candidate will need to have had  a minimum of 150 supervisory hours with reasonable distribution of the hours among the cases. It is preferable that the candidate have three different supervisors if possible.

Graduation is determined by  CACP in consultation with the Institute Council (IC), and  is based on the Candidate's  ability to do autonomous  analytic work with children and adolescents.

"I've enjoyed my first year. My classmates are collegial, my instructors and supervisors are interested in my education and helping me develop my career, and I've found the curriculum to be inclusive and broad-ranging. The institute and instructors are genuinely interested, I feel, in candidates' concerns and I think quite responsive to concerns and comments regarding instruction as well as with administrative matters. " -Blair Bunting, M.D.