The Psychotherapy Institute Psychotherapy Training Program FAQs

1. What is The Psychotherapy Institute (TPI)?

The Psychotherapy Institute is a non-profit organization of mental health professionals that was founded in 1972. Members come from many disciplines: marriage, family, child therapy, social work, psychology, psychiatry, and nursing. A dedication to psychodynamic approaches to therapy and an interest in professional development and growth unites us. Committees of volunteer Institute members govern the Institute. Our education program provides continuing education to the professional community. Through our training programs and moderate-fee clinic, we provide high-quality, affordable psychotherapy to residents of the East Bay.

We believe that The Psychotherapy Institute is unique in providing a setting for clinicians from many disciplines and orientations to find common ground and a professional home.

2. What is the Psychotherapy Training Program?

A two-year pre and post-graduate (masters and doctorate) clinical training program designed to provide an intensive learning experience in psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapy. Approximately sixteen trainees (eight first year, eight second year) use individual and group supervision to focus on their work with clients in the Institute's clinic. They also participate in lectures, seminars, and other didactic experiences covering major theoretical and clinical aspects of psychotherapy.

3. What is the theoretical orientation of the training program?

Under the broad umbrella of psychodynamic therapy, the program’s faculty and supervisors work from a spectrum of theoretical approaches, primarily psychoanalytic, Jungian, object-relations, self-psychology, attachment, and relational theories.

4. What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is based on a form of depth psychology that explores the connection between events in early life (which may be unconscious) and current disturbance and distress. The therapy provides a reliable setting for clients to explore past and present fantasies, feelings, dreams, thoughts and memories, which can lead to greater awareness of the magnitude of their core conflicts and issues. Particular attention is given to the developing interpersonal relationship with the therapist as a means for exploring new ways of relating, freer of the characteristics that previously caused distress. Through this transference relationship, the patient may achieve a new and better resolution of long-standing conflicts and overcome resistance to change and growth. This relational dimension to the therapy encourages clients to reflect over their current and past relationships and to become increasingly introspective in order to gain a better understanding of their needs, wishes, desires, and behaviors. Psychodynamic psychotherapy requires the therapist to remain open and engaged in the presence of uncertainty, tension, and anxiety— that often is experienced by client and therapist alike— while exploring the deeper dimensions of intimate relationships.

5. What is unique about TPI's training program?

The training program is central to TPI's mission. This means that the number of clients seen in the clinic, the client populations served, and many other aspects of TPI's programs and operation are tailored to the training needs of the staff therapists. Most TPI members have long affiliations with TPI, and many graduated from the training program themselves during the past thirty years.

6. Who should apply to the training program?

The advanced training program is designed for members of the professional community who are interested in an intensively supervised experience in providing insight-oriented psychotherapy, for the purposes of developing their knowledge and skills as therapists. The Psychotherapy Institute seeks a diverse group of developing therapists who are representative of the professional community. The Institute does not discriminate and welcomes all qualified applicants. People of color are especially encouraged to apply.

7. What qualifications do I need in order to apply?

  • Completion of at least a master’s degree in social work, counseling psychology or its equivalent or currently in a graduate program.
  • Preference for a minimum of 375 face-to-face clinical hours and completion of at least 18 months (i.e. two full academic years) of documented, relevant supervised clinical work, preferably in the last 5 years. Preference also will be given to clinical experience following the master’s degree.
  • Recognition of the importance of self-awareness and the ability to articulate it’s relevance to one’s clinical work, typically a product of one’s own psychotherapy. Personal therapy during training is highly recommended.

8. What kind of clients will I see? For how long?

The TPI clinic offers moderate fee psychotherapy to individual adults and couples. Our clients seek treatment for a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, relationship issues, personality difficulties, self-defeating coping styles, life change issues, and addiction. Our clientele is highly diverse ethnically and racially, as well as diverse in socio- economic status and sexual orientation. There is no set time limit to treatment; typically therapy is long-term and insight-oriented, although it may, with some clients, be brief and focused on a specific goal.

9. What is the size of the caseload?

Staff therapists carry a minimum caseload of nine client hours weekly (at least five individual clients) after the first five months of training.

10. What kind of supervision will I receive?

TPI maintains a roster of over sixty licensed clinicians (LCSW, LMFT, or licensed psychologist) who are TPI members and who volunteer as supervisors. All supervisors have a minimum of three years of experience supervising, and many have more than twenty years. Each staff therapist will have a team of supervisors composed of their individual supervisors, group supervisor, and the Associate Director and/or Executive Director.

11. What is the time commitment? What are the other ingredients of the program?

Among clinical hours, supervision, paperwork, and meetings, staff therapists should plan on devoting approximately 25 hours per week to training and other Institute activities:

  • One hour per week of individual supervision with a primary supervisor, and one hour with a secondary supervisor. Additional supervisors may be added as the caseload increases.
  • One hour weekly group supervision.
  • One hour weekly Clinical Issues Seminar.
  • One weekly 1.5-hour didactic presentation, focusing on practice and theory.
  • One hour weekly Staff Meeting.
  • One biweekly Professional Development Group.
  • Approximately one hour per month serving on an Institute committee.
  • One day approximately every two weeks covering the intake phone line.

12. When does the program start?

Typically the training program begins the first week in September and runs for two full years. However, there are usually two orientation meetings held in July or August before the start of the program.

13. Where does the training take place? What are the hours of operation?

Client sessions and most training meetings are held at The Psychotherapy Institute Clinic, located at 2232 Carleton St. (between Ellsworth and Fulton Streets) in Berkeley. Supervision sessions, as well as the Professional Development Group, typically take place in the private psychotherapy offices of the supervisors and group leader. Clinic hours vary with the needs of trainees. Typically client sessions are scheduled between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm, Monday through Friday. You may also schedule clients on the weekend.

14. Can I hold an outside job while in the training program?

Yes. Staff therapists often hold part-time jobs during their two years at TPI. Trainings and other meetings have set times, but there is a fair amount of flexibility in scheduling client hours and supervision. However, it is usually not possible to have a full-time job and complete the commitment to the training program.

15. What are the graduation requirements?

  • Completion of 550 face-to-face clinical hours within the 2-year training period. Each staff therapist is expected to maintain an average of 9 client hours per week;
  • Attendance at all required meetings;
  • Completion of all required charting.

16. What happens after graduation?

Staff therapists typically take their TPI clients with them into a private practice upon graduation from the training program. Trainees who are not licensed at graduation sometimes continue working under a supervisor’s license in his or her private practice; this is arranged independently by the staff therapist and the supervisor. Some training cohorts have maintained contact after graduation, forming the nucleus of a professional network. Former staff therapists who maintain their TPI membership find that TPI provides a vibrant professional community. Activities such as committee work, case conferences, and our monthly Making Connections Forum help graduates get acquainted with a widening circle of therapists and become better known in the community.

17. How much does the training program cost?

There is no fee for the training program.

18. Will I be paid for seeing clients?

No. Client fees are collected on behalf of the Institute and go toward defraying costs of the clinic and the training program.

19. Even if I was an associate somewhere else, can I still be involved in the Institute?

There are a number ways that you can be involved at TPI as a member or non-member. For example, the Institute sponsors a monthly forum called “Making Connections,” which is held at the Institute. We also hold periodic case conferences. Both events are free and open to the mental health community. TPI also offers continuing education courses in the Fall and Spring. Please call us for more information about our programs. Membership in TPI also opens up a wide-range of additional activities.

20. Why might I want to become a TPI member?

Members receive the bi-monthly newsletter “Viewpoint,” discounts on continuing education programs, access to low cost clinical consultation and listing in our annual roster. The Institute offers opportunities for networking and sponsors activities to support clinicians practicing in the community.

Some training cohorts have maintained contact after graduation, forming the nucleus of a professional network. Activities such as participating on committees and our member-elected co-ordinating council help graduates get acquainted with a widening circle of therapists and become better known in the community.