Professional Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training

The VAPP provides a psychoanalytic psychotherapy training program over a minimum of four years.  Professionals of relevant disciplines with suitable clinical experience may apply. Intakes usually occur every two years. The last intake was in January this year.

On completion, graduates are invited to apply for membership of the VAPP as professional psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy discovers, explores and modifies unconscious influences that shape who one is and how one relates.

Through the  Program, trainees learn to understand and interpret these influences, as they emerge in the relationship between patient and psychotherapist, to effect change.

 Components of the Training Program

1. Personal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

The VAPP sees personal psychoanalytic psychotherapy as an important aspect of training a psychotherapist, so it is essential that the trainee undertakes psychotherapy concurrently with training. Sessions are to be at least twice weekly with a VAPP-approved psychotherapist.*  As this is a training requirement, it is not rebatable by Medicare.

2. Supervision and Clinical Work

VAPP trainees work with at least two patients in intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy twice a week during the course, and receive supervision from a VAPP-approved supervisor* for each case. One case is expected to run for two years and the other for at least one year.

3. Seminar Program

Seminars are conducted twice weekly for the first four years of the training, and then less frequently until completion of the clinical case paper.

They cover the following three broad categories:

a) Theoretical Seminars

These seminars provide an extensive theoretical basis to the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. They include an understanding of the central concepts and their application, the historical evolution of theory, and the significant contributors. Running concurrently with clinical seminars, these seminars complement trainees’ clinical practice.

b) Infant Observation Seminars

Each trainee regularly observes a baby (with mother or care-giver) for at least a year, and reports on each observation at a weekly seminar over the year. The experience is invaluable in developing powers of
observation, and in understanding the emotional states of the infant and mother-infant relationship.
A seminar leader helps trainees at all stages of this process. On completion, trainees write a paper on their understandings gained from observation and seminars.

c) Clinical Seminars

Concurrent with theoretical seminars, clinical seminars provide trainees with the opportunity to present their clinical work for group discussion under the guidance of a seminar leader. This is not a supervision group, but an opportunity to apply theoretical concepts and principles of clinical practice to their own work.

4. Ongoing Assessment

Throughout training, regular assessment monitors a trainee’s progress.

5. Clinical Case Paper

Writing a case paper on a piece of clinical work is a final requirement. The trainee learns to represent the psychotherapy with one patient in writing, and so demonstrate his/her development as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.


Applying for the VAPP Training Program


Prospective trainees are required to have one of the following prerequisites:

1. Medical graduate with at least two years’ approved graduate clinical experience.

2. Psychologist, eligible for membership of the Australian Psychological Society, with national registration and at least two years’ approved graduate clinical experience.

3. Social worker with at least two years’ approved graduate clinical experience.

4. Professional from another field who has achieved the necessary standards, as judged by the Training Committee.

If you do not have the required prerequisite experience and wish to apply for special consideration, please contact the VAPP Training Committee Secretary for further advice.

Applications for the Training Course are welcome at any time and are assessed by interview for personal suitability, professional experience and situation.

* An approved therapist or supervisor for training purposes is one with at least five years membership of the VAPP or other commensurate association, such as the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) or state member association of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association of Australasia (PPAA). A list of approved therapists and supervisors can be obtained from the VAPP Training Committee Secretary.

For enquiries or application please contact

VAPP Training Committee Secretary
Tel: 03 9428 2303