The Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia

Training Programs

About IRPP

Our programs are designed for therapists who have completed graduate training in psychology, social work, counseling, or psychiatry, who seek to deepen and expand their therapeutic work.  As a relational school, we have focused, from our beginning in 2007, on the ways in which each therapeutic encounter is inherently a meeting of two people; the heart of working in this way is a reflective co-participation. Both persons bring aspects of which we are unaware, which will be evoked in interaction, and our training is focused on fostering ongoing development of this capacity to reflect on what is happening in both people while being a part of what is taking place.  

Like most psychoanalytic institutions, we are marked by persistent whiteness, and this makes us complicit in the insidiousness of racism in its many manifestations. This whiteness limits the contributions to how we think, the nature of our own community, and the people whom we serve.  We have been working to challenge ourselves, making changes to our mission and curriculum and working to increase the diversity of our community; however, we recognize we have a great deal more to do. We are engaged in a number of initiatives within the institute, and we invite applicants who are committed to this necessarily broadening vision of relational psychoanalysis. 


Our curriculum begins with a two-year block taken by all students. For students wishing to continue their training, some may opt to go on to a third and fourth year in accordance with the requirements of full analytic training; others might elect a third year of intensive relational child and family training; and still others might wish to combine these two longer models. 

First two years:

The initial two years includes a dual focus on adults and children and families, with both didactic courses and clinical seminars.  While there are some discrete topics, including a history of psychoanalytic theory, and key findings from infancy research and their relevance to clinical theory, the coursework is organized to foster ongoing dialogue in regard to key aspects of relational therapeutic work. These include a deepening capacity to participate in the therapeutic relationship in a way that is both real and reflective; to use developmental thinking as a way to understand both child and adult clients; to engage critically with theories of development, diagnosis, and therapeutic action in order to make use of these in more flexible ways; to consider the role of trauma, including intergenerationally transmitted trauma; and to consider the pervasive, subtle and overt ways that race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, and trauma are influencing both the client’s and therapist’s lived experiences in the world and in the therapeutic relationship.  

The majority of the coursework takes place on a three hour block on Friday mornings, in addition to approximately 2-3 weekend days per semester.  

For the first two years:  because relational work makes considerable use of the self, we ask all students to be in therapy with a psychodynamic therapist or analyst that is at least weekly in frequency; and to be in either individual or group supervision with a relationally trained analyst.  We are currently working to increase the number of group supervision options available Cost for personal therapy is the responsibility of the student; we are available to consult about therapists, the majority of whom work with sliding scales. Please talk with us about any questions or concerns you have about the range of such scales.  Tuition for the first two years is $1000 per semester, two semesters per year.  Supervision is generally $100/session for individual supervision with a number of local faculty as well as some of our faculty in New York; we are working to supplement this with lower-fee supervision groups.  

Continued study:

For those who wish to continue on for a full analytic training, years three and four consist of additional coursework that provides ongoing exploration of psychoanalytic theory; personal analysis (minimum 3x week); and conducting analyses with weekly supervision.  For more information regarding the analytic training portion, as well as the Child Intensive year, please consult our website, 

We are a vibrant community of relational clinicians engaged in thinking together about both larger social issues and deeply personal ones, as well as the multiple intersections of these domains.  We welcome your inquiries.  

For general information, please contact our Outreach Chair, Dr. Denise Lensky, at

For information on the Relational Child training specifically, please contact Dr. Laurel Silber, and

© Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia, Suite 808, 255 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, PA  19103

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software