The Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia


In keeping with our belief that dialogue and mutual influence should be central to psychoanalysis, we view a Relational curriculum as a manifestation of both core principles and continual change.  Each new cohort brings different life experiences and cultural contexts, and new insights and strengths, as well as differing needs in terms of clinical training.  Faculty themselves are hopefully engaged in lifelong learning and professional development, thus developing new perspectives and fresh ways to approach the material, and we continually engage additional instructors.  

Thus, we see the curriculum as a flexible, though thoughtfully constructed framework--a living document, necessarily responsive to particular cohorts, cultural contexts, and shifts within the field; as much a continually evolving series of questions to be engaged as an attempt to confer a grounding in ethical, thoughtful, and theoretically and culturally literate practice. The essentials of our prototype curriculum appear below:

Beginning with classes admitted in the Fall of 2019, we will be introducing a revised training model.  Years One and Two can be taken as a stand-alone program in working relationally in multiple and varied contexts.  We anticipate that those with differing amounts and kinds of experience, as well as with differing professional training would be able to come together to create a learning environment that would be adaptable, responsive to the particular composition of each group.  In these first two years, we will offer a grounding in both theory and praxis of relational work with adults and children and their families, and interrogate together how multiple aspects of social, cultural, and clinical contexts influence the intersubjective field of the therapeutic engagement. 

At the conclusion of Year Two, candidates may: 

  • Complete a third and final year in the Intensive Child and Family Track (with clinical and personal therapy requirements, as noted); 
  • Continue with full analytic training (minimum of two additional years of classes, in addition to other requirements, as noted); or
  • Combine both programs.  

Those candidates who are not continuing in one of the formal tracks will be eligible for certificates of completion of the two-year program, and hopefully thereafter will participate in ongoing workshops, supervision, and/or study groups within IRPP.

The following is an outline of what we anticipate offering.  Please note that this is an evolving process, and we may make modifications to what is listed here.

IRPP Curriculum, updated August 2021

  • Year One:

    Semester 1:     A.  Foundations of psychotherapy from a Relational psychoanalytic perspective

                            B. Who, what, where we are: hybrid course designed to foster a sufficiently safe yet challenging foundation for the formation of a working group.  Introducing ourselves to each other, considering trauma, social location, and complex subjectivities. Forming a working group, thinking about the influence of race and oppression, changing conceptions of gender and sexuality, and the challenges of the present moment 

    *Include one three-hour segment during the fall on the importance of Play in Relational approaches to work with children and adults

    C. Small Group supervision (required for years One and Two; additional individual supervision could be applied to the analytic training requirement as long as it is in line with the supervisory guidelines for the analytic training.) 

    Semester 2:     A. Development in Context 

                            B. Clinical illustrations of development in context, and bridging developmental theory and work with adults

    C. Small Group supervision 


    Year Two

    Fall:                 A. History and (R)evolutions in psychoanalytic theory

    B. Engaging Difference in the Psychoanalytic Dyad 

    C. Small group supervision


    Spring:             A. Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma: From Parent to Child 

                            B. Building on theory: Elements of Relational technique

    C. Small group supervision



    *Optional Child Intensive Year - -can be taken instead of or alongside Year 3 of the full analytic training


    Fall:                A. Child's play embedded in context, working with parental subjectivity

    B. Case conference

    Spring:           A. Development Reworked: Emergence and Adolescence  

    B. Case conference


    Year Three:

    Fall:                 A. Treating trauma and dissociation  

    B. Relational theory 2 (e.g., long or shorter courses, more in-depth re particular branches of relational theory)

                          C. Case conference 


Spring:             A. Relational Theory 3:  (e.g., Evolution of transference and countertransference; Varieties of intersubjectivity)

                        B. Advanced Relational Technique

                        C. Case conference 

Year Four:        

Fall:                 A. Contemporary topics (e.g., Spirituality; working in pandemic; influences of 

social media; climate change)

                        B. Gender and Sexuality

                        C. Case conference



Spring:            A. From Consulting Room to Community 

                        B. Relational Theory: Consolidation and New Questions

                        C. Case conference 






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

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software