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Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program

The Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Training Program (PTP) is a two year post-graduate certificate-granting program, with a new class beginning in the Fall of even numbered years (2024, 2026, etc).

The PTP is organized around coursework and 60 hours of individual case consultation.  This course of study, including evidence-based techniques and best practices, enhances the knowledge and psychodynamic skills of clinicians. Clinical and theoretical courses taught by our psychoanalytically trained faculty promote the acquisition of a comprehensive foundation in psychoanalytic ideas and techniques.

​The program is designed to improve clinical skills and to demonstrate the usefulness of applying contemporary psychoanalytic thinking to a wide range of clinical, teaching, and consultative situations. In addition to a comprehensive review of theory and development, the students learn the technical application of these principles to a wide spectrum of disorders. By the end of the program, the student should be able to integrate some techniques and theories when working with patients.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is synonymous with psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and both terms refer to insight oriented psychotherapy based on the theory and technique of psychoanalysis. Psychotherapies practiced from a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic perspective pay attention to transference, countertransference, unconscious conflict, defenses, personality organization, affects, dreams, interpersonal experience and more within the framework of the patient’s unique perspectives about life’s realities. This method is distinguished from psychoanalysis in a number of ways that you will learn about throughout your program.

This is an intensive learning experience and requires that students devote time to readings. Students should be willing to participate actively in class discussions and be prepared to present case material in Case Conference and consultation.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is synonymous with psychoanalytic psychotherapy.  Both terms refer to insight-oriented psychotherapy based on the theory and technique of psychoanalysis.

Psychotherapies practiced from a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic perspective pay attention to transference, countertransference, unconscious conflict, defenses, personality organization, affects, dreams, interpersonal experience and more within the framework of the patient’s unique perspectives about life’s realities.

This method is distinguished from psychoanalysis in a number of ways that you will also learn about throughout your program.

"We deeply respected each other’s work and how we all think differently based on very different clinical backgrounds."

                  -PTP Student 2014-2016


This program is open to psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurse clinicians, marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors who are fully licensed to practice in their field.

Applicants are expected to:

  • have a clinical license without restrictions
  • have some familiarity with basic psychoanalytic terminology and principles
  • have had an individual psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • have prior experience as a licensed, practicing psychotherapist
  • carry professional liability insurance
  • attest to ethical standards

Course Work

Classes meet in-person Fridays from 12:00 to 5:10 p.m. for 30 weeks during the academic year. Course work includes:

  • a careful study of development from birth through old age
  • historical and in-depth review of psychoanalytic theory
  • comprehensive review of the application of contemporary psychoanalytic principles to psychotherapy technique, and
  • clinical case conference that focuses on understanding the fostering the therapeutic process.

The Development track looks at development over the entire life cycle, covering infancy, latency, adolescence and adulthood. It focuses on the development of self in relation to the object from birth forward, the earliest foundations of superego development, the development of masculinity and femininity in the pre-oedipal and oedipal years, and the development of heterosexual and homosexual object choice.

In the Theory segment, students are introduced to the philosophy of theory making and the pioneering psychodynamic discoveries by Sigmund and Anna Freud. The major models of the mind - including the topographic, structural, object relations, self-psychologic, and intersubjective - are examined.

The Technique sequence is devoted to a systematic review of the basic principles of psychodynamic psychotherapy. The first year focuses on making a developmental diagnosis, developing a treatment plan and contract, understanding the various aspects of empathy and of the therapeutic alliance, recognizing and working with ego strengths and weaknesses, identifying and understanding how to manage defenses, learning the use and misuse of transference manifestations, becoming comfortable with countertransference experiences, and appreciating the therapeutic usefulness of transference-countertransference enactments. The second year includes more specific technical considerations, for example: working with trauma, deficit disorders, severe regressions, focused short-term therapy, indications for and implications of consultation for psychopharmacology, and the various forms of termination.

sample courses:

   Development Theory  Technique 
Year 1  Infancy & the Oedipus
Adult Development

Topographic & Structural Models

Object Relations





Principles of Psychodynamic Technique

 Year 2 Developmental Underpinnings
Modern Ego Psychology
Gendered Self
Eating Disorders
Grief, Mourning & Early Parent Loss

Character Structure

Borderline Structure

Psychotic Structure

Neurotic Structure

Narcissistic Structure

Dreams & Transference
Technique & Character Structure

The two-year Case Conference offers students an additional opportunity to apply what they learn in didactic seminars. There is a case conference during both the first and second years. An effort is made to give everyone an opportunity to present ongoing clinical material. The emphasis is on making psychodynamic formulations and developing a sense of the transference and countertransference elements. During the second year, the focus is on understanding the fostering the therapeutic process while following one or two cases in depth over the course year. 

A final project, a case write up and presentation at the end of the second academic year, enables the student to integrate the clinical and didactic learning experiences into a useful written document.

Program Goals

This two-year program is designed to help further clinical understanding and skills and will provide students with the ability to:

    • Apply and use a developmental, psychodynamic model in diagnosing and assessing adults for treatment.
    • Establish a treatment framework that includes the development of a therapeutic alliance and engagement in a therapeutic process with patients.
    • Recognize and respond empathically, effectively and ethically to patients’ affective states.
    • Understand meaningful verbal and non-verbal patterns.
    • Work with intrapsychic themes and their impact on patients’ daily lives.
    • Recognize and work with transference and countertransference manifestations that impact therapeutic goals.
    • Work effectively and collegially with faculty, consultants and classmates

Clinical Consultation

Every student is assigned a consultant. Preferences are honored where possible. Generally speaking, the required 60 hours should be divided as evenly as possible between the two years. Students are urged to work with a different supervisor each year.

Consultation is individualized to meet the specific learning needs of the student, with an effort made to integrate what is being learned in the coursework with the student’s clinical work. Some students may wish to present only a few ongoing cases in depth, while others may wish to look at a spectrum of cases. We recommend reviewing closely at least one case for some period of time, as the final case write-up needs to be completed (with the help of the consultant) and handed in before the end of the second academic year.


Prospective students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible since class size is limited. Applications are due by January 15th of the year class begins. Classes begin every two years, in even numbered years.

Click here for the application.

Applicants will have a personal interview with the Chair of the Adult PTP program, and member(s) of the faculty to determine that the program and the student is a good match.  The PTP Committee then makes a final decision and notifies the applicant of the decision by telephone call.


  • Application Fee $200.00 (non-refundable)
  • Tuition may increase each year.  For the 2024-2025 academic year $4,900 and for 2025-2026 $5,000
  • Consultation Fee $75/session

Tuition is due annually before the start of class and is nonrefundable after September 1st. 

​​Graduation Requirements

The minimum requirements to graduate:

  • All fees and tuition have been paid in full
  • Completion of all course work, including the final project of writing up a case
  • Completion of a minimum of 60 hours with a consultant


Graduate Credentials  (91)

  • MD  -  33
  • PhD  -  7
  • MD, PhD  -  1
  • MD, MPH  -  1
  • PsyD  -  14
  • PsyD, LPC  -  1
  • LCSW  -  22
  • LISW  -  1  
  • LPC  -  6
  • LPC, NCC  -  1
  • LPC, CAC II  -  1
  • LPC, GGP, FAGPA  -  1
  • LMFT, LPC  -  1
  • RN, LPC  -  1
  • DO  -  1 


    AAPE standards for the education and training of psychoanalysts follow the requirements of the tripartite Eitingon model.

    AAPE standards meet or exceed the requirements of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA).

    The Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis is 1 of 29 approved training institutes of the APsA designed to enrich psychotherapeutic skills and to provide a background in psychodynamic principles and the theoretical basis of clinical work.

    APsA is a membership organization. which offers a broad range of benefits, from a quarterly magazine and members-only discussion forums to opportunities for networking with senior analysts and candidates.

    PTP students are eligible for APsA

    The Department of Psychiatry is a diverse community of staff and faculty dedicated to brain health for all, for life.

    With over 300 regular, affiliate, and volunteer clinical faculty, the department works to improve mental healthcare in our area. The department is dedicated to valuing all people and is committed to diversity and inclusion in its clinical, research, treatment, and educational activities.

    Notice of Nondiscrimination

    The Denver Institute for Psychoanalysis prohibits discrimination and harassment in any of its activities, including admissions, on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, disability, military or marital status, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression), age, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.

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