Psychodynamic Training Program

Coursework and Practicum

All students in the clinical program receive broad exposure to psychodynamic therapy in the form of four didactic courses: Evidence-Based Psychodynamic Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Object Relations Therapy, and Self Psychology. All students must complete the Evidence-Based Psychodynamic Therapy in their first year, and then either interpersonal or self psychology in their second year depending on which student group one is in. After completing two psychodynamic courses, students are eligible to participate in the psychodynamic practicum (called a lab) starting their third year. Students interested in concentrated psychodynamic training may elect to take a PD psychotherapy practicum for their required third year lab and an Advanced PD psychotherapy lab for their required fourth-year lab toward the fulfillment of the required two-year psychotherapy practicum. Students starting their psychodynamic practicum must take the remaining two of those PD theory of intervention courses not already selected within the same school year. 

Practicum Experience

Students enrolled in the Individual Psychodynamic Practica are assigned individual psychotherapy patients from the Parnes Psychology Clinic. The patient diagnoses may include a range of personality disorders, as well as past substance abuse and or hospitalizations.  There are additionally patients whose complaints are relationship difficulties, family difficulties, and sequelae from trauma.  Patients from the Parnes Clinic are diverse in socio economics, ethnicity, sexual orientation, possible disability, and therapeutic issues. While every student in the Psychodynamic Training Program is exposed to classical theoretical concepts, the thrust of the practica is on contemporary psychoanalysis. This includes a focus on the exploration and use of the therapeutic relationship in the here and now, the affective interactions of the therapeutic dyad, unconscious communication, and the use of the therapist's self to illuminate the dynamics of the therapy. The lab is a small group, generally six students plus the instructor (a senior psychoanalytic faculty member), who develop a safe atmosphere in which to discuss any issues of the patient, the therapist, the therapeutic dyad and the supervisory experience. We train students to use contemporary conceptualizations of transference and countertransference as some of the primary material in the sessions as well as to observe and utilize the process and flow of continuity and disruption between the therapeutic dyad. Students receive three hours of weekly supervision for treating 2-4 patients: one hour in an individual format with an off site supervisor and two hours in a group format through the practicum labs.  All instructors are graduates of psychoanalytic institutes and active in writing, presenting, and practicing in psychodynamic psychotherapy.  All off site supervisors have significant post doctoral training in various orientations within psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Students may also further extend their training by enrolling in other elective PD courses offered at the school, (for example, Dream in Psychotherapy taught by Dr. Aviram), and by completing externships that specialize in psychodynamic training.  

Clinical Research Experience

Clinical research is facilitated through the PD program in the areas of trauma, geropsychology, supervision issues, multicultural issues and experiences, and diverse couples and family investigations, identity issues, therapy process, and others including issues of those seeking asylum.  A student is paired with a psychodynamic faculty member whom the student has requested and who agrees to work with the student.  The student and faculty member then work on developing the research project together.

These areas of research are facilitated through two semesters of research seminars that eventually lead to Doctoral Research Projects I and II: .

  • PSC 6520, PSC 6528:  Effective Psychotherapists: An Integrative Approach I and II, Catherine Eubanks, Ph.D.
  • PSC 6474, PSC 6575: Psycodynamic Process Research I and II: Dr. Katie Aafjes Van Doorn

  • PSC 6576, PSC 6577: Psychodynamic Process of Trauma I and II: Dr. Vera Békés
  • PSC 6529, PSC 6530:  Research in Depression and Personality Disorder in Older Adults I and II, Richard Zweig, Ph.D.

  • Evidence-Based Psychodynamic Therapy
    PSC 6486 (Dr. Katie Aafjes Van Doorn) 
  • This course will focus on the existing outcome research for psychodynamic psychotherapy, compared to other non-psychodynamic models. We will critically analyze evidence-based therapy models for different symptomatology, including anxiety, depression, trauma, obsessionality, self-esteem, fear of abandonment. Approaches that will be reviewed include transference focused psychotherapy (Yeomans, 2002) and mentalization-based treatment (Fonagy & Bateman, 2006) for borderline personality disorders, supportive-expressive dynamic psychotherapy for depression (Luborsky et al., 1995), panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy (Milrod et al. 1997), experiential dynamic therapy (McCullough et al., 2003), and other short-term dynamic psychotherapies (e.g. Abbass, 2009). The discussion of the evidence base of different psychodynamic therapies will take the format of Oxford-style debates in which the students prepare arguments for and against psychodynamic psychotherapy approaches based on the critical reading of empirical studies and meta-analyses of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Following this course, students will have gained a basic knowledge of the range of evidence-based psychodynamic psychotherapists that have been tried and tested and will be able to consider what/if a psychodynamic psychotherapy approach might be appropriate in the formulation and treatment of their patients.

  • Interpersonal and Relational Psychotherapy
    PSC 6498 (Dr. Katie Aajes-Van Doorn)

    This is a survey of the interpersonal approach to the conception and conduct of psychotherapy and therapeutic engagement; the therapeutic relationship, transference, and countertransference, the analysis of dreams, and the process of supervision.  Comparison and contrasting of the interpersonal approach with other therapeutic models also takes place.
  • Object Relations Therapy
    PSC 6175 (Ron Aviram, Ph.D.)

    The Object Relations Theory and Therapy course will familiarize students with the major theories that developed primarily by the British Independent group of psychoanalysts in the first half of the twentieth century.  These object relations theories influenced the evolution of psychoanalysis.  A major contemporary trend known as relational psychoanalysis is a direct outgrowth of the writings of those early psychoanalysts.  The course will discuss the early contributors to Object Relations Theory, including Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion, W.R.D. Fairbairn, Harry Guntrip, D.W. Winnicott, and John Bowlby.  Each class will integrate clinical material that will be discussed in the context of that day's reading material.  In addition to the early contributors to object relations theory, we will read and discuss the work of contemporary writers who have been directly influenced by the early object relations psychoanalysts.  These writers include Christopher Bollas, Thomas Ogden, David Scharff and Jill Savage Scharff, and Stephen Mitchell. We will continuously make an effort to understand how theory influences our clinical applications using clinical material from recent and ongoing cases.
  • Clinical Concepts in Couples and Family Therapy
    PSC 6463 (Ruthie Israeli, M.S.)

    This course covers an analysis of couples' and families' healthy functioning and malfunctioning.  Students examine mate selection, some theories of technique, and techniques from a variety of couples and family therapy perspectives including: Interpersonal Psychoanalytic-Systemic; Emotion Focused, Object-relational; Bowenian Systems; Structural; and Neuroscience views.
  • Self Psychology 
    PSC 6491 (Dr. Vera Békés)

    Self Psychology, a form of psychoanalytic theory developed by Heinz Kohut, focuses on the vicissitudes and disturbances of self experience in therapy and in life.  One of its major concepts is the self-object, a term referring to other people on whom the person's self experience depends.  The following topics will be examined in the course: (1) How Kohut modified classical psychoanalytic theory to create self-psychology. (2) How Kohut's initial formulations were further developed by important contemporary theorists including: Stolorow, Atwood & Oranve; Shane & Shane, and Lichtenberg.  (3) Self psychological approaches to psychotherapy. (4) Criticisms of self-psychology within contemporary psychoanalysis. (5) Application of self psychological concepts to areas such as addiction, trauma, and personality discarders.  Students taking the course should have some acquaintance with psychoanalytic theory and some experience doing psychotherapy.

  • Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Lab I (Multiple Instructors)
  • Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Lab II (Multiple Instructors)
  • Advanced Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Lab I (Multiple Instructors)
  • Advanced Individual Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Lab II (Multiple Instructors)

A highlight of our program is the significant amount of supervision that students in the Psychodynamic Practicum receive. For individual psychotherapy, each student is paired with a licensed clinical psychologist for weekly supervision that takes place at supervisors' private offices

Group supervision is also provided in a weekly, two-hour lab. The lab group consists of approximately five students and is led by a clinical professor who is also a practicing psychoanalytically oriented therapist, and graduate of a psychoanalytic institute. All adjunct clinical professors and clinical supervisors associated with the psychodynamic labs have also received extensive postdoctoral training and are graduates of highly esteemed psychoanalytic institutes. These include the William Alanson White Institute, the New York University Post Doctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

Co-Directors, Psychodynamic Training Program: Dr. Katie Aajes-Van Doorn and Dr. Vera Békés

Core Faculty

  • Dr. Katie Aajes-Van Doorn
  • Dr. Vera Békés
  • Carl Auerbach, Ph.D.
  • Catherine Eubanks, Ph.D.
  • Richard Zweig, Ph.D.

Psychodynamic Individual Psychotherapy Lab Instructors

Intro (intermediate) lab:

Leslie Warfield (PD)

Bill Baker (PD)

Ron Aviram (PD)

Bill Salton (PD)

Advanced lab:

Leslie Warfield (PD)

Bill Baker (PD)

Individual Supervisors

  • Dr. Alison Schwart
  • Dr. Sandy Krohn
  • Dr. Sari Kessler
  • Dr. William Baker
  • Dr. Rachel Kamovsky
  • Dr. Genya Bernstein
  • Dr. Ariela Vasserman
  • Dr. Richard Angle
  • Dr. Victoria Azara
  • Dr. Patricia Goodman
  • Dr. Ellen Carni
  • Dr. Marc Rehm
  • Devora Reichmann
  • Dr. Lisa Juliano
  • Dr. Eli Mayer
  • Dr. Alexander Levi
  • Dr. Rebecca Harmon
  • Dr. Liz Penn
  • Dr. William Salton
  • Dr. Donna Silbert
  • Dr. Carol Bravmann
  • Dr. Nora MOORE
  • Dr. Maggie Wood
  • Dr. Carl Auerbach

For more information about the PD training program please email katie.aafjes@yu.edu or vera.bekes@yu.edu.

To make a patient referral or schedule an intake evaluation for the psychodynamic program, please contact the Parnes Clinic at 646.592.4399 or email gotay@yu.edu.