Course of Study

Clinical Training

Externs will treat individual patients in twice-weekly psychodynamic psychotherapy for up to 6 hours each week. At full caseload, each extern carries three patients, ranging in age from late adolescence through adult.

Clinical work takes place in the Residents' Clinic at New York State Psychiatric Institute (PIRC), a teaching site of the Columbia University psychiatry residency program. 

Externs have one hour of weekly supervision for each patient, up to 3 hours per week.  Supervisors are licensed psychologists-psychoanalysts with diverse psychoanalytic orientations, all graduates and faculty members of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.  Supervision is scheduled at mutually convenient times and takes place at the Psychoanalytic Center or at supervisors' private offices.


Externs participate in seminars at our Adult Psychoanalytic Program or Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program. Classes include:

  • "Freud's Thinking and Theorizing"
  • "Core Concepts in Psychoanalysis"
  • "Clinical Theory and Technique"
  • "Child & Adolescent Development"


Externs will learn to integrate the results of psychological testing with basic psychodynamic principles. Supervision will emphasize the use of testing to elaborate patients’ ego capacities, quality of relationship conflicts, defenses, and fantasies. Two test batteries will be completed during the year.  Externs will give verbal feedback to referring clinicians and write up a formal report.

It is expected that externs will have completed the basic assessment sequence provided by their doctoral training programs prior to the start of the externship year.

Other Learning Opportunities 

Externs will attend 4-5 case conferences during the year, organized by the psychology faculty of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. They will have the opportunity to hear clinical material presented by faculty and to write up and present their own work.

Externs are also encouraged to explore intellectually and clinically rich opportunities at our Center and CUMC, including Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, monthly Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine scientific meetings, and "Why Psychoanalysis?" seminars.


The externship program welcomes applicants who are advanced students in APA-accredited Clinical Psychology doctoral programs. Preference is given to applicants who are in at least the third year of training at the time the externship begins.