Classical Freudian Theory

This is a one-year course of thirty 90-minue seminars, as well as directed reading, examining Freud’s work. You will be given the opportunity to become familiar with original texts as the course follows the evolution of Freud’s thinking. Freud’s ideas will be contextualised and you will be introduced to their more contemporary forms in psychoanalysis today, as it is practised in the British clinical tradition of Klein, the Independents and the modern ‘London’ Freudians.

The emphasis of the course is on understanding psychoanalytic theory as a means of organising and making sense of clinical observations and experiences, and to arrive at a fuller understanding of psychoanalytic theory through an examination of its clinical implications.

More information

Time commitmentAssessmentVenueEntry requirementsCourse FeesHow to applyWhat next?

Time commitment

Courses start in September (Click here for term dates).

Seminars: 90 minutes per week, per course (on a Monday afternoon or evening) across three 10-week terms

Observation of infant (Infant Observation course only): 1 hour per week (excluding additional time for any travel required )

Whilst seminars are scheduled so more than one Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought & Practice course can be undertaken in the same academic year, it is important to be realistic about the time commitment when deciding which courses to take in any one year. You should also factor for time spent reading, travelling and, for those seeking to apply for clinical training, weekly training therapy.


Participants in Infant Observation and Work Discussion are encouraged to complete a paper (and are required to, if wishing to go on to our clinical training).

Those who complete and pass the paper will be awarded a SIP certificate. Those who elect not to write a paper will receive a CPD certificate of attendance.


Our Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought & Practice courses are delivered online and/or in person at SIP’s premises in central Bristol. As one of the leading psychotherapy training institutes in the South West UK, we have members and associates throughout the region which means that both training therapy and supervision is available to those based in Bristol as well as further afield.

Entry requirements

Classical Freudian Theory

Applicants with no previous experience of psychoanalytic theory should complete our introductory course ‘Introduction to psychoanalytic theories and concepts

Infant Observation

Applicants are required to attend an interview and pass an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check. Applicants are also encouraged to be in (at least) weekly psychotherapy with a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.

Work Discussion

You should work or be volunteering in a situation that is primarily aimed at helping others. You should have regular one-to-one contact with, for example, clients, students or patients, and the contact should not be diluted by too great an administrative role.

This course might be of interest not only to counsellors and psychotherapists, but also to people working or volunteering in teaching, medical roles, social work, caring settings, support work, advice agencies, or befrienders and buddy roles. Completion of this course (or equivalent) is a requirement for our clinical training.

Course fees

2023-24 Classical Freudian Theory£1,491 (including £200 deposit, payable upon submission of application)
2023-24 Work Discussion£1,491 (including £200 deposit, payable upon submission of application)
2023-24 Infant Observation£1,491 (including £200 deposit, payable upon submission of application) + £53 DBS check fee (if required)

In addition to training fees you should budget for such things as training therapy, supervision, books, stationery and travel. Please also note that we review fees each year, and a slight annual increase should be expected.

Please ensure you read over our payment terms here.

The Iris Tute Bursaries

This is a small fund open to anyone who would otherwise be prevented from pursuing their interest in psychotherapy. Subject to funds in any given year we aim to offer a limited number of bursaries of up to £200 for help with fees on SIP’s Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought & Practice courses. See the bursary application form here.

The fund is named The Iris Tute Bursaries in remembrance of the work and generosity of Iris Tute, a former member of SIP who wanted psychotherapy and, training in psychotherapy to be as accessible as possible. It is thanks to Iris Tute that we have our premises at Orchard Street.

How to apply

We encourage you to make contact prior to application by, for example, attending an Open Evening event (normally held in March and/or May each year).

Application dates: Applications open 1st April and close 30thJune, to start in September.

Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Thought & Practice Course Application Form
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Please note:

  • If you have particular access needs please let us know as soon as possible so that we can discuss how best to meet these.
  • Courses will only run in any academic year subject to sufficient applications.
  • We follow an equal opportunities policy in our selection procedure.
  • We reserve the right to alter our existing constitution, criteria for membership, training procedures, timetables and assessments.

What next?

  • For those wishing to apply to our BPC-accredited clinical training in psychodynamic psychotherapy, completion of Classical Freudian Theory and Work Discussion is required.
  • For those wishing to apply to our BPC-accredited clinical training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, completion of Infant Observation (2 years), Classical Freudian Theory and Work Discussion is required.