Work discussion

A one-year course of thirty 90-minute seminars, where participants take it in turns to bring detailed observations for discussion in a group led by an experienced psychotherapist. Participants are encouraged to ‘tell it as it is’ and respond to other presentations in a similar vein.

The aim of the course is to help you explore the application of psychoanalytic thinking to your work area, providing an opportunity to learn from reflective practice in a work or volunteering situation.

Particular attention will be paid to the feelings evoked in the presenter by the experience with the client(s) or colleagues, and how those feelings can be used to understand what is happening. The aim is to sharpen perceptions and enhance the exercise of imagination so that a richer understanding of personality interactions described may ensue. Some participants have even elected to repeat the course to gain further understanding from new examples.

More information

Time commitmentAssessmentVenueEntry requirementsCourse FeesHow to applyWhat next?

Time commitment

All Pre-clinical 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 pre-clinical seminars are scheduled so more than one 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.


Currently all our training is delivered in central Bristol. However, as a training institute for the South West our membership is drawn from across the region and both training therapy and supervision is available in Bristol and beyond.

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

2022-23 Classical Freudian Theory£1,375 (including £200 deposit, payable upon submission of application)
2022-23 Work Discussion£1,375 (including £200 deposit, payable upon submission of application)
2022-23 Infant Observation£1,375 (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 course fees on the introductory and pre-clinical 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

Please note: There is no intake to SIP’s clinical trainings in September 2023, in order to accommodate the delivery of the curriculum; the next clinical intake will be September 2024.

Applications open from 1st April each year to join the following September. We encourage you to make contact prior to application by, for example, attending our Open Day normally in March each year.

Application closing date: 31st May* to start the following September.

*Please contact the office if you are considering applying after the closing date.

Pre-clinical 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 interested in joining our clinical training, completion of Classical Freudian Theory and Work Discussion is required for entry to our psychodynamic psychotherapy training; and, completion of all three courses is required for entry to our psychoanalytic psychotherapy training.