Only someone who is properly trained and qualified is suitable to practise psychoanalysis. From the beginning, there has been considerable debate within psychoanalytic organisations for psychoanalysis world-wide, about what constitutes a suitable training. Some argue that qualification should be open only to those who have followed a training limited to certain areas of psychoanalytic theory and based on strict delineations of the so-called “technical rules” of psychoanalysis; such as the number of times-per-week trainees are seen by their training-analyst, the use of a couch and the length of a session. Other psychoanalytic organisations embrace a much wider range of psychoanalytic theories and have different understandings of the meaning and use of the “technical rules”.

Despite differing in some significant ways, all psychoanalytic training-programmes appear to consider the following components as necessary, in order to qualify as a practitioner of psychoanalysis:

  • The study of a range of psychoanalytic theories during a course which tends to last at least four years.
  • A range of clinical practice during training (sometimes referred to as work with “training-patients”) under professional supervision by an experienced and qualified practitioner.
  • Undergoing a personal analysis, usually before, during and, sometimes, after training.
  • Procedures through which trainees who complete their training can proceed to some form of graduation and registration, leading to a recognised status within the training-organisation.
  • Adherence to a Code of Ethics.
  • Some form of independent scrutiny of the training-programme at regular intervals.

The College is, in principle, prepared to recognise any training for practitioners of psychoanalysis which incorporates these basic components and which provides a coherent and public statement to that effect.

The College is not, at the present time, prepared to arbitrate on questions relating to the technical rules of psychoanalysis; concerning frequency or length of sessions and the use of the couch. The College does, however, recognise that there is a need for a wide-ranging discussion among training-organisations in the United Kingdom on what constitutes a proper training of a psychoanalyst, the relationship of psychoanalysis to psychotherapy and how psychoanalytic trainings might be recognised by The College in future. The College proposes to invite existing training-organisations and practitioners to participate in a wide-ranging enquiry and discussion of these and other related issues.

All members of The College are bound by the Code of Professional Conduct of The College.