Sydney Institute



PPC@SIP (2019)

The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Course (PCC) at the Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis offers a good foundation to develop observation and listening skills.

With a syllabus based on a mixture of introductory readings and papers that extend understanding more deeply, this course suits newcomers to psychodynamic thinking as well as more experienced clinicians.

To gain the best practical understanding of the course material, we recommend participants have some personal experience of psychodynamic therapy.

PPC is suitable as a stand alone professional development module, or as a stepping stone to the SIP Small Group Seminar program. It will also help prepare students for other training programs at SIP and similar organisations.

SIP provides support to suitable PPC students with a scholarship program to cover course fees, and some Australian Psychoanalytic Foundation bursaries may also be available. In addition, a mentorship program assists participants to consider their further professional development.

Students will enjoy access to a library and a PEP-web subscription for one year.


Levels of Listening

The new PPC@SIP Course, ‘Levels of Listening,’ will commence on Wednesday, August 14, 2019.

This course will assist the clinician to hear, understand and attend to different levels of communication with her patient. Transference and counter transference experiences will be explored as central for the clinician to attune herself to her patient, and to put her understanding into words.

Please download and save the application form on your computer before completing and returning it by email to

Small Group Seminars and Consultation (SGSC)

The Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis offers a series of consultations and small group seminars, both in the room and remotely by video-conference to participants in other states, and overseas. SGSC seminars complement the existing PPC Course and EPIC seminars at SIP.

SGSC sessions are self-contained professional development activities, and a supportive opportunity for clinicians to ‘learn from experience.’ Assistance is available for clinicians who want to follow a pathway of seminars to develop specific clinical interests, and consultation groups can be tailored to requests.

These groups explore the use of psychodynamic thinking in diverse areas, including clinical work with many types of patients (mother-infant, child, adolescent, couple, and adult work); clinical reading groups and pathways to training in short term psychodynamic psychotherapy; observational study groups and different types of small groups (inter-vision, and supervision) to facilitate the development of different perspectives.

Groups of 2-10 clinicians meet in person or by video-conference with a member of Sydney or Melbourne Institute for Psychoanalysis.


Ongoing Seminars

These ongoing seminars explore the work of a particular analyst and their theories on psychoanalysis. You can attend in person, or participate online by video-conference.

Mother-Infant, Child, Adolescent and Couples Work ↓

These seminars explore psychodynamic work with specific patient groups.

The Challenges of working with Adolescents & Children

Louise Hird, Wednesday fortnightly, 2.00 - 3.20pm, Pymble and via video conference.

These seminars will help clinicians working in hospital-based services, community health and/or private practice apply useful dynamic ideas in their day to day challenges of working with adolescents. These challenges often include presentations of self destructive behaviours combined with bodily expressions of anorexia, bulimia, cutting and substance abuse. The seminars will focus on adolescence and adolescent states of mind. Group participants will be encouraged to bring their clinical work and experiences.

Working with Mothers and Babies (clinical group)

Catherine Bailey, Thursday, fortnightly, 1.00 - 2.00pm, Pymble and via videoconference.

This small group seminar is run on a fortnightly basis. It offers a space for clinicians, who work with mothers and babies, to reflect on their work in a small group setting either on Zoom or in-room. Clinicians have an opportunity to present cases. Relevant papers are chosen from psychoanalytical and psychodynamic sources as well as from attachment theory, to enhance learning and a deeper understanding of this group of patients.

Clinical supervision group for clinicians working with children and adolescents.

Group Facilitators: Sonia Wechsler, Psychoanalyst & Steven Spielman, Child Psychiatrist Thursdays at 2.30 - 3.45pm, fortnightly in Paddington. In person or via videoconference

This is a clinical supervision group designed to assist clinicians working in public or private settings involved with children, adolescents and parents. This is a collaborative group and all levels of experience welcome.

Specialised Clinical Groups ↓

These seminars aim to assist newcomers to psychodynamic ideas and recently qualified practitioners to apply psychodynamic ideas in their work.

The Setting (Clinical Group)

Pam Shein, Monday fortnightly, 10.15—11.30am, Edgecliff or video-conference.

This group will benefit those who are working with adults, adolescents or children in a clinical, hospital, educational or health and welfare setting. This group will meet to discuss the optimal setting to enable a therapeutic encounter to take place. The analytic setting includes both a mental and physical setting. Discussion will centre around how to set up your consulting room, and understanding how the physical setting and the mental stance of the therapist forms the foundation of the frame needed for a psychotherapy. These topics will help clinicians think about how clients make use of the setting to communicate their inner feelings. Participants are invited to present clinical material and literature will be provided. This group will benefit those who are working with adults, adolescents or children in a clinical, hospital, educational or health and welfare setting.

From the Get Go for Clinical Psychologists & Psychiatrists (Work discussion group)

Mark Howard, first and third Wednesday of the month, 6.30—7.40pm Gordon, or video-conference.

These seminars are aimed at pre-qualifying and recently qualified clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, but other clinicians new to this way of working may also apply to join. The seminars will help clinicians working in hospital-based services, community health and/or private practice apply useful dynamic ideas in their day to day work. The aim is to build upon your pre-existing skills in models (such as CBT, DBT, ACT, schema therapy, narrative and family therapies, supportive and psychodynamic approaches.) The seminars will provide you with extra tools to address relational and contextual aspects of treatment - for example:

  • How to use your own experience of the patient in the room to inform formulation, diagnosis, and treatment planning.
  • How to talk to the patient who seems to be struggling with the assessment protocol you need to complete.
  • How to work with patients who are resistant to engage in therapy or change.
  • How to formulate patient difficulties within a psychodynamic frame.
  • Practical skills to understand and address the underlying emotions and meaning behind what a patient is telling you.
  • How to think about your place in the health system.

Seminars will take the form of informal group supervision. They will provide an open forum to discuss recent clinical experiences and obtain feedback from clinicians at a similar level of training and a seminar leader. No preparation is required to attend the groups. Each clinical presentation seminar is followed by a related reading seminar in which we discuss key clinical issues from a relevant paper.

Early Career Psychiatrists - what lies after letters and exams? (Work discussion group)

Group Facilitators: Louise Hird, Psychoanalyst & Lahvinya Kulaendra, Psychiatrist, fourth Thursday of every month. 7.00-8.30pm. Pymble, or via video-conference.

This seminar group will explore the early career experience of being a psychiatrist. We will discuss the often tough transition and look at what lies beyond exams and letters.

The aim is to discuss the challenges of being a new psychiatrist in whatever setting you find yourself. How do you manage the wide range of clinical and non clinical responsibilities that you didn’t learn about as a registrar?

The seminar group will look at every day clinical encounters (such as violence, medications, and ward conflicts) using a psychodynamic lens. It will explore the underlying psychological processes at play in decision making and explore how they impact various situations. It will also look at the reasons why some patients have a deep impact on us and try and understand the dynamics of acute wards.

We can also consider the issues around transitioning to private practice or building a therapy space in a public sector role.

No previous psychotherapy experience needed. Practitioners from any subspecialty and working in any setting are welcome. Some readings will be provided and participants will be encouraged to bring clinical cases and workplace encounters.

Observational Studies ↓

These seminars assist practitioners to develop observational skills that are very useful in all types of clinical work.

Infant Observation

Pam Shein, Tuesday, weekly, 10 - 11.30am, Edgecliff

Infant Observation is an experience for those who would like to deepen their understanding of how the infant grows over the first year of life. In the observation the participant learns to observe the infant in the home and discover how the inner world of the infant develops as well as observe relationship patterns begin to form between the infant and its mother or significant carer. The seminars are held in Edgecliff or via Zoom( if you do not reside in Sydney) are will be held on a weekly basis.

Psychoanalytic Thinkers ↓

These seminars explore the work of a particular psychoanalytic thinker and its application to clinical practice.

How do we become who we are? Personality Development: A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Louise Hird, Wednesday fortnightly 12.30 – 1.30pm; Pymble and via videoconference.

Personality Development: a psychoanalytic perspective by Hindle & Smith is a comprehensive overview of infant observation and personality development. It starts at interutero life and goes through to adulthood, focusing on the emotional tasks involved at each stage of development and the interplay of internal processes and external circumstances. Each fortnight a chapter or lecture from Hindle & Smith’s book will be discussed, and the central ideas will be explored using clinical and observational material.

Anne Alvarez’s “Live Company”: ways of reaching difficult patients in clinical practice

Karyn Todes, Friday fortnightly 12.45 - 2.00pm, Dover Heights, and via videoconference.

Anne Alvarez is a vibrant and interesting clinician whose theory is relevant to work with adults and children. Her papers offer fascinating, clinical vignettes that demonstrate examples of how she engages her patients in a tactful yet seemingly ordinary way. In this seminar we will read Anne’s “live company” and we will discuss the manner in which she manages to address difficult clinical encounters with her patient. We will explore how she goes about working as she does, and use our own clinical examples to discover how Alvarez’s ideas come to life in the participants consulting room.

Thomas Ogden: Helping patients reclaim “unlived lives” and use dreaming in the analytic space

Karyn Todes, Thursdays fortnightly 1 - 2.15 pm via videoconference.

This seminar will provide opportunity to explore the imaginative work of Thomas Ogden. Ogden is a novel and creative down to earth psychoanalyst who listens to his patients using his own vitality and dream life to inform his clinical interventions. His writings convey how he brings himself into being and in this way makes way for his patients to do same. This seminar will explore Ogden’s readings and aims to cultivate the practitioner’s own personhood in room with his/her patients. The objective is to use what is discovered in the seminar as a way of being with patients that is humane compassionate, and unique to each therapeutic relationship. It will be of interest to psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

Work Discussion and Balint groups ↓

These seminars offer different types of group discussion to explore and expand on the meaning of difficulties in clinical and work settings.

The Thinking Heart - using Anne Alvarez's ideas in clinical work

Mark Howard, Thursday fortnightly 1.40 - 3.00pm, via videoconference.

Anne Alvarez provides a different perspective on our development of a mind that can think and feel, with clear examples of how this pathway may fail to develop or be deflected. Seminars are arranged in groups of three: in the first seminar a chapter is read, in the second seminar clinical material is presented for discussion in the light of the chapter, and in the third seminar the chapter is revisited and reviewed in the light of the previous two seminars. This allows a good opportunity to mull over the central ideas in the chapter and to connect it with your clinical work.

Clinical Supervision Group

Louise Hird, Friday weekly, 9.00 - 10.00am, Pymble.

Available for supervision of work with adolescents and adults.

Supervision group for mental health professionals interested in and newer to psychoanalysis

Karyn Todes, Friday, fortnightly, 12.45- 2pm Dover Heights, and via videoconference.

This group is for any mental health professional wishing to discover how to listen to patients using a “psychoanalytic ear”. Level of experience is not a criteria for involvement. It is a suitable group for someone who is open to thinking in a new way about their work, and interested in learning more about the unconscious and its value in the consulting room.

A Fruitful Harvest - using Jeff Eaton’s ideas in clinical work

Mark Howard, Friday fortnightly 3.40 - 5.00pm; Gordon and via videoconference.

Jeff Eaton’s writings provide an accessible and welcoming path into the work of Bion, Tustin, and contemporary Kleinians, examined in the light of his Buddhist practice. Eaton aims to help clinicians and patients to 'build a floor for experience’ on which to repair disrupted development, especially due to trauma or deprivation. Each term a chapter of Eaton’s book will be discussed, and its central ideas will be explored in discussions of clinical work over the term.

Balint Group

Leonie Sullivan, open to expressions of interest for an in person group, and or a Zoom group, with day/time to be decided by group.

Balint groups can provide a setting, in which clinicians can explore the multiple layers of transference and countertransference, that unfold from point of first contact and assessment through to termination. Their use in both hospital and mental health settings is well documented.

The approach can be particularly useful for exploration of the dynamics of cases, where there may be dilemmas pertaining to boundary issues, ethical dilemmas or where there is something about a particular case that makes it difficult to think with this particular patient. They can assist in understanding “blind spots” in our work.

A Balint Group’s purpose is for the group to do the work of understanding the case, it is therefore important for the group to form around an agreement to take on this work and stick to its task of focusing on the relationship between the patient and helping professional. It is often only when the group takes on the work of the case, that what needs further thought /understanding becomes clear.

By paying careful attention to the setting of the frame for the group around the task of focusing the discussion on the relationship between patient and clinician, there is also an implied agreement that, just as with psychoanalysis a solution is not the primary aim of the work but may arise as the depth of understanding the material develops even after the group has ceased to meet.

A new ongoing group is in the process of forming, and expressions of interest are being sought. The time will be fixed around the expressions of interest. An all in person or all by zoom (video conferencing group) are both available. Please indicate your preferred mode for meeting and availability to attend a one off initial information session on a Saturday morning.

Please download and save the application form on your computer before completing and returning it by email to

Contact Catharine Bailey, Pam Shein or Mark Howard for more information

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