How to Become a Psychoanalytic Psychologist

Psychoanalytic psychology, also known as psychoanalysis, is a school of thought that studies how the unconscious mind affects behavior. Psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist whose case studies and research had a great impact on our understanding of psychology and human development. This school of thought theorizes that behavior is controlled by the id, the ego, and the super ego. Psychoanalysts believe that behavior is also controlled by conscious and unconscious conflict. Professional psychoanalysts help patients make changes in their lives by helping them grain a greater degree of self-awareness. By talking and asking questions, psychoanalysts give their patients the opportunity to understand the origin of the difficulties in their lives.

What degree is required to become a psychoanalytic psychologist?

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) accredits colleges and universities that offer psychoanalytical training programs. Many APsaA-accredited programs require applicants to already be practicing psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or other mental health clinicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most clinical or counseling psychologists need a doctoral degree and a state license, so those looking to enter the field of psychoanalysis will already have a doctorate degree and be practicing psychologists.

Psychoanalysis programs emphasize clinical work and may last as long as four years. In addition to clinical work, these programs may include study in clinical psychoanalysis ethics, child development, developments in psychoanalytic theory, and neuro-psychoanalysis. Since these programs place a heavy emphasis on clinical experience, there are no accredited online psychoanalysis psychology degree programs available. The APA provides a list of accredited institutions.

How long does it take to become a psychoanalytic psychologist?

It may take as many as four years of training in a psychoanalysis program, on top of the time required to get a doctoral degree, to become a psychoanalytic psychologist. Students in a psychoanalysis program attend classes, participate in supervised clinical sessions, and may even undergo a personal psychoanalysis of their own. Psychoanalytical training is meant to enhance a practicing psychologist?s therapeutic techniques.

What is a psychoanalytic psychologist’s salary?

Psychoanalysts can work as psychiatrists or psychologists. According to the BLS, psychologists earned a median annual salary of $68,640 in May 2010. Since the BLS doesn?t include the salaries of psychoanalytic psychologists in its data, these salary figures may not be precise. In addition, the data is no guarantee of salary, which is determined by such factors as location, employer, and the employee?s credentials.