Certificate Courses

Contemporary Psychoanalytic Social Work Practice

In our yearlong postgraduate certificate course program, clinicians, social workers, and community practitioners learn to deepen their work by using core psychoanalytic ideas to think about themselves, their clients, and the settings in which they practice.

We believe that as social workers are increasingly called upon to do more with less, it is crucial that we offer opportunities for social workers to think both meaningfully and critically about our work. This unique program centers on the practice of social work and emphasizes how psychoanalytic theory and concepts can help social workers to reflect more critically and meaningfully on their work. Upon completing an academic year of didactic coursework and case conferences, students receive a certificate in psychoanalytic social work practice.


The Fall 2023–Spring 2024 cohort is currently in session. Stay tuned for updates on applications for the next cohort by signing up for our newsletter below!


Applications for the Fall 2024 – Spring 2025 certificate program will open May 31st, 2024. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Sue Fairbanks Academy welcomes all applicants and encourages anyone who 1) is practicing as a clinician or social worker/case manager in a social work or related field and 2) has an MSW, BSW or related degree to apply. This program is designed for clinicians, clinical case managers, and those working in a range of settings (e.g., private practice, community mental health, etc.).

This course uses psychoanalytic and sociopolitical theories to understand and explore how to practice meaningfully as social workers. Because social workers practice in a wide range of settings and with a variety of people, the course is organized according to areas of practice and problems that social workers often try to address within them.

The curriculum is divided into five modules, each consisting of five class meetings taught by one or two instructors. Each module emphasizes salient aspects of psychoanalytic theories applied to social work practice. The five modules are:

• Critical social work and psychoanalysis – Reckoning with our roots
• The inner worlds of individuals and groups
• Agency and organizational life
• The sociopolitical realm
• Surviving and thriving in social work

Each course consists of 25 online class meetings (50 hours of learning/CEUs) over the course of one academic year, September through May. Each cohort is limited to 12 students to ensure ample time for class discussion, case examples, and group reflection.

Course Outline

Course Outline

For more information, see SFPA Certificate Program Details.

The course consists of 25 online class meetings, one evening per week, over the course of one academic year. The Fall 2023–Spring 2024 cohort is currently in session. Sign up for our newsletter for updates on applications for the next cohort!

Fall 2024 tuition is $2,250, which can be paid in one or two installments. Upon acceptance into the program, a non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to secure a spot. The deposit is applied to the total cost of tuition.

A 30% discount will be available for up to 4 students who work for a community/non-profit or public service agency (e.g. Child Protective Services, community mental health centers, homeless or veterans’ agencies, etc.).

Learn more in our virtual open house