Training at Access Institute

Welcome to Access Institute.  Here you will find information about our mission, goals, and our rich and varied training opportunities.  We welcome applications from pre-doctoral psychology interns, as well as from post-masters interns in social work and marriage and family therapy. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Training, Ruth Simon, Ph.D. at

Application Procedures

Our Mission

Access Institute is committed to making quality mental health care affordable to Bay Area residents, particularly to those individuals and families who fall within the broad gap between those eligible for publicly-funded mental health programs and the more affluent who have adequate insurance or the financial means to afford treatment.  Along with providing direct service, Access Institute is committed to providing psychoanalytically-oriented clinical training and supervision to clinicians seeking licensure in a mental health discipline.

Our Vision

We believe there are large numbers of people who can benefit from psychological treatment that is more intensive, focuses on the therapeutic process, and considers unconscious dynamics along with socio-cultural forces.  We believe the main reason that many are not getting this kind of treatment is that it has not been affordable to them.

We provide services which have no time limit, and in which a patient can see the same therapist for up to two years in a row.  Services are designed to meet the patient’s needs, and if more intensive therapy is indicated, multiple visits per week can be arranged.  To ensure that treatment is affordable, services are offered on an income-based sliding scale.

We recognize that in order to increase access to care we must provide therapy at locations where those in need are already receiving other related services. To that end we not only provide psychological services at our Hayes Valley clinic, but also at two local elementary schools, and an adult day health center.  Access to therapy also means offering therapy in a patient’s native language when possible.  Access Institute currently offers therapy in both English and Spanish.

Finally, it is our vision that Access Institute’s training programs, integrating psychoanalytic approaches, a community focus, and a dedication to working with the underserved, will graduate clinicians who will carry this commitment with them as a part of their enduring professional identity.

Psychoanalytic Psychology Internship Program

Two cohorts of ten interns participate in an intensive program where half of the 24 hour per week commitment is comprised of supervision and didactic training from some of the Bay Area s top clinicians. This internship begins July 1, 2014 and ends June 30, 2016 and pays a yearly stipend of $8000 for pre-doctoral interns and $6000 for post-Masters interns. Interns in this program receive 1200 internship hours per year, for a total of 2400 hours.

Interns spend up to 12 hours per week providing direct clinical services in their first year of training and up to 14 hours per week in their second year. This can include individual therapy for adults, adolescents, and children, as well as therapy with couples and families.  The psychodynamic approach supports the use of more frequent sessions, and many patients are seen at the clinic two and three times per week.  Four interns spend up to 6 of their clinical hours at a local K-5 elementary school providing play therapy to child patients, and consulting with parents, teachers and school staff. In addition, four interns will provide individual and group therapy to seniors at Bayview Hunter's Point Adult Day Health Center.

All trainees receive at least two hours of individual supervision and attend four one and a half hour seminars per week in the first year of training. In the second year, there are three seminars, making room for interns to gain additional clinical experience. Seminars are progressive throughout the two year period and are designed to facilitate the building of clinical thinking and skills. Interns also attend the weekly staff meeting where, in addition to covering general clinic business, they have the opportunity to consult on cases with the clinic's prescribing psychiatrist and participate in Care Team where patients in need of adjunctive services are discussed.

Interns’ weekly time commitment will include:

  • Direct patient services, up to 12 hours per week in the first year and 14 in the second year.
  • Attending all required didactic training seminars. Attending a weekly staff meeting.
  • Meeting weekly with the primary on-site supervisor for one hour.
  • Meeting weekly with the adjunct supervisor for one hour.
  • Maintaining all clinic paperwork.
  • Attending all in-house Grand Rounds presentations.
  • Attending and completing other assigned activities related to training and patient care.


Classes for interns in the 2014-2016 training group will be held weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays  from 10:15 – 11:45 and 1:10 - 2:30.
Other seminars and required meetings occur on Tuesdays.

Curriculum overview

This sequence of courses follows a developmental trajectory, starting with basic principles, beginning treatment and formulation, and becoming more specific, with classes in working with special populations, like children and couples and ending with a course on termination.  The theoretical sequence begins with Freud and continues through Contemporary Object Relations.  Additionally, courses include Substance Abuse and Trauma, as these are common problems in the community mental health population served in our clinic.  We place special emphasis on Sociocultural Processes in each and every class, in addition to having a designated course which addresses this topic alone.  The case conference is designed to follow a developmental process, whereby in the first semester, the students focus on case formulation and diagnosis and in the second semester, the focus is more on issues that arise once treatment is established. This sequence of courses continues the developmental trajectory that was started in their first year of training.  Human Development is taught, the sequence in psychoanalytic theory is completed and technique specific courses are included having to do with ending treatments.  The case conference continues the developmental process, and the students become more and more collegial and collaborative, with less structure provided by the instructor as the sequence goes on. In addition, in the second year of training an optional dissertation writing group is offered to support interns in finishing their dissertations before the end of internship.

First Year Courses

·      Diagnosis, Formulation and Intake Conference
·      Seminal Papers in Psychoanalysis
·      Psychoanalytic Technique in a Community Clinic
·      Interdisciplinary Teamwork
·      Sociocultural Processes
·      Introduction to Child Treatment
·      Introduction to Couple’s Therapy
·      Psychoanalytic Theory
·      Freud/Ego Psychology
·      Klein/Bion
·      Substance Abuse
·      Psychological Effects of Trauma
·      Transference/Countertransference
·      Case Conference

Second Year Courses

·      Lifespan Development
·      Psychoanalytic Theory
·      Winnicott/British Object Relations
·      Relational/Intersubjectivity
·      Contemporary Object Relations
·      Gender Identities and Sexualities
·      Ethics
·      Termination
·      Faculty Presentation
·      Case Conference

Interns in the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy program participate in one of the four following programs:

School-based Child program (two year commitment)
In addition to working with patients at the Access Institute Clinic, interns in the Psychoanalytic Psychology Internship Program can apply to receive additional training and experience in child treatment, including psychodynamic play therapy at a public elementary school. Each year, two first-year interns are accepted into this program to provide individual child therapy, group therapy, family therapy and staff consultation at either Grattan School or Hillcrest School. These interns also receive additional individual supervision focusing on school based, psychodynamic treatment. Interns who are interested in receiving supervision in child psychotherapy, but who do not want to be part of the school-based program are welcome to apply to the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Internship.

Elder Psychology Program (two year commitment)
In addition to working with patients at the Access Institute Clinic, interns can apply to receive additional training and experience in working with elder patients. Each year, two first year interns are accepted into this program, which includes psychodynamically informed individual, group and milieu work at the Bayview Adult Day Health Center. These interns receive additional individual supervision focusing on working with older patients, including learning about medical issues and neuropsychological issues associated with aging.

Psychological Testing (one year commitment, usually in the first year)
Some of the interns in the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy program choose to participate in the psychological assessment and testing rotation. Interns in this program receive focused training in assessment and testing and complete a minimum of four testing batteries over the course of the year. Two of their 12 clinical hours per week are devoted to assessment. Assessments include testing for differential psychiatric diagnosis, learning ability, ADHD, cognition, memory, and dementia.  Interns are responsible for interviewing, test administration, scoring and report writing. Weekly on-site supervision includes didactic instruction in assessment, and training in test administration and interpretation and external supervision is provided when the intern is completing a test battery. Tests include: WAIS-IV, WMS-IV, MMPI-2, WISC-IV, Rorschach, T.A.T., Rey Complex Figure, Wisconsin Card Sorting, Conners Continuous Performance Test, Dementia Rating Scale, California Verbal Learning Test, and Woodcock Johnson among others.  

Intake Assessment (one or two year commitment usually starting in the first year)
Interns also have the choice to participate in intake services.  In this rotation, interns provide two hours per week of direct service providing telephone intake and assessment. Responsibilities include: fielding calls from applicants for therapy and testing services, providing initial telephone assessment and screening, providing applicants who are not appropriate for services a referral to a suitable agency and consulting with the Director of Clinical Services on case assignments. All interns involved in intake screening participate in a one-hour weekly intake conference with the Director of Clinical Services to receive group supervision on intake assessment.  

Bilingual Services
Access Institute provides therapy in both English and Spanish and strongly encourages applications from Spanish bilingual interns.

We make every effort to train intern groups that reflect the diversity of the populations we serve and encourage applications from minority graduate students.

Supervising and Teaching Faculty

Paul Alexander, Ph.D., Michelle Baker, Psy.D., Walt Beckman, Ph.D.,
Joanna Berg, Ph.D., Victor Bonfilio, Ph.D., Heather Bornfeld, Ph.D.,
Susan Boxer, Ph.D., Laurie Case, Ph.D., Reyna Cowan, Psy.D.,
Judy Curtis, Psy.D., Vivian Dent, Ph.D., Robin Deutsch, Ph.D.
Luca di Donna, Ph.D., Michael Donnell, Psy.D., Diane Donnelly, Ph.D., Michael Donner, Ph.D.,
Nancy Drooker, Ph.D., Shannon Dubach, Psy.D., Garrick Duckler, M.F.T.,
Audrey Dunn, L.C.S.W., Genie Dvorak, Psy.D., Julie Friend, L.C.S.W.,
Francisco Gonzalez, M.D., Gary Grossman, Ph.D., Jack Giuliani, Ph.D., Jeanne Harasemovitch, LCSW,
Andrew Harlem, Ph.D., Stephen Hartman, Ph.D., Nancy Hollander, Ph.D., Linda Hornbostel, Ph.D.,
Marian Joycechild, Ph.D., Israel Katz, Ph.D., Phyllis Kempner, Ph.D., Elizabeth Kita, L.C.S.W.,
Susan Kolodny, D.M.H., Adam Kremen, Ph.D., Clara Kwun, L.C.S.W., Julie Leavitt, M.D.,
Billie Lee Violette, L.C.S.W., Psy.D., Scott Lines, Ph.D.,
Era Loewentstein, Ph.D., Sheila Longerbeam, M.F.T., Stephen Lugar, Psy.D.,
Avvy Mar, Ph.D., Patricia Marra, M.F.T., Eric Morganthaler, Ph.D.,
Mahima Muralidharan, Psy.D., Ana Noles, Psy.D., Steve Portuges, Ph.D.,
Deanna Reardon, Psy.D., Lisa Roth, Psy.D., Megan Rundel, Ph.D.,
Ellen Salwen, Ph.D., Laurel Samuels, Ph.D., Celeste Schneider, Ph.D.,
Regina Shields, Ph.D., Lee Slome, Ph.D., Beth Steinberg, Ph.D.,
Laurel Terens, Ph.D., Noa Tidhar, Ph.D., Meghan Tiedeman-Fuller, Ph.D.
Bruce Weitzman, M.F.T., Abby Wolfson, Ph.D., Danny Yu, M.S.W.

Application Procedures


Access Institute is a member of APPIC and will be participating in the APPIC online match. Applicants must register for the match using the online registration system at: Please indicate the track to which you're applying in your cover letter. If you are applying to the assessment track, please include an assessment report as a supplement to your application.


·      All applications will be submitted by November 30, 2013.
·      Applicants will be notified of their interview status by December 15, 2013.
·      Rank order lists are due on Feb. 5, 2014.
·      Match I Results will be available on February 21, 2014.

If Access Institute still has internship openings available, we will participate in the second APPIC match.


·      Applications will be submitted by February 27, 2014.
·      Rank order lists are due by March 17, 2014.
·      Match II results will be available on March 24, 2014.

Access Institute is not participating in the CAPIC I match this year. If we do not fill all our openings for pre-doctoral interns through the APPIC I match, we will participate in APPIC II and possibly CAPIC II matches.


Applications from Masters level students will be submitted directly to the training program by Friday, January 3, 2014. Decisions about post-Masters applicants will be made by Friday, March 7, 2014. To apply, please include: a cover letter, resume/curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, an autobiographical essay and an essay describing your theoretical orientation to:

Ruth Simon, Ph.D.
Director of Training, Access Institute
110 Gough Street
San Francisco , CA   94102