Post Graduate Programme

The Post Graduate Program: “Fundamentals of psychoanalytic practice with adults and children”

  • Combines theoretical and clinical practice
  • Gives theoretical knowledge of psychoanalytic psychotherapy
  • Introduces basic psychoanalytic views on the structure and functioning of the psyche
  • Introduces basic psychoanalytic views on the mental development and the specifics of working with adults and children
  • Gives basic knowledge and skills to master the psychoanalytic technique for understanding and evaluating the internal dynamics and personality organization in a patient
  • Gives the opportunity to practice psychoanalytical psychotherapy under supervision

The Program accepts those with a Bachelors and Masters Degree in: Psychology, Clinical Psychology, clinical social work, medicine and others. The duration of the project is 2 years (4 semesters). Admission is based on:

  1. Filling out an application
  2. Submitting a CV
  3. An interview

During the course of the program, students will participate in clinical work at the recovery center, consultation and psychotherapy. During the course of the mandatory internship, they will have the opportunity to take cases in counseling and psychotherapy. Supervision will be provided on occasion and participation in discussion groups on work with patients. The internship focuses on supporting specialists primarily observed in a clinical situation, to discuss and interpret using the tools of psychoanalysis to understand the functioning of the psyche.

The program is conducted by teachers from St. Kliment Ohridsky University in Sofia, as well as teachers from Animus Association Foundation.

Description of program content

The program introduces the fundamentals of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It introduces the fundamental concepts, which handles the psychoanalytic paradigm by unconscious processes, conflicts, transfer, countertransfer, resistances, defenses, etc. It gives a basis of knowledge and skills for the mastery of psychoanalytic technique in order to understand and evaluate the internal dynamics and personality organization in a patient; building a case formulation, conducting interventions, psychoanalytic and psychotherapy practice. The program introduces the stages of child development and development of adults through psychoanalytic pragmatism. It is based on age-specific patient characteristics seen as a psychoanalytic technique addressing: therapy and psychoanalytic therapy/counseling for parents and families.

Format and Duration

The program is structured around a theoretical (350 academic hours) and a clinical part (700 academic hours). Over the course of the program, students will be involved in clinical work at the Recovery Center, consultation and psychotherapy; and they will participate in clinical discussions and seminars. They will have the opportunity to take cases for consultation and psychotherapy. There will be supervised group work on cases and participation in groups for clinical discussion about work with patients. The full-time program is 2 years (4 semesters).


The program will be conducted by teachers from Animus Association Foundation with extensive clinical experience in the field of psychoanalytical psychotherapy and postgraduate qualifications in certain subjects in England and the Netherlands, as well as professors from the University of Sofia. Students enrolled in the program will have the opportunity to further participate in intensive clinical therapy seminars with experienced psychoanalysts children psychotherapists from England, the Holland Foundation, as they present their case studies at the center.


Prof. Vanya Matanova

Dr. Daniel Petrov

Prof. Dr. Ivan Dimitrov

Assistant Prof. Kamelia Hancheva

Assistant Prof. Diana Asenova Hristova

Maria Chomarova

Nadezhda Stoicheva

Nadia Kozhuharova

Katia Krastanova

Maria Eneva

Program Director

 From the University Of Sofia- Prof. Vanya Matanova

From Animus Association Foundation- Maria Chomarova

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the postgraduate education degree training may apply in person, under the following conditions:

*They have a university education- Bachelors or Masters degree in psychology, medicine, or other social services.

*Candidates for the training must have a grade-point average of no less than 4.50.

*Fluency in the English Language

There will be an interview for candidates.

Program Content

 Basic courses of the program include:

  1. Psychoanalytic technique and framework
    Speaker: Nadia Kozhuharova

30  Lecture hours + 30 hours of practical sessions (group discussions on clinical cases- case presentations.


The goal of the course is to introduce basic principles, concepts and understandings that underpin psychoanalysis as a therapeutic method. It represents the four schools of psychoanalysis (“the four analyzes”) the impulses of the ego, object of relations, self (Drive, Ego, Object, Self). It introduces psychoanalytical framework and the work with it in the course of the therapy. It acquaints students with the techniques and methods of psychoanalysis- the method of free association, analysis, transfer, and countertransfer, working with dreams, etc.

In seminars, student will have the opportunity to evaluate patients from the view of the four schools of psychoanalysis; to analyze the meaning of a breach of the psychoanalytic framework of the patient or therapist; to reflect on the meaning of free association and other psychoanalytic techniques.

The successful completion of the course offers knowledge and skills for practical application of the four major psychoanalytic paradigms in the assessment of psychopathology in patients. The course provides an understanding of the importance and introductory skills for handling psychoanalytic framework in dealing with patients, as well as basic psychoanalytic techniques.

The Program:

1. Psychoanalysis as a therapeutic method
2. The four schools of psychoanalysis
3. Psychotherapy of object relations
4. The concept of Bion of psychoanalytic thinking
5. British School of Psychoanalysis. The contribution of Melanie Klein
6. Indications for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
7. Freud’s technique
8. Early in the treatment process.
9. Meaning and function of psychoanalytic framework

 2.      Relationships in the therapeutic process

Speaker: Nadezhda Stoicheva

30 hours of lectures + 30 hours of practical sessions (group discussions on clinical cases – case presentations)


The course presents the therapeutic situation as a specific form of interaction between two people. Basic concepts of psychoanalytic process are considered – Transfer and countertransfer and their use in understanding the dynamics of unconscious processes in a patient. It introduces the concept of unconscious mechanisms of resistance and defenses against treatment. In the seminars, students will have the opportunity – based on specific clinical material – to observe events and analyze defined processes of transfer and counter-transfer, resistance and defense mechanisms.

Successful completion of the course involves understanding the psychoanalytic process as communication within framework which shows the relationship of the patient’s significant sites; reflection and work with the therapist’s own experiences in analytical work; understanding of the meaning of personal therapy as a cornerstone of psychoanalytic training.

The Program:

1. Projection and projective identification
2. Participation of the analyst in the analytic process. Use counter-transfer.
3. Normal counter-transfer some deviations
4. Counter-transfer negative.
5. Negative therapeutic reaction.
6. Using a transfer in the limited time dynamic psychotherapy
7. Some therapeutic or anti-therapeutic factors in the functioning of the analyst
8. Counter-transfer and the therapeutic relationship. Kleinian approach in method development
9. safeguards
10. Types and protect
11. Analysis of the negative therapeutic reaction
12. Analysis of the patient need to react (to act out) during therapy
13. Defenses against depressive anxiety

3.      Development and Psychology

Speaker: Maria Chomarova

30 hours of lectures + 30 hours of practical sessions (group discussions on clinical cases – case presentations)


The course presents psychoanalytical understanding in the early stages od child development and their influence in forming structure of personality. It presents therapeutic work with infantile parts of the personality organization of adults. It introduces the understanding of psychopathology as a problem of development (developmental arrest) or deficit.

In seminars, students will be able to assess and analyze the pathology of the patient in terms of their personal development.

Successful completion of the course requires an understanding of the phases of development according to psychoanalytic theory and possible pathology as a result of disturbances in the development process; skills needed to distinguish the pre-oedipal and oedipal pathology in patients and work with them.

The Program:

1. Psychoanalytic theories of child development and its disorders
2. Pre-object relations.
3. Monitoring babies in psychoanalytic training
4. The observation of mother-infant interaction and the development of knowledge and       skills in psychoanalytic therapy
5. primary sites
6. Early childhood: containment and reverie
7. Early childhood: protect against pain
8. The role of the father in early childhood development
9. Phase and oedipal conflict
10. Family Circle – brothers and sisters
11. Latency. Sexual development during the years of latency
12. Normal development of seven – ten year old
13. Psychoanalytic approach to borderline disorders
14. Developmental factors in the formation of borderline personality organization.
15. Schizoid phenomena in the borderline personality organization
16. Narcissistic organization, projective identification and identity formation

4.      Neo Psychoanalytic Theories of Adult Development

Speaker: Prof. Diana Hristova

45 hours


The goal of the course is to introduce student to theories of adult development, reflecting the integration of neo psychoanalytical models in modern developmental psychology throughout the lifespan. Age-related transformations in personality are analyzed, the sense of identity and vital structure in the context of changing roles and relationships. This knowledge is a necessary basis for the establishment of a conceptual framework designed to explain the psychological crises in adult life and develop their understanding of the multi-factorial nature determined. Along with descriptive dimensions of crises, the course offers explanatory models of the processes and mechanisms conducive to adaptive changes in the course of individual development.


  1. Modern developmental psychology during the course of life: key assumptions and explanatory concepts, main dimensions to define age and human development.
  2. From psychosexual to psychosocial: Erik Erikson’s contribution to the enrichment of the psychoanalytical model of development.
  3. The crisis of identity in the historical context of dynamic societies: extended adolescence or adulthood awakening?
  4. Continuity and change in the development of identity and relationships through successive crises in adult life: intimacy, generativeness and ego-integrity (Erik Erikson). Importance of intergenerational mutuality of human development.
  5. Modern development of the views of Erik Erikson: a narrative approach. Generativeness components and features of the generative story (Dan McAdams).
  6. Relational perspective on the development of female identity. The ethics of care (Carol Giligan).
  7. Analytical psychology: the process of individuation (Carl Jung).
  8. Life cycle and life course of individuals. Age changes in the individual life structure and adaptive potential (Daniel Levansan). Dimensions of individuation through the transition in the middle of life. Differential specificity of male and female psychosocial development.
  9. Procedural approach: development of defenses in adulthood (George Veylant).
  10. The process of transformation of personality in adult life. Stages in the development of self-determination and subjective worldview (Roger Gould). Gender differences in the processing of the illusion in transition in the middle of life.

 5.      Loss, Grief and Mourning in Development

Speaker: Assistant Prof. Kamelia Hancheva

30 hours of lectures + 15 hours of practical sessions (discussion of cases, case history) + 15 hours working on personal history


The course introduces the basic conceptualizations of loss in mental development from the perspective of psychoanalytic theory, attachment theory and systemic approaches in transgenerations. In the context of monitoring the development of theoretical constructs, participants are introduced to various phenomena in the development and function in normal and pathological and form the basis for utilizing consultative and therapeutic work loss and mourning. Emphasis is placed on the importance of losses in different phases and contexts of development. Seminars are held in the form of work on case studies and broader historical fiction and film material.

The goal is the acquisition of basic knowledge of the dynamics of mental loss and analytical skills to interpret the observed processes. Successful completion of the course involves learning practical skills for counseling in situations of loss and grieving children, adults and families, and referral to appropriate services and institutions for applied problems requiring specialized intervention.


1. Classical psychoanalytic interpretation of loss – Z. Freud – Sadness and melancholy.
2. Attachment, separation and loss in the constitution and functioning of the affective domain and the emotional development of J. Bowlby.
3. Grief, loss and mourning in light of the depressive position M. Klein.
4. The value of depressive phenomena in normal emotional development D. Winnicott.

5. Loss and Identity in epigenetic paradigm E. Erickson.
6. Intergenerational patterns of traumatic loss. Family scenarios.
7. Cultural variations and determinants of grief and mourning.
8. Loss, grief and mourning in psychopathology.
9. Loss in children in the first two years of life.
10. Mourning in childhood depressive symptoms.
11. Loss and grief in adults.
12. Sadness, depression and mourning.

Formation of Symbols and Symbolism; Interpretation of dreams

Speaker: Maria Eneva

30 hours of lectures + 15 hours practical classes


The course introduces the psychoanalytical concept of sleep and dreaming as mechanisms for treatment of mental conflict. It introduces the role and function of dreams in understanding the inner world and the mental body of the patient. Lay the base for the development of the ego ability to form characters and tracks deviations and inhibitions in the capacity of symbolism. During the seminars, students will have the opportunity to observe and analyze the symbolic material in direct therapeutic work with patients. In the clinical group discussions, students will be able to acquire analytical skills to interpret the symbolic production of the patient.


1. Dreams in clinical psychoanalytic practice
2. Study of dreams and dream analysis
3. Function of Dreams
4. Dreams, fantasy and art
5. Inability to dream
6. Fundamentals of formation of symbols
7. Character Formation and development of the ego
8. Formation of Character and creativity
9. The role of illusion in symbol formation
10. symbolism


Analytic Techniques For Working With Children

Speaker: Katia Krastanova

30 hours of lectures + 15 hours practical classes


The course introduces the process and specificity in the evaluation of child psychoanalytic therapy practice. It introduces function of the game in child development and the use of gaming techniques as the primary method for therapeutic work with children. It also introduces work with parents as an integral part of the treatment of the child, focusing on different aspects of these relations and their impact on the therapeutic process.

Successful completion of the course involves building practical skills in the use of gaming technology in the process of counseling and therapy for children, and an understanding of the role and place of therapeutic work with parents.


1. Therapeutic process in psychoanalytic treatment of children
2. Evaluation of psychotherapy for children
3. Assessment of children who have experienced deprivation, multiple trauma and loss
4. Research on family
5. Psychoanalytic technique game
6. Use toys and games in communication with the child
7. Thinking about a room with toys
8. Treatment of parents
9. Therapeutic space for re-creation of the child in mind for parents
10. Keeping the child in mind. Working with parents of children in therapy

8.      Analytical Psychotherapy For Adolescents

Speaker: Maria Chomarova

30 hours of lectures + 15 hours practical classes


It deals with adolescence as a specific period in the development of ego and personality formation. Focuses on the key security mechanisms used in dealing with intense inner anxiety in adolescence, introduces areas of behavior, relationships with others, the perception of ourselves and the world which is central in the construction of identity. It introduces the characteristics and technical challenges using psychoanalytic technique for dealing with internal conflicts during this age period.

Upon completion of the course students should have developed skills to assess the main conflicts of adolescence, the inhibitions in their resolve and their relationship to previous stages of development. Students will have practical skills in the use of the psychoanalytic method in working with adolescents.


1. Adolescence
2. Ego in adolescence
3. Late Adolescence
4. Protective mechanisms in adolescence
5. Assessment of risk in adolescent self-harm
6. Acting out, rebellion and violence
7. Adolescence and delinquency
8. Masturbative fantasies and sexual organization
9. The image of the body and body ownership
10. “Permanent revolution” of generations
11. Secondary process of individuation in adolescence

 9.      Attachment Theory as a Conceptual Framework For the Study of Human Development, Close Relationships and Personality Pathology

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Petrov
30 hours of lectures


Attachment theory in recent decades developed as a research framework with a wide range of applications to close relationships, emotional dynamics, and evolutionary roots of couple and family development and psychopathology of affective ties.

The course presents the development of this approach in historical perspective with emphasis on interpersonal dynamics, intimacy and dysfunctional relationship.

Trainees are introduced to the principles of clinical interventions offered by this theory in terms of relationships, violence and personality pathology. It is envisaged that there will be an introduction using a questionnaire to survey the quality of close relationships ECR-R (Fraley, Waller & Brennan, 2000).

Successful completion of the course requires mastery of specific terminology of attachment theory and its explanatory models and empirical principles and its clinical application in psychological studies of human development throughout the life cycle.


1. Attachment theory – links with psychoanalysis, object relations theory, intersubjectivity, ethology and evolutionary psychology. Similarities and distinctions of psychoanalysis. Theory of motivation and / or theory of personality?
2. The system of attachment in childhood: studies of J. Bowlby and M. Ainsworth.
3. Attachment in infancy. Continuity and stability of internal operating models – sources intergenerational transmission mechanisms of continuity.
4. Biological foundations of the system of attachment. Influence of the neuroendocrine system in the formation and maintenance of interpersonal affection.
5. Style, orientation, status, quality, type / prototype representation of affection – an attempt to clarify terminology.

6. Attachment as a system for the regulation of affect, stress and emotions.
7. Attachment and sexuality.
8. Styles of attachment, self-regulation and interpersonal problems. Research the characteristics and quality of intimate relationships. Tools for assessing adherence in adults.
9. Attachment and genesis of violence.
10. Applications of attachment theory: integration of developmental and clinical tradition. Attachment styles and their clinical manifestations.
11. Attachment theory as an explanatory model for personality disorders. Disorders of attachment. Models of clinical intervention.
12. Attachment theory and therapeutic framework. Insecure attachment, dysfunctional relationship. Therapeutic interventions from the perspective of attachment (Attachment therapy). Application to genetic counseling.

10.  Application of Psychoanalytic Method

Speaker: Nadia Kozhouharova
30 lecture hours + 15 hours practical classes


The course aims to present the use of the psychoanalytic method in understanding and evaluating the internal dynamics and functioning of the individual and build a case formulation. It introduces the principles and specifics of using psychoanalytic techniques and methods in the context of different therapeutic interventions, such as long-term and short-term psychoanalytic therapy, crisis intervention, counseling and more.
During the seminars, students will have the opportunity to experience case work in various formats of counseling and therapy, and will participate in discussions of clinical cases that are in crisis intervention, counseling and long-term psychoanalytic therapy .

Successful completion of the course requires learned skills in the use of the psychoanalytical method of assessing and planning interventions in various areas of direct work with patients.


1. Assessment and formulation in the case, including post-traumatic conditions
2. Long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy
3. Focused / short-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy
4. crisis intervention
5. Clinical and social work or counseling

 11.  Suicide Risk and Crisis Management in Children and Adolescents

Speaker: Ivan Dimitrov

30 Lectures


In the proposed course, the subjects of discussion are suicidal risks and crises which are growing more frequent in our country, though still far from the “epidemic” nature in some industrialized countries. The course aims to familiarize students with the various external and internal factors of suicidal direction, and the mechanisms through which they are translated into action motives of its implementation. It reveals the various categories of warning signs / verbal, non-verbal, behavioral, syndromic/ warning, self-destructive intentions and able to be used by psychologists to practice timely, preventive care.

There are models and typologies of self-destructive behavior and psychological profile of children and adolescents with suicidal purposes. Special attention is paid to the content, principles, forms and stages of practical psychologists working in the field of prevention, intervention and postvention to children and youth.


1. Theories of suicide / Dyurkeym, Freud Shneydman, Lyuinsan /;
2. Variations of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers – myths and facts;
3. Suicidal behavior as an expression of internal factors / psychiatric diagnoses and vulnerable physical health, identity and values, cognitive style, copying skills, etc. /.
4. Suicidal behavior in response to external environmental factors / trauma, loss, abuse, mistreatment, neglect, family crises, setbacks, unfortunate relationships with peers and others. /
5. Models of the development of suicidal behavior and typology of suicidal children and adolescents;
6. Warning signs of suicidal orientation in children and adolescents;
7. Principles, forms and means of prevention, intervention and postvention of children and youth from suicide;
8. Suggested topics for research and practical work of students

For more information:
“Animus Association”
Contact Person: Anna Milanova
Tel. 983 52 05, 983 53 05