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Relationally Focused Psychodynamic Therapy Post-Graduate Certificate

Cultivate a relational embodiment of clinical theory and practice.

2 years

4 intensive retreats

32 consultation sessions

Did you become a therapist because you believe in the power of relationship, but feel discouraged from that posture by your clinical education or workplace ethos? Are you feeling isolated in your work and seeking community? Do you feel weary and long for renewal and vitality? Do you desire a deeper understanding of psychodynamic theory in practice?

Our Relationally-Focused Psychodynamic Therapy program exists to address the problems of isolation, alienation, and absence that so deeply impact humanity—an experience from which the person of the therapist is far from immune. It teaches encounter and deep connection as it fosters belonging and vitality.

Our core belief is that through authentic relationship we become more fully alive—and that when you enliven the self of the therapist, you enliven the therapy, and that enlivens the client, who in turn enlivens their community.

RFPT is a deeply experiential learning experience that fosters an embodied understanding of psychodynamic psychotherapy. The learning frame always begins with a case, which shifts the learning from the head to the body and heart.

Our program is rooted in a layered, mentorship model. It begins with an immersive retreat where you’ll lean into rich, intentional community with your cohort, as well as with clinicians in the second year of the program and third-year apprentices. The program continues with bi-weekly clinical consultation groups where you’ll expand your clinical mind in community and bi-monthly meetings for the entire cohort, where you’ll participate in case presentations and dialogue with Dr. Roy Barsness, our seasoned clinical team, and your colleagues.
Each year concludes with another immersive retreat with ample space to deepen the work and your community.

Begin Your Application

Theory & Approach

Dr. Roy Barsness developed Relationally Focused Psychodynamic Therapy from his qualitative research conducted in the realm of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The result of that research culminated in his collaborative book, Core Competencies of Relational Psychoanalysis: A Guide to Practice, Study, and Research (Routledge, 2017).

At its core, Relationally Focused Psychodynamic Therapy is a psychotherapy modality that believes people change through relationship. The training program is designed to deepen a psychotherapist’s capacity to work directly within the therapeutic dyad as the primary instrument towards change, and to develop theoretical and practical skills in the delivery of a relationally-focused treatment.

No two therapists work in the same fashion, and given the uniqueness of each relationship and the working through of what happens in that relationship, it must be so. This training provides an in-depth exploration of:

  • How we position ourselves (therapeutic intent/therapeutic stance)
  • How we reflect (deep listening to the conscious and unconscious dynamics that naturally occur between patient and therapist, attending to the there and then/here and now, patterning/linking)
  • How we engage (repetition/working through and courageous speech/disciplined spontaneity)

These practices serve as a conciliatory “map” for practice, while at the same time acknowledging and appreciating the uniqueness of each relational dyad and the organic nature of our work.

Trained to appreciate and acknowledge difference within common practices, participants
will discover that the model is adaptable to other populations and in the delivery of diverse psychological services. Participants are also offered an ethical model essential to a relational perspective, that values integrity and considers the dignity of the other in the delivery of their services.

Tapping into your greatest clinical tool—your presence.

Through this post-graduate program you will:

  • Enliven as a person and as a practitioner
  • Experience connection and belonging in community with other relationally-oriented clinicians
  • Develop an embodied practice of Relationally-Focused Psychodynamic Therapy through robust supervision, mentorship, and case consultation
  • Return to your why as a therapist and experience a great sense of freedom and authenticity in your work
  • Develop skills for connecting to and following your intuition
  • Deepen your self-reflective capacity in community
  • Cultivate a way of being in relationship with your client—beyond a theory or technique

“We hold to an understanding that we are conceived in relationship, formed in relationship, harmed in relationship, and transformed through relationship. Therefore, RFPT therapists are trained to attend to the dynamics between patient and therapist. The post-graduate certificate program is designed to deepen a psychotherapist’s capacity to work directly within the therapeutic dyad as the primary instrument towards change and to develop theoretical and praxis skills in the delivery of a relationally-focused treatment.”

Dr. Roy Barsness Meet Dr. Roy Barsness

Your Experience

The two-year design is intentional: we believe embodied learning is relational, and that time and space to integrate is necessary.


The heart of this program is community. This isn’t another training. We begin and end each year with a rich, intimate, immersive retreat. Through these gatherings you will experience:

  • Connection, community, and collaboration
  • Robust case consultation in layered learning spaces (all years of program) and intimate consultation spaces (subgroups of 4-5 members of your cohort)
  • Reflective learning in dialogue with Dr. Roy Barsness and other seasoned clinicians/trainers
  • Delicious, spacious meals with hearty conversation
  • Space for rest, reflection, and play

We intentionally choose retreat spaces that are also enlivening. Your program fee covers the full cost of the retreat including: instructor fees, group spaces, room and board, meals, and materials. All participants will have their own room.

Our 2022-23 retreats will be:

Clinical Consultation

Working with cases is at the core of our experiential model. Rather than offering instruction from a top down model, we begin with a client and allow their experience to expand our minds.

At the fall retreat, you will have the opportunity to meet your clinical consultation group of 4-5 fellow colleagues and your consultant, a seasoned clinician who has received supervision and mentorship from Dr. Barsness over many years. Together you will gather bi-weekly for 16, 100-minute clinical consultation sessions.

You will forge relationships and through collaboration and vulnerability you will grow as people and as clinicians. Through presenting cases and listening to cases you will receive skilled consultation, mentorship, and community to deepen your capacity as a clinician and enliven your work with clients.

Clinical Consultation groups meet virtually so you can join from the comfort of your home or office no matter where you are based! Exact timing for group meetings will be determined by the availability of the consultant and group members.

All-Cohort Meetings

Every other month, you will gather virtually with the full RFTP community: Dr. Roy Barness, the clinicians/trainers, apprentices, year 1 and year 2 cohort members. These gatherings will begin with engaging a case, deepen learning through dialogue and Q&A time, and strengthen community ties among consultation groups and between retreats.

Learning Materials

You will receive a copy of Core Competencies of Relational Psychoanalysis: A Guide to Practice, Study, and Research by Dr. Roy Barsness and access to a library of articles and resources to support your learning and development.

Continuing Education Units

Each year of the program you will earn 90 seat hours—32 through clinical consultation groups, 10 through all cohort learning gatherings, and 48 through two immersive retreats.


Completion of this two year program certifies you as a Relationally-Focused Psychodynamic Therapist.


Choosing to enroll in this immersive, relationally-oriented certification program creates a financial commitment. To make this offering as accessible as possible we provide a payment plan that breaks the annual cost of the program into 12 installments of $525. A non-refundable, non-transferrable $550 deposit is required to secure your seat at the time of enrollment.

Choosing to enroll in this immersive, relationally-oriented certification program creates a financial commitment. To make this offering as accessible as possible we provide a payment plan that breaks the annual cost of the program into 12 installments of $525. A non-refundable, non-transferrable $550 deposit is required to secure your seat at the time of enrollment.

The cost of the program is a tax deductible business expense and includes:

  • 16 clinical consultation sessions (32 hours total)
  • 5 layered learning gatherings (10 hours total)
  • 2 immersive retreats (meals and refreshments, private accommodations, and group spaces)
  • 90 continuing education units
  • A copy of Core Competencies in Relational Psychoanalysis
  • RFPT handbook
  • Access to the teaching library

Application Process

Cohorts are limited to 12 participants, so we recommend applying early.

Participants must have a post-graduate degree in Counseling, Psychology, or Social Work and Professional Licensure in their state of practice.*

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis for the 2022-2023 cohort. Upon completion of your application, you will hear back from our Review Committee within one month of your submission. The number of participants that can join the next cohort is limited so we suggest applying early!

Visit our Apply page to learn more about the application process and to connect with our Enrollment Team.

*Waivers are available for clinicians with Associate Licenses with a minimum of 3-5 years of experience.

“Working on this project has deepened and rekindled my passion for and belief in the profoundly transformative impact of practicing from this orientation. It is a way of practicing that is both generative and creative in its essence and is relatively rare. ”

Bryan Nixon, LPC

“Receiving Relationally Focused Psychodynamic consultation in a trusted group format has allowed me to contend with my own unconscious in ways that have direct impact in the treatment room. I have learned how to engage myself more honestly as well as find language to bring that access back to my patient for their benefit. ”

Krista Law, LMHC

“I am drawn to the RFPT model because it brings me back again and again to the necessity and value of bringing my "essential I" into the therapeutic relationship. Beyond deep listening, containing, validating and reflecting, this model also calls for the authentic me to show up and engage in the therapeutic relationship in order for there to be change and growth. This is both a terrifying and energizing call.”

Clarissa Hill, LMHC

“I'm grateful for the ways [this certificate program] is awakening me to my clients in new ways. In my dreams, in my random thoughts, in the moments where I had previously felt embarrassed by being exhausted in a session, I now feel curious. It's been a welcome breath of fresh air.”

Jeremy Dew, LPC

“I really like this style of consultation and am finding it very profitable. I am enjoying my work more, I am working smarter not harder, paying more attention to myself and the space in between me and the clients, feeling more energized and less drained by my work and liking my clients better. I am taking more risks with what I say, confident that the client knows more about themselves than I ever will.”

Mandy Casuarella, LPC

“This program is BY FAR the best supervision practice I've ever been a part of. I feel engaged the full two-hour session each time. My brain is going 100 miles an hour, I have to keep working to stay connected to my body and what I am feeling, and I leave most sessions really chewing on something. This work really is hard... it feels different than how I've been doing work for the past 10 years, but in a good way.”

Chris Roberts, MA, LPC-MHSP

“This whole process has enlivened the work for me and brought a new level of interest and intrigue. In a way, my practice is the lifeblood for providing for my family and it now has a surge of life given to it these past few months.”

Matt Inman, LPC

Interested in growing as a relational psychodynamic clinician?

Connect with us! Request more information or apply today, and we’ll send you everything you need to know begin your journey.