The Wright Institute Clinic

The Wright Institute Clinic

Established in 1969, the Wright Institute Clinic provides low-fee, psychodynamic individual and group therapy to Bay Area clients ranging from early adulthood to elders. The clinic addresses a variety of client needs within a program of treatment lasting a maximum of one year.
In partnership with the North Berkeley Senior Center, the Clinic provides opportunities for continued growth and learning for local elders. In addition to individual therapy, a weekly Mindful Transitions Support Group and a Men's Support Group are offered with the goal of improving the quality of life for elderly clients.

Goals and Objectives of Clinic Training

The practicum training at the Wright Institute Clinic is designed to help clinicians-in-training learn the fundamentals of clinical practice and begin to develop some of the basic skills and knowledge required for the competent provision of psychodynamic psychotherapy in a community clinic setting.

The training focuses on the use-of-self in the therapeutic process. Priority is given to the spontaneous needs of the therapeutic pair (trainee and patient), and therefore, learning the basic process of psychodynamic psychotherapy happens in vivo. Rather than stipulate what topics will be covered, the weekly conference is geared toward the difficulties that the trainees are struggling with as they encounter the patient and themselves in the therapeutic endeavor.

The learning objectives are a reflection of the common themes and dilemmas experienced by beginning therapists, and the topics that are addressed to respond to their needs as students.

Learning Objectives

Getting Started: The Beginning Phase of a Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

  • Framing a psychodynamic psychotherapy and setting appropriate therapeutic boundaries
  • Developing a psychoanalytic attitude
  • Setting the fee
  • Confidentiality
  • Professionalism; professional appearance; professional responsibility; tact
  • Assessment for psychotherapy; indications and formulation
  • Forestalling flights from treatment
  • Creating an atmosphere for developing a working therapeutic alliance
  • Responding to emergency situations; suicidality, homicidality, and grave disability
  • Effective use of supervision and consultation

The Process of Therapy: Therapeutic Interventions

  • Putting treatment into context: linking technique to the initial assessment and formulation
  • Setting the stage for the development of transference
  • Understanding the therapist's response and use of the therapist's mind: countertransference, daydreaming and reverie
  • Tolerating the transference and countertransference: chaos, hostility, and hate
  • Therapeutic discipline: tolerating ambiguity and not knowing
  • Therapeutic timing: observation, clarification, interpretation, confrontation
  • The talking cure: free associations, unconscious communications, dreams, fantasies, derivatives, and metaphors
  • Therapeutic pitfalls: self-disclosure, advice, and gifts
  • The unspoken in therapeutic process: holding, listening, and silence

The End: Termination

  • The work of termination: working through reactions to termination
  • Flights into health at termination
  • Symptom emergence at termination
  • Acting-out at termination
  • The denial of loss and the risk of colluding
  • Issues in forced termination


Based on a sliding scale ranging from $25-$75.

Clinic Staff

Diane Kaplan, Ph.D.
Clinic Director

Deanna van Ligten, Psy.D.
Associate Director


Referral line (510) 548-9716